by Karen M. Johnson
Trainer Todd Pletcher, back from Kentucky and at his home base of Belmont Park, said May 5 that Ready’s Echo would start in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr.II) at Belmont May 10. Ready’s Echo, a son of the Pletcher-trained More Than Ready , will make his stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan.
The Peter Pan will be Ready’s Echo’s fourth career start. After finishing second last year at Saratoga in a maiden race to Z Humor, who ran 14th in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Ready’s Echo came out of the race with bucked shins. He returned to the races at Gulfstream Park March 5, and came from off the pace to win a seven-furlong maiden race by 3 ¼ lengths.
In his last start, Ready’s Echo was beaten a neck in a first-level allowance race on Keeneland’s Polytrack. Ready’s Echo raced last of 10 during the early stages of the 1 1/16-mile race, and then began picking off horses in the stretch. Pletcher noted the third-place finisher in the Keeneland race, Tizdejavu, came back to win the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) in his stakes debut at Churchill May 2.
“We think (Ready’s Echo) is a nice horse, and that a mile-and-an-eighth, one turn, will suit him well,” Pletcher said. “He closed well in his last start and just ran out of ground. He’s a nice, late-developing horse.”
Pletcher, who won the 2004 Peter Pan with Purge, has several nominees to the Peter Pan, but Ready’s Echo appears at this point to be his only starter. Pletcher said plans for Harlem Rocker, an easy winner of the Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 26, have not been decided.
Harlem Rocker is listed by the Pimlico Race Course press office as a possible starter for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 17. Pletcher confirmed the status of Behindatthebar, the Lexington (gr.II) winner, for the Preakness.
The Pletcher-trained Monba, who finished last of 20 in the Kentucky Derby, is back at Pletcher’s Belmont barn and will be pointed to the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont July 6. Cowboy Cal, ninth in the Derby, is getting a rest on the farm.
Pletcher compared Monba’s trip in the Derby to his journey as the favorite in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24. In the Derby, Monba was steadied leaving the gate and was five-wide around the first turn. Monba, who won the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on Polytrack at Keeneland in his Derby prep, finished 12th and last, beaten 38 ¾ lengths in the Fountain of Youth, after getting squeezed into the first turn.
“(The Derby) didn’t seem much different than the Fountain of Youth," Pletcher said. "He was getting pushed around and didn’t have a smooth run going into the first turn."
Game Face, who won the La Troienne Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill on Derby day for Pletcher, will run next in the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard June 7. The Acorn will be Game Face's second start at a mile. She finished second in the one-mile Davona Dale (gr.II) at Gulfstream Park March 2.
“She has won at six, and seven-and-a-half furlongs, so I think a mile for sure will be good," Pletcher said. "I don’t know about a mile-and-an-eighth just yet.”