Pletcher says Always Dreaming remains on-track for Derby

When is the 2020 Kentucky Derby
Getty Images
0 Comments

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) Always Dreaming came out of his Florida Derby win healthy and will stay put for a couple of weeks before heading to the Kentucky Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday.

“All is well,” Pletcher said.

Always Dreaming posted the fastest winning time at the Florida Derby since Alydar in 1978. Always Dreaming prevailed in 1 minute, 47.47 seconds, while Alydar was clocked in 1:47 flat.

The Florida Derby win was worth 100 points in the system used to determine which 20 horses are invited to the Kentucky Derby, and that was more than enough to ensure that Always Dreaming will have a spot in that field if he stays healthy over the next month. He will remain at Palm Beach Downs for at least a couple more weeks before going to Churchill Downs.

“He’s showing us all the signs you’re hoping for,” Pletcher said.

Always Dreaming is one of four Pletcher trainees who are in line to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, along with Tapwrit, Malagacy and Patch. A fifth possibility, Battalion Runner, could earn a spot with a strong showing at the Wood Memorial in New York on Saturday.

Battalion Runner got his final workout in Sunday for the Wood. He’ll ship to New York on Tuesday.

“He’s had a good, steady series of solid works so this is more of a maintenance type work before he ships north,” Pletcher said. “He looked good and was moving well. It was a nice, relaxed work by himself and he seemed to come out of it well.”

Pletcher has sent 45 horses to the Kentucky Derby. That’s No. 2 in the all-time trainer entry standings, three behind his mentor D. Wayne Lukas. Pletcher’s lone win at the Run for the Roses came with Super Saver in 2010.

“It’s the hardest race in the world to win,” Pletcher said.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

Getty Images
1 Comment

LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.

Taiba wins $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for Baffert

Getty Images
1 Comment

BENSALEM, Pa. – Taiba won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by three lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Taiba ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.67 and paid $4.80, $3 and $2.60.

It was Baffert’s fourth win in the Grade 1 event at Parx Racing. He also won in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Smith won the race for the third time, all aboard Baffert horses.

Zandon returned $3.80 and $2.60. Cyberknife was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $3 to show.

Taiba was coming off a second-place finish in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in July. The colt was 12th in the Kentucky Derby under Tim Yakteen, who took over training him while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.

“He had a little bit of a rough trip in the Haskell, but we had some time to get him ready for this one,” Baffert said from his base in California. “He proved today he is a good horse. He is getting better and better.”

Baffert Taiba will be pointed toward the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The colt has three wins in five starts this year.