04/06/2021. (USA) Keyword: Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets // Tutto sulle Belmont St. 2021


image of Bourbonic
Bourbonic, OWNERCalumet Farms, JOCKEYKendrick Carmouche, TRAINERTodd Pletcher
Calumet Farms silk

image of Essential Quality

Essential Quality, OWNERGodolphin, JOCKEYLuis Saez, TRAINERBrad Cox
Godolphin silk

image of Rombauer

Rombauer, OWNERJohn Fradkin & Diane Fradkin, JOCKEYJohn Velazquez, TRAINERMichael McCarthy
John Fradkin & Diane Fradkin silk

image of Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie, OWNERRoadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, LLC, Strauss Bros Racing and Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Ltd., JOCKEYFlavien Prat, TRAINERDoug O’Neill
Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, LLC, Strauss Bros Racing and Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Ltd. silk

image of France Go De Ina

France Go De Ina, OWNERYuji Inaida, JOCKEYRicardo Santana Jr., TRAINERHideyuki Mori
Yuji Inaida silk

image of Known Agenda

Known Agenda, OWNERSt. Elias Stable, JOCKEYIrad Ortiz Jr., TRAINERTodd Pletcher
St. Elias Stable silk

image of Rock Your World

Rock Your World, OWNERHronis Racing LLC and Talla, David Michael, JOCKEYJoel Rosario, TRAINERJohn W. Sadler
Hronis Racing LLC and Talla, David Michael silk

image of Overtook

Overtook, OWNERRepole Stable, St. Elias Stable, Tabor, Michael B., Magnier, Mrs. John and Smith, Derrick, JOCKEYManny Franco, TRAINERTodd Pletcher
Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, Tabor, Michael B., Magnier, Mrs. John and Smith, Derrick silk



Pletcher Follows Proven Formula in Belmont Stakes

Hall of Famer seeks a fourth victory with horses having five weeks of rest.

In a training career filled with a multitude of superlatives, May 5, 2021, was a crescendo for Todd Pletcher. 

For it was that morning when an illustrious 25-year career was fittingly rewarded when the sport’s all-time leader in purse money and seven-time Eclipse Award winner was announced as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

“It’s a tremendous honor and something I never could have thought was possible when I first started on my own,” Pletcher told BloodHorse at the time.

Topping an honor such as that, especially with a Triple Crown sweep out of play, may be impossible in the coming months, yet as time goes by the 53-year-old Texas native can surely add some more glitter to a dazzling résumé thanks to a barn filled with graded stakes winners and performers.

In particular, June 5 will offer the $406.3 million earner a chance to enhance his legacy in the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1). With a roster of three entrants in the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown, Pletcher will surpass fellow Hall of Famer Nick Zito and own the record for most starters in the classic for 3-year-olds. Already the leader with Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) starters (59), Pletcher’s trio will give him 33, two more than Zito.

Pletcher also has a three-fold chance of moving up the ladder in wins as a victory would tie him for fourth on the all-time list and place him into a tie for the lead with the iconic D. Wayne Lukas for the most wins by an active trainer.

While the odds do not speak glowingly about his chances, with 6-1 being the lowest of the bunch, the race does fall into Pletcher’s sweet spot. All three of his winners (Rags to Riches , Palace Malice  , and Tapwrit  ) raced on Kentucky Derby weekend and then were given five weeks off before the Belmont Stakes, most of it while training at Belmont Park. Of his six runners-up in The Test of the Champion, four of them also followed that path.

Tapwrit wins the 2017 Belmont Stakes                    
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher

Todd Pletcher hoists the Belmont Stakes trophy after winning the 2017 edition with Tapwrit

This time around, both Known Agenda  (6-1) and Bourbonic  (15-1) started in the Run for the Roses, finishing ninth and 13th, respectively, and are now returning off five weeks of rest in Saturday’s classic.

Are those past results just a coincidence? Not really. There’s quite a bit of logic in that successful formula.

Just listen to Michael McCarthy, who trains Preakness Stakes (G1) winner and 3-1 Belmont Stakes second choice Rombauer . McCarthy spent a little more than a decade as one of Pletcher’s assistants, giving him a ringside seat for two of his mentor’s Belmont wins.

“It’s a formula that’s proven successful numerous times for him,” McCarthy said. “He’s fortunate they can train on the main track at Belmont so there’s a familiarity with the track. You can never second guess anything Todd does. When he comes up with a plan, like giving them time to prepare for the Belmont, you have to take heed.

“He does great wherever he goes, and with whatever he does, but in this Triple Crown race, he’s extra wicked.”

In Pletcher’s own words it’s a combination of rest, training, and classic pedigrees that come to the fore at a time in the Triple Crown when others may be growing weary from the long grind of the preps and classics.

“I think the spacing is good. The five weeks gives us 4 1/2 weeks of good training at Belmont over the mile-and-a-half oval to get used to it. The (1 1/2-mile Brooklyn Stakes, G2) and even the (1 3/4-mile Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga) are also races we do well in,” said Pletcher who has a win and a second in the Brooklyn since 2016 and three Birdstone wins since 2014. “We seem to do really well in those type of races. They seem to fit our program. It’s a foundation of fitness and the horses we get into our program are stoutly bred for good, classic-type races. That’s a portion of it.”

Pletcher is quite happy with the distance pedigree of his three starters, which also includes Overtook .

Watch: Pletcher Hopeful of Adequate Pace for Belmont Trio

“What makes me feel good about my group is that they are well-bred for the distance,” said Pletcher, who also trains the leading 3-year-old filly, Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Malathaat .

Known Agenda, winner of the Curlin Florida Derby Presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa (G1), is a son of Curlin   owned by St. Elias Stable. His dam, the Byron  mare Byrama , was a grade 1 winner on turf at 1 1/8 miles.

Known Agenda on the training track at Belmont Park for morning exercise in advance of the Belmont StakesThursday June 3, 2021 in Elmont, N.Y.  . Photo  by Skip Dickstein
Photo: Skip Dickstein

Known Agenda gallops June 3 at Belmont Park

“We’ve always felt the longer the distance, the better it is for Known Agenda,” Pletcher said.

Calumet Farm’s Bourbonic, the 72-1 winner of the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2), is by Bernardini  , a son of A.P. Indy out of the Afleet Alex   mare Dancing Afleet, and Overtook, owned by Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, is by Curlin out of the A.P. Indy mare Got Lucky.

“There’s a pretty strong A.P. Indy influence with Overtook and Bourbonic,” Pletcher said. 

Overtook comes into Saturday’s race off a third in the May 8 Peter Pan Stakes (G3), a traditional prep at Belmont Park for the final jewel of the Triple Crown, that convinced the connections to target the Belmont in hopes of landing an initial graded stakes win.

“The Belmont has always been in the back of our minds with Overtook’s pedigree, with Curlin on top and A.P. Indy on the bottom,” Pletcher said. “I felt he ran a solid race in the Peter Pan. There wasn’t a lot of pace and he still closed a bit. I was happy with that and his works since then have been a step in the right direction. We’re hopeful the distance will be to his liking.”

Bourbonic, who moved up from 18th to 13th in the Run for the Roses, may have bounced in the Run for the Roses after a huge effort in the Wood and could rebound Saturday in a longer race that should suit him better.

“Bourbonic ran hard in the Derby. He was up against it with his running style,” Pletcher said. “I think he closed with some interest and made up some ground. (Jockey Kendrick Carmouche) said it was hard to pull him up past the wire. He’s well-bred for the distance with Belmont winners on the top and bottom, and hopefully, he can keep moving forward and benefit from a good pace.”

Overtook inside of Bourbonic - Belmont Park - May 28, 2021
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher

Overtook (inside) and Bourbonic work May 28 at Belmont Park

Of the three, Known Agenda would appear to be the one to watch after a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby.

Even with the addition of the 20-horse starting gate, breaking from the rail in the Kentucky Derby, as Known Agenda did, can be problematic with a horde of runners eager to get as close to the rail as they can before the first turn. That scramble was costly for Known Agenda, who was shuffled back to 17th by the opening quarter-mile in the field of 19 for a race in which the winner, Medina Spirit , led throughout and the top three finishers were no worse than fifth at any call.

“There was a certain moment when they were going by the stands the first time between the eighth pole and sixteenth pole when he was just a stride or two away from establishing the position we wanted, but he couldn’t quite get there. Then, with the pressure from the outside, instead of being seventh or eighth he was 17th or 18th and the way the race was run, the first four pretty much went around in order,” Pletcher said. “It was hard to make up ground, but if you watch it from the three-sixteenths pole to the wire he was running as well as anyone else. He just had too much to do turning for home. 

“It was what some people might call a sneaky good race.”

Sneaky? Perhaps.

Yet with Todd Pletcher’s Belmont Stakes record, nothing is hidden. Three wins since 2007 and a chance for No. 4 Saturday. It’s there for all to see before the race and during it, when even more “fame” may be bestowed on him.