Trainer Todd Pletcher was half a world away in Dubai when the Gulfstream stakes races began Saturday afternoon, but his powerful stable came out strong with heavily favored Safari Queen and Almonsoon posting a one-two finish in the $150,000 Orchid Handicap (gr. IIIT), the first of five stakes on the Florida Derby Day program.
A change in his usual tactics contributed to a career-best effort for Anstu Stable's Ramazutti, a handy winner of Sunday's $150,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 3/8 miles on the Gulfstream Park lawn.
Michael Tabor's Love Locket, from the very deep stable of Todd Pletcher, is one of the horses to watch in a compact but talented field of six entered for the $200,000 Monmouth Park Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) Sunday.
With half the field boasting victories over the track, there's plenty of local angles to Sunday's 80th running of the $200,000 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) at Oceanport, N.J.
Anstu Stable's Balto Star has developed a very noticeable racing pattern. Since last year, the Todd Pletcher-trained 5-year-old has followed every bad race with a very good race. And, since last out he ran last in the Pimlico Special (gr. I), his rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Oceanport Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth better have their running shoes on.
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