Trainer Todd Pletcher is again in the eye of the Breeders' Cup storm. The Eclipse Award-winning trainer will saddle 11 runners, including Any Given Saturday and Lawyer Ron, both of whom are set to go 1 1/4 miles in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) during the two-day World Championship event Oct. 26-27 at Monmouth Park.
The Classic will mark Any Given Saturday's second career attempt at the 1 1/4-mile distance. The son of Distorted Humor finished eighth after a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
But it isn't the distance that has Pletcher concerned. It is going that distance against the likes the Street Sense, Curlin, Hard Spun, and stablemate Lawyer Ron. "I've always felt that Any Given Saturday was a 1 1/4 horse," Pletcher said during a press conference Oct. 24. "The only time he raced the distance was in the Derby, and he came out of that with a bruised foot. Certainly his pedigree suggests that he can get 1 1/4 miles, and based on knowing this horse and watching him train, I feel that won't be a problem."
Owned by WinStar Farm and Padua Stables, Any Given Saturday galloped 1 3/8 miles Oct. 24.
Asked if he believed Any Given Saturday was being overlooked in the Classic, the trainer said, "I don't think he is being overlooked. I think that with Lawyer Ron and Street Sense and Curlin and Hard Spun, you have the best 3-year-olds taking on the best older horses. This is such a deep race, and I think the attention has been more spread out than if there was just one standout horse."
The best older horse he is speaking of is 4-year-old Lawyer Ron, who Pletcher said has been training aggressively but not out of control. "He's been very manageable," the trainer said. "We brought him and the other horses to the paddock Wednesday, and they all handled it well."
The son of Langfuhr also galloped 1 3/8 miles Oct. 24.
Lawyer Ron, who races for Hines Racing LLC, enters the Classic off a tough defeat to Curlin in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
"We took a different path with him than we did with Any Given Saturday," the trainer said. "Lawyer Ron has a tendency to be a bit keen. I didn't want to wait eight weeks to run after the Woodward (Sept. 1 at Saratoga) in the Classic, so we ran in the Jockey Club."