Is this the year Todd Pletcher, three-time defending Eclipse champion as this country's leading trainer, final breaks through to win his first classic? If he does so, it will be to the beat of his own training regimen.

He will not worry about the eight weeks between races for the light-bodied Circular Quay. If this were any other race, he would give this little colt with the big finish ample time to recover between starts. If that means eight weeks, so be it. Who would know this better than Pletcher, who has followed all the historical rules and is winless in 21 attempts.

Nor will he worry about the five week layup for Scat Daddy. Barbaro did it. Why not his own Florida Derby winner? He had a decision to make with Any Given Saturday. Do you want four weeks rest into the Blue Grass or four weeks going into the Derby? He chose the latter. Any Given Saturday wilted like a tired colt in the Wood Memorial. The extra week for the Derby, at this juncture, looks like a prescient call.

Pletcher will start Sam P. off what has become the traditional four week break. Any argument that Santa Anita Derby participants have not earned their share of Derby glory? And, of course, there's Cowtown Cat. Countless Derbies have been won by the horse that gets good at the right time. And like Illinois Derby-winning War Emblem, Cowtown Cat is a "now" horse. And he's been working bullets since that last race, perhaps getting even better than good. Could the timing be any better?

Like Sinatra, Pletcher will do it his way. If recent history is a measure, who can argue?