Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pletcher loaded for bear as Kentucky Derby approaches

Trainer Todd Pletcher has at least five and maybe six runners.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has at least five and maybe six runners.

Some trainers would love to saddle just one horse in the Kentucky Derby in their career.

Todd Pletcher will have five in the one coming up. Maybe even a record six.

"I have a tremendous appreciation for how difficult the Kentucky Derby is to win," said the trainer, who has had better luck at just about every other big-money race. "Even if you have the best horse, a lot of times that doesn't mean you're going to succeed."

He should know.

He is 1 for 31 in the Derby, which goes off Saturday, and five times since 2000 the last-place finisher came from his barn.

Three years ago, Pletcher ended an 0-for-24 skid when longshot Super Saver, one of four horses he entered, won under Calvin Borel.

Borel is back this year and will ride Revolutionary.

A full field of 20 horses is expected for the 11/4-mile race at Churchill Downs.

"You have to have everything go right on the day and during the race, and get lucky with the weather, and the track condition, and all those things," Pletcher said. "But all that being said we couldn't be more happy with the cards that we're holding at the moment."

His ace is Verrazano, undefeated in four starts this year including a three-length win March 9 in the Tampa Bay Derby. The colt will try to buck a Derby jinx: No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won it without racing as a 2-year-old.

"Based on the way the horse has trained for us all winter, he's given me the impression that I've never really seen the bottom of him, so that's very encouraging to me," Pletcher said.

Besides Verrazano and Revolutionary, his other entries include Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten. And maybe Winning Cause, too.

Pletcher's mentor, D. Wayne Lukas, 77, has a shot at Derby history. The Hall of Famer could become the oldest trainer to win with either Will Take Charge or Oxbow. The four-time Derby winner would surpass Charlie Whittingham, who was 76 when Sunday Silence won in 1989.

"I don't feel any different than when I came in here at 50. There's still the adrenaline rush," Lukas said. "…The horse is the most important ingredient. You better have the horse and then some luck."

Bob Baffert, a three-time winner and Hall of Famer, is back, too. He finished second last year with Bodemeister, and this time saddles Governor Charlie.

Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who hasn't won in his last six tries, will send out Florida Derby winner Orb.

This year's road to the Derby trail claimed a few contenders, including two Pletcher horses — Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Shanghai Bobby and Violence.

Trainer Doug O'Neill goes for consecutive wins, bringing Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents a year after I'll Have Another pulled off the upset at 15-1 odds.

.Fast facts

139th Kentucky Derby

When/where: 4 p.m. Saturday (post time 6:24), Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky. TV: Ch. 8

Friday: Kentucky Oaks, 5 p.m. (post time 5:45), TV: NBC Sports Network

Wednesday: Post draw, 5 p.m. Wednesday, NBCSN

Pletcher loaded for bear as Kentucky Derby approaches 04/27/13 [Last modified: Saturday, April 27, 2013 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Durant's Cameron Myers now one of the state's elite RBs

    Footballpreps

    There will come a day when Cameron Myers is stopped, when opposing defenders gang up to prevent him from breaking off big gains.

    Durant senior Cameron Myers recently set a career high in rushing yards — tallying a whopping 393 last week vs. Plant City.
  2. Check out what this former Buc has cooking in Buffalo

    Bucs

    Leonard Johnson is thrilled to extend his NFL career in Buffalo this season, but whenever his playing days are over, the former Bucs cornerback is ready for life after football.

    He's actually pretty excited.

    Buffalo Bills cornerback Leonard Johnson catches a pass during an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Saturday, July 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
  3. Koetter: Jameis Winston will test shoulder in practice Friday

    Blogs

    Will he? Won't he? It appears the Bucs' uncertainty over whether quarterback Jameis Winston can play through a shoulder injury Sunday at Buffalo will carry up until the final hours before kickoff.

    Jameis Winston didn't throw at practice Wednesday.
  4. Fennelly: Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope

    Blogs

    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

    Bucs fans cheer during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in August at Raymond James Stadium.
  5. Bucs snapper Garrison Sanborn looking forward to return to Bills

    Bucs

    Throughout his eight seasons with the Bills, whenever former players would come to Buffalo for a game, Garrison Sanborn remembers the place to take them for a reunion dinner was a popular Italian …

    Garrison Sanborn enjoyed just one winning season in eight years in Buffalo. [AP photo]