Pletcher Update

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 10, 2009 in General Discussion, News | No Comments >>

Trainer Todd Pletcher was conspicuous by his absence in the entries for Saturday’s Fort Lauderdale. Pletcher nominated three horses, Icy Atlantic, Z Humor and Alaazo, but opted to pass the race with all three. He said Icy Atlantic is being pointed for the Sunshine Million Turf on Jan. 24.

Pletcher will be well represented Sunday in the $100,000 Marshua’s River when he sends out both Sea Chanter and Audacious Chloe in the filly-and-mare turf fixture.

Pletcher is also gearing up Harlem Rocker for the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Jan. 31. Harlem Rocker lost an apparent Grade 1 win in his 2008 finale when he was disqualified from first and placed second behind Tale of Ekati in the Cigar Mile.

Pletcher said he is not concerned about stretching Harlem Rocker out to 1 1/8 miles for the Donn, even though his best races have been at a mile or shorter.

“He won the Prince of Wales at a mile and a sixteenth and ran well in the Travers after getting fanned out pretty wide,” said Pletcher. “And I think this track should suit him well going a mile and one-eighth.”

Pletcher is also looking forward to finding out just how good his recent maiden-winning 3-year-old Checklist might be. Checklist, a son of Gone West out of Yearly Report, was an impressive debut winner on opening day, drawing off to a four-length victory going six furlongs.

“I thought that was a pretty nice effort for the first time out,” said Pletcher. “Especially the way he did it. I’ll stretch him out and try him in an allowance next. I think he should handle more distance without any problem, since his dam won both the Black-Eyed Susan and Delaware Oaks.”

As for Tale of Ekati, the two-time Grade 1 winner had his second official work since shipping locally for the winter, going four furlongs in 48.80 seconds here Thursday. Trainer Barclay Tagg said Tale of Ektai would likely make his 2009 debut in the Grade 2, seven-furlong Richter Scale on Feb. 14 as a possible prelude to a trip to Dubai and a start in the Godolphin Mile six weeks later.