Meadowlands Notebook: Pletcher Faces Decision

by Gary Granade
(Editor's Note: Content for this handicapping notebook is provided by Brisnet)

BALTO STAR (Glitterman) presented trainer Todd Pletcher with an interesting decision following his victory Friday night in the $500,000 Meadowlands Cup (G2).

With the Breeders' Cup looming on October 30, Pletcher could elect to keep Balto Star on the dirt for the $4 million Classic (G1). The Meadowlands Cup, his first run on the main track in over a year, was a compelling argument for that course of action. On the other hand, Balto Star is a Grade 1 winner on the grass, making the $2 million Turf (G1) a viable option.

"We might cross-enter in both and take a look," Pletcher said. "The last time we went dirt to turf, he won the United Nations (G1). We're thinking he'll like the Lone Star turf course. That will probably be our first choice, but we'll play it by ear."

John Velazquez kept the six-year-old in a stalking position behind the pacesetting UNFORGETTABLE MAX (Northern Afleet ). Balto Star took the lead entering the final turn and opened up by 1 1/2 lengths at the top of lane.

DYNEVER (Dynaformer), making his first start since finishing sixth in the Suburban H. (G1) on July 3, weaved his way through traffic on the turn and came flying through the stretch.

A resolute Balto Star dug in to hold off the hard-charging Dynever by a half-length.

Balto Star ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.68, recording his first win in five starts this year, He returned $14.00 and topped a $37.00 exacta. GYGISTAR (Prospector's Music) was third.

Dynever ran second in last year's Meadowlands Cup and went on to finish third in the Classic.

In the first half of the split $60,000 My Frenchman S., MANOFGLORY (Glitterman) rallied from last to first in the stretch, posting a nose victory over his stablemate CUMBY TEXAS (Lit De Justice) and RUDIRUDY (Jolie's Halo), the latter two finishing in a dead-heat for the runner-up spot.

Trained by Lupe Preciado and ridden by Eibar Coa, Manofglory covered the five furlongs over firm turf in :56.18 and gave back $13.80 for the win.

The first half of the $60,000 Paterson S. went to FOREST GROVE (Forestry) who covered the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:42.34.

Ridden by Velazquez, Forest Grove took the lead in the lane and went on to score a 1 1/2-length victory over COMMENDATION (Capote). GUNNING FOR (Dove Hunt) was another three-quarters of a length back in third.

In the $60,000 Bill Wheeler S. at a mile and 70 yards for Jersey Breds, UPTURN (Distorted Humor ) showed his versatility by running down TRUEAMERICANSPIRIT (Is It True) in deep stretch to take a length and a quarter victory.

Upturn, trained by Dick Dutrow Jr. and ridden by Coa, had won the Six-furlong Friendly Lover in his previous start.

The winner paid $4 as the even money favorite and topped a chalky $8.20 exacta.

The second division of the Patterson went to GRAND HERITAGE (Grand Slam) from the Bill Mott barn. Rated just off the pace by Cornelio Velasquez, Grand Heritage was up in time to edge HONORABLE BUCK (Double Honor) by a half-length. DON'T KNOCK AMERICA (Quiet American) finished third in a blanket finish. The first four finishers were separated by less than a length.

The winner covered the mile and a sixteenth on firm turf in 1:43.12 and returned $6.20 as the 2-1 choice.

WORLDWIND ROMANCE (Frosty The Snowman) captured the second half of the My Frenchman. He ran down the early leader, 12-year-old SPORT D'HIVER (Glitterman), and held sway by a 1 1/2 lengths over WESTERN ROAR (Roar).

The winner was trained by Mark Shuman for the Michael Gill outfit and was ridden by Ryan Fogelsonger.

Inside speed had the edge on Tuesday and Wednesday with the main track playing fair on the other days. The turf course favored closers on Saturday.

Apprentice Rajiv Maragh is still the leading rider with 8 wins, one ahead of Stewart Elliott and Joe Bravo. Coa is fourth with 6 winners.

Patricia Farro has taken the lead in the trainers' race with 4 wins from 15 starts. Mott, Pletcher and Steve Klesaris each have three.


Tuesday (10/5)

1ST - LADY LYDIA (Private Interview) was plunged in class by Lake, raising a condition question, but was pounded in the late betting and won handily with no takers. Tough to beat right back.

2ND - ONETHINDIME (Tactical Advantage) had no chance rated 12 lengths off a walking pace, but did manage to close for the place. Holds his good form and only needs an honest pace.

Wednesday (10/6)

3RD - DEFRILLS (Defrere) was making only her third lifetime start and first with winners. Held on for the show after putting away all of the other speed and taking a clear lead. Has improved sharply each time out for Eddie Broome and is ready to win.

Thursday (10/7)

6TH - SONG OF NORA (The Vid) appeared well placed here but suffered a brutal trip. She was roughed on the rail lacking room midway on the final turn, eased out for the drive, built late momentum and finished well.

Friday (10/8)

10TH - MILKY WAY GUY (Skip Trial) chased the pace from off the rail, was checked severely from between rivals into the turn and lost all chance.

Saturday (10/9)

1ST - LIEUTENANT DANZ (Gold Fever) had trained fast in New York and pulled away to beat $20K maiden claimers by 10 in his debut. Claimed by Sharon Huston, he should repeat if not too ambitiously placed.

2ND - Q ONE FOR TWO (Lac Quimet) beat a very strong field in fast time, improving sharply off the Farro claim. Has back class and can jump a couple of levels and repeat.