Pletcher Leads Pre-Entries With Eight

(from Belmont Park notes)
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who broke through with his first two Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships victories last year with Ashado and Speightstown, has eight horses pre-entered this year.

Once again Ashado will be the horse to beat in the $2 million Emirates Airline Distaff (gr. I). With a win or second-place finish, she would surpass Azeri as North America's all-time money earning filly or mare. She is one of four defending champions pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup.

In addition to Ashado, Pletcher also pre-entered Adieu (Alberto VO5 Juvenile Fillies), Lion Tamer (TVG Sprint), Host and Limehouse (NetJets Mile), Capeside Lady (Distaff), English Channel (John Deere Turf) and Flower Alley (Classic Powered by Dodge).

"Adieu has won every race except one at Saratoga when they were expecting some rain and sealed the track with a back rake," Pletcher, who attended the pre-entry ceremony, said of his Frizette (gr. I) winner.

The role of favoritism for the Alberto VO5 Juvenile Fillies figures to be between Adieu and Folklore. They have met three times with Adieu holding a 2-1 edge.

"Folklore probably ran the most impressive race in the Matron," Pletcher said. "If she runs back to that race, we will all have her to beat."

Pletcher was asked by emcee Tom Durkin if there was a "sleeper" in the group of his starters. While stopping short of calling him a sleeper, Pletcher did give a vote of confidence to Host, who starts in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile.

"He ran a big race in the Shadwell Turf Mile," Pletcher said. "He's coming back on short rest, but he seems to have trained well since the race."

Travers (gr. I) winner Flower Alley will be looking to rebound after a disappointing Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I). The 3-year-old Distorted Humor  colt will start in the Breeders' Cup Classic powered by Dodge.

"The Classic is going to have a big field," Pletcher said. "Rock Hard Ten and Borrego were most impressive in their last starts. All the races are hard to win, especially with large fields."