Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby, the first two finishers in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park, are likely headed for a rematch in the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I).
Trainers Eddie Plesa Jr., who conditions Holy Bull victor Itsmyluckyday, and Todd Pletcher, who oversees 2012 juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby, cited the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby at Gulfstream March 30 as the likely next stop for their respective charges.
Plesa pronounced Itsmyluckyday to be "110 percent" the morning after the Holy Bull when reached at Calder Casino & Race Course. Itsmyluckyday posted a two-length win over the previously unbeaten Shanghai Bobby, who set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull as the even-money favorite.
"We had a good year last year and started this year even better," said Plesa. "In this game you have to enjoy it when things are going your way and hold on to it because it will come to an end eventually. Right now I would say we'll wait for the Florida Derby for his next start."
Ridden by Elvis Trujillo, Itsmyluckyday was timed for the 1 1/16 mile in 1:41:81, shaving three-fifths of a second off the track mark. The 3-year-old son of Lawyer Ron, a $110,000 OBS March 2-year-old sales purchase, had won the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day by 6 3/4 lengths at a mile.
Itsmyluckyday, owned by Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa, has now won five of nine starts with a second and a third. He also earned 10 points toward a possible berth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Saturday's victory.
Shanghai Bobby also came out of the first loss of his career in fine order, Pletcher said. The son of Harlan's Holiday was making his first start since his grueling victory in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park, which wrapped up the colt's Eclipse Award and a perfect 5-for-5 juvenile campaign.
"He came back great, really good. We're not only pleased with his performance but how he came out of it," Pletcher said when reached the following afternoon.
Owned by Jack and Laurie Wolf's Starlight Racing and Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrrick Smith, Shanghai Bobby set a strong pace before giving way to the winner past mid-stretch. Shanghai Bobby finished 11 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Clearly Now.
"We're not making any excuses. We felt like we ran great—12 lengths clear of the third horse and three-fifths off the track record," said Pletcher, whose colt was ridden by Rosie Napravnik. "It was a huge effort. We were second best on the day, but we were really happy with his effort."
Pletcher indicated the Florida Derby would be next.
"I talked to Jack Wolf a little bit this morning. We're not going to make any decisions yet, but at the same time, we don't see any reason to deviate from our original plan," Pletcher said.