Trainer Todd Pletcher has Always Dreaming, Outplay, and Tapwrit primed for the Travers Aug. 26

Trainer Todd Pletcher has Always Dreaming, Outplay, and Tapwrit primed for the Travers Aug. 26

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Pletcher Has Three 'In Play' for Travers Stakes

Fayeq, half brother to Rachel Alexandra, also pointing to Travers.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said the $1.25 million Travers Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1) remains a possibility for Always Dreaming, Outplay, and Tapwrit after all three breezed Aug. 11.

Always Dreaming and Outplay worked four furlongs in company on the Oklahoma training track. Always Dreaming was credited with :48.83, while Outplay clocked :49. Clockers recorded the duo galloping out to five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 with the first quarter-mile going in :25 1/5.

Always Dreaming breezed for the first time since a third-place finish in the July 29 Jim Dandy Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G2) with regular jockey John Velazquez aboard. Outplay, coming off a win in the Curlin Stakes July 28, was ridden by Javier Castellano. 

"I thought both horses worked very well," Pletcher said. "I was very happy with the way Always Dreaming settled nicely and relaxed early. It was an excellent work from both horses.

"Both of them worked well enough to come back and work next week and see how they continue to prepare," he added. "But I think the Travers is very much in play for both of them and Tapwrit, also."

Always Dreaming had previously worked solo, but Pletcher said the Kentucky-bred Bodemeister  colt, who won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and then finished eighth in the Preakness Stakes (G1) May 20, responded well to breezing with his stablemate.

"All of his works after the Preakness were by himself and I wanted to see where we were in terms of how the race settled him down and how he was going to respond to being in company," Pletcher said. "I thought he rated very kindly. Johnny (Velazquez) said he was very agreeable with whatever he asked him to do."

Velazquez said Always Dreaming improved from his last work, seven days before the Jim Dandy on the training track.

"He was so much better; he allowed me to get him up to the other horse," Velazquez said. "He normally would be fighting me to there, (but) he was really good. It went very nice. He galloped out very good.

"The plan was for me to stay a little bit off him and give my horse a bit of a chance," he added. "Separately, we jogged him, and I let (Outplay) start out in front. He got a little too strong, but as soon as (Outplay) started picking up in front of me, he came back to me and I had him. I didn't think it was going to work out but it did. I'm very happy with it. I like the way he did it. He actually settled the first part, so that's the most important thing."

Pletcher said he was pleased with the way Outplay came out of it.

"I thought Outplay worked well also; a good solid, steady work. It seems like he came out of the Curlin in good order," he said.

Castellano added, "He rated beautiful and we hooked up both those two at the top of the lane. They both finished really, really well. I like the way he did it."

Tapwrit breezed earlier in the morning on the Oklahoma track, working in company with a 2-year-old by Uncle Mo . The Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1) winner went five furlongs in 1:01.22 with regular jockey Jose Ortiz aboard.

"I thought he did great. He worked 1:01 and change but more importantly than that, I thought he galloped out fantastic, going 1:27 and change for the seven-eighths, pulled up the mile in 1:42," Pletcher said. "(His) fitness level was very good; it seemed like he was doing it easily in hand. I was very happy with it."

Pletcher said that Patch, the third-place finisher in the Belmont Stakes, will not be likely for the Travers after running fourth in the West Virginia Derby (G3) Aug. 5.

"It's back in three weeks. I would say it's unlikely but we'll continue to see how things unfold here," he said. "He recovered very quickly and actually put on weight since he ran there."

Shadwell Stable's lightly raced but well-bred Fayeq put the 3-year-old division on notice Friday morning, firing a bullet four-furlong work over the Oklahoma training track for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in preparation for a probable start in the Travers as well.

By Malibu Moon , the 3-year-old half brother to Hall of Famer Rachel Alexandra worked in company with 3-year-old maiden Last Stage, easily putting away his workmate to complete the move in :47.36 under jockey Luis Saez. The work was the fastest of 53 at the distance. NYRA clockers caught him galloping out to five furlongs in 1:01 1/5.

"He worked fabulous and galloped out great," McLaughlin said. "We're pointing for the Travers."

The breeze was his first since beating a talented group of sophomores by 3 1/2 lengths in a 1 1/8-mile allowance July 26. That victory was the second straight for Fayeq, who broke his maiden by 2 3/4 lengths in his third try June 11 at Belmont Park.

"We have to take a chance because of his pedigree and because he's a really nice horse," McLaughlin said. "We want to give him a try. It's a big step up, but we feel like he deserves the chance. ... And if we can get him to switch leads, that would help us a lot."