Edited Keeneland Press Staff Release — As weekends go, this past one has to rank near the top for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Bookended by two Grade 1 victories here by Forte and Annapolis on Saturday and then easy victories by champion Malathaat in the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) here and Nest in the Beldame (G2) at Aqueduct on Sunday – plus a trip Saturday with his wife, Tracy, to see daughter Hannah during parents weekend at Wake Forest University in North Carolina – and one has a weekend to savor.
“It was fantastic,” Pletcher said Monday morning at Keeneland as he looked in on Malathaat before heading back to New York for a few days.
Malathaat, now three-for-three in her career at Keeneland and a five-time Grade 1 winner, and Nest, winner of this spring’s Central Bank Ashland (G1) here, give Pletcher two aces to play in the
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run here Nov. 5. Pletcher has won the Distaff twice.
“Nest will be shipping Wednesday and arrive here Thursday,” said Pletcher, who will have seven prime Breeders’ Cup candidates here headed by Classic (G1) hopeful Life Is Good.
With the three Grade 1 victories at Keeneland over the weekend, Pletcher added $1,275,650 to the barn’s bankroll for 2022, a total that now exceeds $24.4 million and is second only to Chad Brown.
This is Pletcher’s best year in earnings since 2015, the year Keeneland hosted its first Breeders’ Cup and was site of two of Pletcher’s 12 victories in the World Championships. His winners that weekend were Liam’s Map in the Dirt Mile (G1) and Stopchargingmaria in the Distaff.
“I hope to finish strong,” said Pletcher, who plans to return to Keeneland Thursday and remain here through the Breeders’ Cup.
ANDTHEWINNERIS RUNS TO HIS TRAINING IN CASTLE & KEY BOURBON
Susan Moulton’s homebred Andthewinneris was the 10-1, co-sixth choice on the morning line for Sunday’s Castle & Key Bourbon (G2). By post time, he was the 4-1 favorite.
“I didn’t kill the price on him; he did,” trainer Wayne Catalano said Monday morning. “He was training like a monster and that was on the dirt.”
In winning for the second time in three turf starts, Andthewinneris took over at the eighth pole and cruised to a 2¾-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile race. His final time of 1:41.27 knocked more than a second off the stakes record that had stood since 1999.
The victory earned Andthewinneris a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to be run here Nov. 4.
A day later, Moulton and Catalano will be represented in the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) by Manny Wah, who earned his spot in the starting gate for that race with his victory Friday in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2).
Three Diamonds Farm’s Army Wife and Rigney Racing’s Played Hard, the 2-3 finishers in the Juddmonte Spinster (G1), both returned to Louisville Sunday night after the race with their trainers reporting they came out of the race well.
Mike Maker, who trains Army Wife, also trains Paradise Farm Corp., David Staudacher and Jason Ash’s Really Good, who finished third in the Castle & Key Bourbon (G2). Both horses returned to Maker’s main base at Trackside Training Center in Louisville and remain under Breeders’ Cup consideration.
Played Hard returned to trainer Phil Bauer’s barn at Churchill Downs.
“No decision on the Breeders’ Cup,” Bauer said. “But very happy she got a Grade 1 placing.” …
Trainer Vicki Oliver said BBN Racing’s Mo Stash, fast-closing runner-up in the Indian Summer (L) Presented by Keeneland Select, came out of the Sunday race well and remains in consideration for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 4. …
Reddam Racing’s three-time graded stakes winner Slow Down Andy arrived at Keeneland Sunday night for a race to be determined. He joined trainer Doug O’Neill string here that is headed by Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) hopeful Hot Rod Charlie. O’Neill already had Sharp Aza Tack here for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) and Vegas Magic for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
WARD, ASMUSSEN HORSES WORK
Two of trainer Wesley Ward’s candidates for the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) worked 5 furlongs on the fast main track Monday morning. Kimari, who would be making her third World Championships appearance, was timed in 1:03, while Nakatomi, who is unbeaten in two Keeneland starts, worked in 1:01.80. …
Among six workers for trainer Steve Asmussen were Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) candidate Gunite (5 furlongs in 1:02) and Lexus Raven Run (G2) nominee Wicked Halo (5 furlongs in 1:01.80).