The Leopard, the highest-priced auction 2-year-old of 2007 and one of the top juvenile turf runners that year, has been retired from racing to stand at Haras La Quebrada in Argentina.
As we head into December, a well-funded trainer is looking for a potential Kentucky Derby horse, but does not want a horse based in Southern California. At the same time, a well-funded gambler is looking for a solid Derby horse to bet in the future book, but he, too, is looking away from California. The reason behind their thinking is quite simple.
Odds-on favorite The Leopard got the firm going he wanted, and responded with an overpowering win in the $111,800 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 24. With the victory, winning trainer Todd Pletcher broke the single-season record for purse earnings he set last year.
Six of the 10 2-year-olds entered in the $100,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park on Nov. 23 are coming into the one-mile turf event off victories. But the winner could very well be a colt whose record shows the worst effort of the group last time out -- Todd Pletcher trainee The Leopard, whose seventh-place finish in the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf came over a soggy grass course that left many floundering.
Todd Pletcher was not overly impressed with The Leopard's first three races, so he decided to change things up for the $2.5-million son of Storm Cat, and the Leopard went gate-to-wire in the $75,000 Pilgrim Stakes over the Belmont Park turf Sept. 29
Tale of Ekati had a couple of excuses if he did not score in the $250,000 Futurity Stakes (gr. II). But thanks to a brilliant ride by jockey Eibar Coa and a thunderous move in the final 16th, the 2-year-old colt won the important juvenile prep by two lengths over favorite Kodiak Kowboy at Belmont Park Sept. 15.
Kodiak Kowboy has already established himself as the clear leader of the juvenile division. Now the son of Posse, out of the Coronado's Quest mare Kokadrie, will try to further cement that distinction as he headlines a field of six in the $250,000 Futurity Stakes (gr. II) Sept. 15 at Belmont Park.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches worked five furlongs Sept. 2 in 1:02 3/5 at Saratoga, getting her training schedule under way after missing a work last week due to a slightly elevated temperature.
Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches posted a five-furlong workout over Saratoga's main track Aug. 12, after which trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed the Michael Tabor-owned filly will not run in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 18. Instead, Pletcher plans to run multiple Grade 1 winner Octave and American Oaks (gr. I) winner Panty Raid, both of whom also worked Aug. 12, in the 1 1/4-mile Alabama.
The Leopard, a Storm Cat colt purchased for $2.5 million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-olds in training sale earlier this year, scored in an impressive maiden special weight victory at Saratoga Aug. 11.
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