Value Plus Among Competitive Field Set for Riva Ridge

(Edited from NYRA press release)

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who will be represented in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Purge, entered Forest Danger and Value Plus in the grade II, $200,000 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup at seven furlongs. However, Pletcher said the only one he plans to run is Value Plus, who was the beaten Wood Memorial (gr. I) favorite in his last start.

"Forest Danger is in there as a safety net," he said.

Nine 3-year-olds were entered in the Riva Ridge.

Value Plus has been freshened up since running sixth behind Tapit and Belmont Stakes entrants Master David and Eddington in the Wood Memorial. A colt by Unbridled's Song, he should appreciate cutting back to a one-turn sprint after romping to lopsided victories at 6 1/2 and seven furlongs. Both his wins have come at distances under a mile.

"I think we're back to what he has shown he does best," Pletcher said. "He's trained great as always. He generally runs well fresh."

Abbondanza has already shown he can perform at his peak in front a large crowd after winning the Hirsch Jacobs by a head on Preakness Stakes (gr. I) day. Trained by Tim Tullock Jr., Abbondanza flashed nothing but early speed in his first three starts, but he has learned to rate effectively with experience and schooling. Though he shouldn't be too far off the pace in the Riva Ridge, he might get some tired speed horses to attack on the far turn.

"He went too fast in the Best Turn and it was a complete disaster," Tullock said. "I realized he wouldn't be able to bang heads early with the better horses and still finish, so we spent a lot of time putting him behind horses. He took a lot of dirt and schooling and now he's pretty versatile."

Tullock was happy to hear that rival trainer Pletcher was not planning on running Forest Danger in the race. Back on April 10th, Abbondanza felt the wrath of Forest Danger in the Bay Shore running a game, but distant second behind him.

"I'd much rather run against Value Plus," Tullock said. "We started to take a run at Forest Danger, but he took off like a rocket."

The Field for Saturday's Grade 2 Riva Ridge:
1. Saratoga County, Javier Castellano, 123
2. Fire Slam, Pat Day, 123
3. Indian War Dance, Edgar Prado, 119
4. a-Forest Danger, John Velazquez, 123
5. Smokume, Shannon Uske, 119
6. Teton Forest, Jerry Bailey, 115
7. a-Value Plus, John Velazquez, 115
8. Abbondanza, Ramon Dominguez, 123
9. Stolen Time, Cornelio Velasquez, 121