On May 20th, the day before the $1,000,000 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico, Todd Pletcher shared some thoughts on his talented allowance winner Stradivari, expected to be the third choice in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
“I think there’s a fair amount of pace. It should be a big, strong, honest pace,” trainer Todd Pletcher was quoted as saying in a Preakness press release. “Some factors are yet to be determined, depending on how the weather follows through and how it affects the track. But it looks like on paper there’s plenty of pace.
“We’ll be where Johnny (Velazquez) wants to tuck in, going to the first turn. That’s one of the advantages to drawing outside, you can take a little while to see how the race is unfolding inside of you instead of having to commit one way or the other.”
Speaking of how a strong pace might affect Nyquist, Pletcher said “He caught pretty fast fractions at Churchill. That didn’t seem to affect him much. I think the potential for a wet track and really strong pace, you could maybe argue would give Exaggerator a similar setup to what he ran at Santa Anita, when he ran arguably his best race. It looks like the major contenders handle a wet track fine.
“Ideally we want to get a smooth run. He’s a lightly raced horse with less experience than a lot of the other runners, so we don’t want to get into any complicated positions,” Pletcher said. “But the main thing is to get into a nice, steady rhythm going into the first turn and allow him to get into his cruising speed, which seems to be a pretty high and comfortable cruising speed, and take it from there.”
“…We think a lot of [Stradivari]. But we also know we’re coming into it at a bit of a disadvantage, considering the experience of the other horses,” Pletcher said. “He’s making his first start in a stakes; he’s giving up quite a bit of an experience edge.”
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