Scat Daddy, Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay Turn in Derby Preparations
by Ron Mitchell
Date Posted: 4/22/2007 9:42:12 AM
Last Updated: 4/24/2007 3:48:17 PM

Any Given Saturday worked fastest of three Todd Pletcher Derby contenders at Keeneland Sunday.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Trainer Todd Pletcher continued the classic preparations for three of his five probable Kentucky Derby starters when Scat Daddy, Any Given Saturday, and Circular Quay worked over the Polytrack surface at Lexington’s Keeneland Racecourse Sunday, April 22.

First on the track for the multiple Eclipse Award winning trainer who is seeking his first Derby win was Scat Daddy, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 and without being asked galloped out six furlongs in an easy 1:15 under jockey Edgar Prado. Owned by Michael Tabor and James T. Scatuorchio, the son of Johannesburg won the grade I Florida Derby in his latest start after taking the Fountain of Youth (gr. II), both at Gulfstream Park.

“The horse worked nice and relaxed and kind for him (Prado),” said Pletcher, who described Scat Daddy as a “very willing workhorse.”

“He’s had a lot of education, a lot of experience in his races. I was just afraid to put him in company. He might go too fast.” 

The fastest five furlong time turned in Sunday morning for Pletcher was WinStar Farm and Maverick Racing’s Any Given Saturday, who finished third in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) and second in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) after winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes. Working in company with Pleasant Strike, the son of Distorted Humor   zipped five-eighths of a mile :58 4/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:11 2/5, with jockey Garrett Gomez aboard.

“We had a couple of different objectives,” Pletcher said about Any Given Saturday’s work. “We wanted Garrett to get familiar with him. We also wanted to get him to settle a little bit, which Garrett was able to do kind of in the middle part of the breeze. He was able to get him a couple of lengths back, which we wanted, then (Pleasant Strike) kind of took off at the top of the stretch, then (Any Given Saturday) had a little bit of work to do to catch up to him.

“There’s fast works that are good and fast works that are bad,” Pletcher continued. “To me, this was a good one because it was fast on the end. I hate to see horses go off really fast and then finish tired. I had him in the last quarter in 22 and four, which is pretty good.”

Like many other trainers this year who are using Keeneland’s artificial surface for their major preparations for the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Pletcher took advantage of a warm spring morning to also work Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender Rags to Riches in company with Circular Quay, who was ridden by Angel Cordero Jr. The pair was timed in 1:00 1/5, with a gallop out time of 1:13 for six furlongs. A 3-year-old son of Thunder Gulch  , Circular Quay stamped his ticket to Louisville with a victory in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II).

“It was pretty much textbook,” Pletcher said. “I liked the work a lot. They were both well in hand throughout but did enough to get something out of it and galloped out well. I thought it was a good work.”

A daughter of A.P. Indy racing for Tabor and Derrick Smith, Rags to Riches is the early favorite for the Kentucky Oaks on the basis of victories in the Las Virgenes (gr. I) and Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).

Pletcher said he plans to work his Derby horses again at Keeneland, probably in one week, and ship them to Churchill Downs on May 1.

Pletcher is also expected to be represented in the Derby by Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Cowtown Cat, who breezed at Keeneland Saturday, and Sam P., the third-place finisher in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) who is scheduled to breeze at Churchill Downs Monday, April 23.

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