Trainer Todd Pletcher is taking his record-breaking role of pre-entering 18 Breeders' Cup World Championship starters all in stride. Pletcher is expected to have at least one starter in seven of the eight championship day races, with the lone exception the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
"There's no pressure here, it's just like another day at Aqueduct," Pletcher joked during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association/Breeders' Cup teleconference Oct. 25. "The expectations are high when you go into these types of events. At the end of the day this is what we all do this for."
Pletcher will likely saddle four race-day favorites, including Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner Scat Daddy, English Channel in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) entrant Fleet Indian, and Wait a While in the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
"It's the biggest day in racing, and I feel like all of the horses we entered have a shot to be there," Pletcher said.
The trainer, who has two Breeders' Cup wins to his credit, is especially pleased with the efforts Fleet Indian and Wait a While are bringing into their respective races.
Paul Saylor's Fleet Indian is riding an eight-race win streak -- dating back to November 2005 -- into the $2-million Distaff. Most recently the 5-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie
gutted out a win over fellow Distaff starter Balletto in the Beldame (gr. I).
Of the 14 starters in the Distaff, 12 bring grade I wins to the starting gate.
"She (Fleet Indian) had a great run in the Beldame," Pletcher said. "She showed that she was not committed to being the speed in the race, and she could go with any type of pace scenario."
Wait a While has two grade I turf wins to her credit this season, including the American Oaks and the Yellow Ribbon against older fillies and mares. She also placed this year in a pair of grade I races on the dirt, the Ashland Stakes and Kentucky Oaks, after breaking her maiden on the turf.
A daughter of Maria's Mon
, Wait a While's road to becoming a stakes winner on the dirt came after the Miss Grillo Stakes was rained off the turf and she cruised to an easy win. Another off-track win in the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. III) kept her on the road to the Oaks. Her next scheduled turf start, the Sands Point (gr. III), was moved to the main track. She did not return to her preferred surface until this summer's American Oaks.
"We always felt she would excel on the turf if we could get her back on to it," Pletcher said. "I'm really excited about her going in. Hopefully, she'll have one more good one in her this year."