Todd Pletcher’s powerful stable of 3-year-old stars were prominent on the work tab March 6 in South Florida and the trainer set a temporary schedule for many of them.
Leading the way was Zayat Stable’s Eskendereya, who breezed an easy half-mile in :49 1/5 under jockey John Velazquez at Palm Meadows and kept on edge for his likely next start as the favorite in the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park on March 20.
“I thought he worked very well,” said Pletcher, who supervised workouts for nearly 20 stakes runners. “We were looking for him to go a half in :49 and that’s exactly what he did. He galloped out well and I’m very pleased. Our most likely scenario for him is to run in the Florida Derby. He still has one work to go, but I don’t see any reason to change anything at this point. That would be the logical thing to do.”
Eskendereya is a chestnut colt by Giant's Causeway purchased for $250,000 at the Keeneland September 2008 yearling sale and has won both of his starts at Gulfstream this season, most recently the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) by 8 1/2 lengths Feb. 20.
Another leading 3-year-old from the Pletcher team that has been mentioned as a possible starter in the Florida Derby is WinStar Farm’s Rule, winner of the Sam Davis Stakes (gr. III) last out at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 13. Rule worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 in company with Stronach Stable’s 5-year-old Harlem Rocker, a probable starter in next weekend’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II).
“He (Rule) went five-eighths in 1:01 and went extremely well. I’d like to keep them (Eskendereya and Rule) separated. I’ll have to talk to Elliott (Walden, racing manager of WinStar Farm), but the back up would be the Wood Memorial (gr. I, April 3 at Aqueduct),” said Pletcher.
Other notable Pletcher workers (with their likely next races) were:
E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Discreetly Mine in :49 1/5 (Louisiana Derby, gr. II at Fair Grounds March 27)
Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite in :49 (Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, gr. I at Keeneland April 10)
WinStar Farm’s Super Saver in 1:00 3/5 (Tampa Bay Derby, gr. III March 13)
Wertheimer and Frere’s Interactif in :49 4/5 (San Felipe Stakes, gr. II at Santa Anita March 13, pending suitable travel arrangements)
Anstu Stable’s Ibboyee in :49 4/5 (Swale Stakes, gr. II at Gulfstream Park March 20)
Glencrest Farm’s 3-year-old filly Devil May Care in 48 1/5 (Bonnie Miss Stakes, gr. II at Gulfstream Park March 20)
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith’s 4-year-old Munnings in 1:00 4/5 (nominated for Gulfstream Park Handicap, possible for Carter Handicap, gr. I at Aqueduct April 3)
Starlight Stable’s 4-year-old Take the Points in 1:01 (Dubai Duty Free Stakes, UAE II at Meydan Racecourse March 27)
Pletcher also reported that Tabor, Magnier, and Smith’s Connemara, winner of the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) last out at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 20, remains with his satellite division at Santa Anita, but will ship back East to start next in the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park March 27.