Trainer Todd Pletcher said it would be “kind of cool” to hit his next career milestone during this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Heading into this weekend’s action, Pletcher has saddled a total of 4,999 winners; on his next trip to the winner’s circle, the trainer will become be just the eighth in history to reach 5,000 victories.
“It’s a tribute to a lot of great horses over the years,” Pletcher said from Keeneland on Tuesday. “A lot of hard work from a lot of people. It really takes a huge team to supervise all that, so we’re grateful, we’re hoping it happens soon.”
That milestone win could come at Gulfstream Park on Thursday with Seize The Hay in a claiming race, or in a pair of undercard stakes at Keeneland on Friday (Mo Ready and No Word in the Bryan Station, or Farmington Road and You’re To Blame in the G2 TAA Stakes, formerly the Marathon).
Should none of those five make their way to the winner’s circle, Pletcher will have three shots to hit the milestone during the Future Stars Friday at the World Championships. Those chances include: Mutasaabeq (Juvenile Turf, 5-1), Union Gables (Juvenile Filly Turf, 20-1), and Likeable (Juvenile, 15-1).
Alternatively, a pair of entrants at Aqueduct on Friday (Microsecond and Malathaat) might be his next trainee in the winner’s circle.
Another two Breeders’ Cup entrants present opportunities on Saturday: Halladay in the Mile (12-1) and Valiance in the Distaff (12-1).
The lowest odds on a Pletcher trainee in this year’s Breeders’ Cup are the 5-1 morning line chance given to Mutasaabeq in the Juvenile Turf. Considering he won the the Classic last year with Vino Rosso, Pletcher acknowledged that this year’s Championships have a slightly different feel.
“Last year we were fortunate enough to not only win the Classic, but coming in we felt like we had a big chance,” Pletcher said. “We’re coming in with a little different group this year. We have some young horses that are doing really well, but we don’t have that clear-cut standout.
“It seems like a lot of times you get right on the cusp of the milestone and then have trouble getting through. We had five chances at Belmont last weekend and we couldn’t quite get there, but I suppose if it were to happen in a Breeders’ Cup race, it’d be kind of cool.”
Thanks to the National Turfwriters and Broadcasters Association (NTWAB), which has assembled a group of pool reporters providing independent reporting to members unable to be on the Keeneland grounds this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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