Todd Pletcher could have five runners in the Belmont Stakes
Todd Pletcher could have as many as five runners in the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of America's Triple Crown.
Last Updated: 04/06/13 12:01pm
The five horses currently account for a third of the entry with the next confirmation stage due on Wednesday morning with the post positions to be drawn later that day.
Pletcher ran five in the Kentucky Derby without success and bypassed the Preakness Stakes altogether but looks set to have a strong hand in the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes.
The best of Pletcher's Derby contingent was Revolutionary, who finished third, and he could be joined at the weekend by Mike Repole's colts Overanalyze and Midnight Taboo and the filly Unlimited Budget.
The other possible is Micromanage, also owned by Repole, who will be left in the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes on the Belmont undercard.
Revolutionary is the most-accomplished of the quintet. In addition to his third-place finish in the Derby, Revolutionary won the Louisiana Derby and overcame a laughably bad trip to capture the Withers. He had five weeks between the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby and will have five weeks between the Derby and the Belmont.
"This was sort of the strategy we laid out after the Derby, to give him five weeks," Pletcher told www.drf.com while watching Revolutionary shod with a new set of hind shoes at his Belmont Park barn. "He's not the kind of horse who needs heavy training. We've learned that about him as we've gone through the year."
Pletcher has won the Belmont once, with Rags to Riches in 2007, so comparisons are naturally drawn to Unlimited Budget, who, like Rags to Riches, is a filly facing the boys. Unlimited Budget is a big, strong filly, but her dam side is not as stout as that of Rags to Riches, who is a half-sister to 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil.
"That's my biggest concern, that she stays that far," Pletcher said. "How much they relax early, how they handle the early pace, will dictate how a lot of them will run in a race like this."
Although there is no Triple Crown on the line, the Belmont is expected to feature a rematch between Orb, the Derby winner, and Oxbow, the Preakness winner.