Indy Dancer Confirmed for Florida Derby

Indy Dancer Confirmed for Florida Derby
Photo: Equi-Photo/Bill Denver
Lion Tamer, pointed toward Lane's End Stakes.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had a pair of his well-regarded 3-year-olds on the Palm Meadows track Monday morning and has made a decision as to the direction each will head.

"Right know I would say that Indy Dancer is my horse for the Florida Derby," Pletcher said after the son of A.P. Indy worked five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 in company with Aristocat. "He worked quite well and we think that's the best course of action for him."

Pletcher said that Aristocat would likely head across the state to run in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) on Sunday. Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) hero Lion Tamer – who breezed a half-mile in :49 3/5 at Palm Meadows on Sunday -- will be pointed towards the March 22 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park.

But it will be Indy Dancer who will carry the trainer's hopes in Gulfstream's important Triple Crown prep, the $1 million, grade I Florida Derby on Saturday.

"He ran very well at Gulfstream last time and we know he likes the track," Pletcher said, noting Indy Dancer's impressive allowance win on the meet's second day. "That was an important factor in deciding to run him in the Florida Derby."

The Wertheimer Farms' homebred suffered the only loss of his career when he was a well-beaten seventh as the favorite in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at the Fair Grounds last month. Pletcher offered no excuses.

"He just ran poorly," he said, "He might have been a little bit wide but really he just never got untracked that day. We expect he will do better on Saturday."

Splitting up the talent trio will also allow Pletcher to utilize his main man John Velazquez in the saddle for all three runners. Velazquez, whose six stakes wins are the most among jockeys at the current Gulfstream meet, has been aboard Indy Dancer in each of his three starts.

"I would say that his knowing the horse's tendencies is important," Pletcher concluded.

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