Hopeful Clash Unavoidable for Pletcher's Top Juveniles

Trainer Todd Pletcher is readying for a busy weekend at Saratoga where he will saddle the dynamic juvenile duo of Limehouse and Chapel Royal in the Aug. 30 Hopeful Stakes.

"In a perfect world, you would never run two of your horses against each other," said Pletcher, who is currently leading the trainer standings at Saratoga with 33 wins and set a meet record at Belmont with 40 wins. "But you have to do what is best for each horse and for each owner. Everybody wants to run at Saratoga and when you throw in a grade I race, the stakes just get higher."

Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Chapel Royal, who worked five furlongs Monday in 1:01 1/5, enters the Hopeful with a perfect three-for-three record. In his most recent win, the July 24 Sanford Stakes (gr. II), he drew off for a five-length win.

The son of Montbrook broke his maiden by nine lengths at Belmont on May 15 and won the June 15 Flash Stakes (gr. III) by five lengths.

Limehouse, who is owned by Dogwood Stable, breezed four furlongs in :49 1/5 Monday.

The son of Grand Slam finished third over a sloppy going in the Aug. 13 Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. III) after knocking off three consecutive wins earlier in the year, including the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard and the July 6 Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III).

"Limehouse surprised us early on," Pletcher said. "In the mornings he was working with Heckle and seemed a little slow to catch on. Then Heckle went out and broke his maiden by 12 lengths first so we knew to expect good things from Limehouse."