Ocean Drive Caps Five-Win Day for Pletcher, Velazquez

Ocean Drive Caps Five-Win Day for Pletcher, Velazquez
Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Ocean Drive, capped five-win day for Pletcher, Velazquez.
From NYRA reports
Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez added to their already insurmountable leads in the Saratoga Race Course standings Monday afternoon, winning five races, including the featured 16th running of the $214,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) with Ocean Drive.

The big day began for Pletcher and Velazquez in the second race with Forty Five ($5.40); then continued in the third race with Navesink River ($13); the fourth race with Tiffany's Touch ($6.30) and the fifth race with Ready's Gal ($9.40),

The fifth winner for the hot combo came with Ocean Drive in the Ballston Spa. The filly, the favorite of the crowd of 11,537 sat well back of uncontested speedster Sand Springs, who opened up a healthy lead after fractions of :24; :49; 1:12; and 1:37. But Ocean Drive collared the leader at the quarter-pole, and then drove off as Personal Legend made a gallant, but vain effort through the lane. Neither Pletcher nor Velazquez were involved in the last race of the afternoon.

It was the second five-win day of the meeting for a jockey. On Saturday, Edgar Prado won five, including the 135th running of the $1 million Travers (gr. I) with Birdstone.

Monday marked a complete turnaround for Pletcher, who went 0-for-10 on Saturday.

"The way our Travers Day went, nothing went right," said Pletcher, who is now four wins behind the Saratoga single-season record of 35 he set last year. "Then, a couple of days later, everything goes right. Five wins is pretty special. It's pretty rare that you get an opportunity to get five in with a chance and have all five of them run well. For things like this to happen, you have to catch some breaks and we caught one when Tiffany Touch's race (fourth race Monday) came off the turf. Film Maker scratched (from the Ballston Spa BC), and she looked like the filly for us to beat. You need everything to go as planned, and obviously, Johnny (Velazquez) pressed all the right buttons. We got the right horses in the right spots.

"After the Diana, we focused on this (for Ocean Drive). She's a terrifically consistent filly, and when spotted properly, she's very good. A mile and a sixteenth is probably her best distance."

For Velazquez, the victory was his 55th of the meet. He needs six more winners before the meet closes on Labor Day, Monday, September 6th, to tie his Saratoga single-season record of 61, set last week.

"I kind of like this kind of stuff," Velazquez said. "There are no words to describe this. When you come to a day where everything works our way and everything runs well. (The record) is doable. I won't be here the last day, so I have to do it by Sunday because Monday we're going out of town (to Philadelphia Park to ride Pollard's Vision in the Pennsylvania Derby). But it's not impossible. We'll see what happens."

Ocean Drive, who returned $6.20, completed the 1 1/16 miles over a course rated "good" in 1:43 4/5.

"It's the same, old story," said Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who rode runner-up Personal Legend. "I'm chasing Todd Pletcher and Johnny Velazquez all day. I was right where I wanted to be. She ran great. I just couldn't catch (Ocean Drive)."

High Court was third, followed by Delta Princess, Mona Rose, Sand Springs, Halory Leigh. Mariakel, Derrianne and Mrs. M. Bounding Charm and Misty Sixes, entered for the main track only, were scratched, as was Film Maker.

Owned by Sy and Bonnie Baskin, Ocean Drive is a 4-year-old daughter of Belong to Me bred in Kentucky by James D. Conway and Thomas C. Mueller.

The filly now won eight of 18 lifetime starts.

(Chart, Equibase)

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