Lawyer Ron, Pletcher Ready to Take on All Comers

Lawyer Ron, Pletcher Ready to Take on All Comers
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Todd Pletcher would have preferred to find as easy a spot as possible for Lawyer Ron for his final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I), but while he respects Curlin, he has no fear of the Preakness (gr. I) winner in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) Sept. 30.

“I love to run in short fields and easy spots, but this was the race we had circled for him, so I’m not concerned who shows up,” Pletcher said. “We would have run even if Street Sense, Curlin, and Hard Spun had all shown up. This was the race that came up best for him. He looks magnificent, and he’s done well since the Woodward (gr. I). He thrives on action and just keeps coming back for more. I decided to run him before the Breeders’ Cup because I don’t want him too fresh going into the Classic.”

As well as Lawyer Ron is doing, Pletcher expects him to get a test from Curlin, and can’t understand why the one-time star 3-year-old’s reputation has suffered because of his defeat in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I), won by Pletcher’s Any Given Saturday.

“Curlin has come back and had one race since the Triple Crown, and was a good third in the Haskell, in my opinion. I’m not sure why everybody has given up on him. What has he done wrong? It was his first race back. I’d be cautious to say anything negative about what Curlin has done or will do in the future. I expect him to run a good race on Sunday.”

In Pletcher’s opinion, Lawyer Ron has established himself as the leading older horse based on his brilliant scores in the grade I Whitney and Woodward at Saratoga, and is not concerned about his ability to go a mile-and-a-quarter or duplicating his form away from Saratoga.

“It’s just a matter of circumstance that he hasn’t been successful at a mile-and-a-quarter,” Pletcher said. “I didn’t train him for the Kentucky Derby, and in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he was too rank and eager and never settled. He ran himself into submission. He’s a much more relaxed horse now. The first thing we did was gallop him in draw reins because he was holding his head too high. But mostly, he’s matured both physically and mentally. He had a terrific record when Mr. (Bob) Holthus trained him.

“Lawyer Ron separated himself from the other older horses in the Whitney and Woodward. The 3-year-olds are a very deep and talented group, but they have to move forward to step up to that level. He obviously loves Saratoga, but he’s also run well at Oaklawn, Gulfstream, Monmouth, and Belmont.”

Pletcher also reported that Belmont (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches is doing very well, according to veterinarian Paul Thorpe, and is expected to return 100%.

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