Todd Pletcher leads all North American-based trainers in 2010 with more than $22.6 million in earnings and should have his fifth Eclipse Award locked up. His first Kentucky Derby win and three Breeders' Cup victories may have made this the most rewarding year of Pletcher's career.
With 2011 right around the corner, it's only logical to take a quick look at Pletcher's barn, especially considering all eyes will be on leading Derby contender Uncle Mo once the calendar turns. Pletcher took a few minutes on Tuesday to shed some light on the top horses in his stable.
JS: Starting with your 2-year-olds, obviously Uncle Mo is the one everyone is talking about. When will he arrive at Palm Meadows?
TP: He is scheduled to arrive on December 8 from J.J. Crupi's farm in Ocala.
JS: Is the Hutcheson (on Feb. 26) the most logical spot for his first race back if you want to start him back at one turn?
TP: I'm not afraid to start him back at two turns, the only thing I don't want to do is run him a mile and an eighth in his first start back.
JS: That eliminates the Fountain of Youth. If not the Hutcheson, what are some other logical spots?
TP: It all depends on timing and when he tells us he's ready. The Tampa Bay Derby (on March 12), which is a couple weeks later than the Hutcheson, is a possibility, and I also wouldn't rule out the Gotham (on March 5 at Aqueduct).
JS: What about Stay Thirsty? Would the Fountain of Youth be the most logical since it looks like he wants longer?
TP: No, we probably don't want to run him back at a mile and an eighth either to start. All the same races as Uncle Mo would be in play except they won't run in the same race.
JS: What are some other 2-year-olds you are high on?
TP: I would say Brethren would be the other (half-brother to Super Saver that won an allowance last Saturday at Churchill). He's 2-for-2 and obviously has a pretty nice pedigree. We're excited about him.
JS: Would you say R Heat Lightning is at the top of your 2-year-old fillies list right now?
TP: She ran very well (in the Breeders' Cup). I thought it was a gutsy performance. Right now I would say she is at the top of the list. We'll point her to the Forward Gal (Jan. 30) for her first race back.
JS: What about the More Than Real? Will she stay on turf?
TP: She'll stay on turf for the time being. It's too soon to tell where we'll bring her back, there isn't much at the beginning of the year for her. She's at my dad's farm for now. We'll look for something sometime in March or April.
JS: As far as your handicap horses, is Colizeo probably the best right now?
TP: Yeah...maybe him and Rule. We're hoping both will improve off this year.
JS: How is Rule doing?
TP: Rule has been training at Churchill Downs. He was entered in an allowance race last week but it didn't fill. He's on his way down to Palm Meadows and we'll probably look at the Hal's Hope (Jan. 8) for him now. He's had a nice little vacation at WinStar and seems to be doing well.
JS: What about Mission Impazible?
TP: He's also at Palm Meadows and he'll have a breeze on Friday. We're hoping he'll be a good handicap horse for us next year.
JS: Your top sprinter is obviously Discreetly Mine. How is he doing since his injury?
TP: He's doing well. He had a nice 60 days off and hopefully he'll come back to us as good as he was this year. I thought he was as good a sprinter as there was in the country. We'll look for something at Gulfstream in March.
JS: What about your turf horses?
TP: I'm not sure yet. We're a little light on turf horses right now. Bribon will come back next year and we'll look at the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (Feb. 12). Interactif is getting some some time off at the Wertheimer's farm in Kentucky. We'll look to bring him back in April or May.
Pletcher also mentioned that Devil May Care and Life At Ten will join him at Palm Meadows shortly and will be pointed to 2011 campaigns. And, he confirmed that Go Go Shoot, who had a nasty spill in the Fall Highweight Handicap last week, somehow came out of the race OK other than being very sore. He will get 60 days of farm rest before any further decisions are made.