A three-time reigning Eclipse Award winner for top trainer, Pletcher will be attempting to tie the record that he set one year ago. The Sir Beaufort is a one-mile trek on the Santa Anita turf, open to 3-year-olds.
Twilight Meteor, out of the With Approval mare One Over Prime, won his first start of the year on Feb. 24 in the Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. But he has been winless in seven starts since then, placing second three times.
Bred in Ontario by Kinghaven Farms Limited, Twilight Meteor was a tough-luck second in both the Sept. 1 Kent Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park and Oct. 13 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT), losing by a nose and head, respectively.
"He's been a little bit unlucky," Pletcher told the Daily Racing Form. "He just missed in a couple of big races. A cutback in distance and a little more pace hopefully will help him settle better and help his closing kick."
Twilight Meteor will break from post 13 in a full 14-horse field and be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who guided the chestnut colt to a fourth place finish in the Nov. 25 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT).
Major competition could come from a pair of Irish-bred colts, Stoneside and Whatsthescript. Marsha Naify’s Stoneside raced much of the year in France before being shipped to the states late in the summer. Since then, he has started a pair of graded stakes in California, placing third in his most recent start, the Oct. 13 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) at Oak Tree Santa Anita.
Stoneside, trained by Julio Canini, has won four turf starts in 15 career tries. He will be ridden by Pat Valenzuela.
Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Whatsthescript has been off since May, but has three stakes wins to his credit during the past 14 months. The son of Royal Applause, who began his career in Ireland, took the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) last year at Hollywood, and also won the one-mile Pasadena Stakes on the Santa Anita turf this past March.
Whatsthescript is trained by Doug O’Neill and will be ridden by Isaias Enriquez.
Another horse to consider is Argentina-bred Wing Forward. Owned by Little Red Feather and Elizabeth Thieriot, Wing Forward is a lightly-raced Arch colt who is 3-for-4 in his career. Beginning his career with a win in two starts in Argentina, he shipped to California for trainer Mike Puype and has reeled off a pair of allowance scores since September.
A colt with good closing speed, Wing Forward will get regular rider Jose Valdivia Jr.
$100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 3:52 p.m.), Three-Year-Olds, One Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Bad Boy (KY), 118, Martin A. Pedroza
2. Warning Zone (VA), 118, Julien R. Leparoux
3. Silent Soul (KY), 118, Alex O. Solis
4. Rutledge Cat (KY), 118, Rafael Bejarano
5. Augment (KY), 118, Richard Migliore
6. Monterey Jazz (KY), 118, David Romero Flores
7. Mast Track (KY), 118, Michael C. Baze
8. Mr Napper Tandy (GB), 118, Mike E. Smith
9. Whatsthescript (IRE), 118, Isaias D. Enriquez
10. Stoneside (IRE), 118, Patrick A. Valenzuela
11. Wing Forward (ARG), 120, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
12. Adagio (GB), 118, Edgar S. Prado
13. Twilight Meteor (ON), 118, Garrett K. Gomez
14. No Dream (KY), 118, Victor Espinoza