Todd Pletcher is North America’s all-time leading trainer in purse-money won and a seven-time Eclipse Award winner.
He is tied for fourth with nine Breeders’ Cup victories and has nine horses entered in the 2016 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.
MADE YOU LOOK has shown versatility chasing a hot pace and winning his maiden sprinting and stalking a modest pace in winning the Grade 2 With Anticipation going two turns at Saratoga.
His victory in the With Anticipation was flattered when Keep Quiet and Bird’s Eye View, the second and third-place finishers in that race, came back to run first and third in the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland.
Made You Look has looked good breezing with fellow Juvenile Turf starter J.S. Choice the last two weekends at Belmont Park. In his October 29 breeze, Made You Look galloped out extremely strong and way in front of J.S. Choice.
J.S. CHOICE Has one win from three starts but he’s kept pretty good company himself.
In his debut, he finished fifth behind Good Samaritan in a maiden race at Saratoga. Good Samaritan came back to win the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine and will be one of the horses to beat in the Juvenile Turf.
J.S. Choice then rolled to a three and a quarter length victory in a maiden race on September 5th at Saratoga before running second to the loose-on-the-lead Oscar Performance in the Grade 3 Pilgrim Belmont.
The prospect of facing the likes of champions Beholder, Stellar Wind and Songbird had CURALINA’s connections tinkering with the idea of running in the Filly and Mare Sprint.
But the way she’s trained the last two weeks convinced her connections to stay in the Distaff. She is a multiple graded stakes winner at 1 1-8 miles and is coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.
“On paper, it looks like a Distaff for the ages, but at the same time her record is outstanding, she’s shown she can compete with the best of her generation and she’s training as well as she ever has,” Pletcher said.
SWEET LORETTA has gone three for three including a dead-heat for win in the Grade 1 Spinaway, a race in which she drifted out in the stretch and exchanged bumps with Pretty City Dancer with whom she dead-heated.
She will enter the Juvenile Fillies having gone two months without a race, a move that worked for Pletcher in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup with Liam’s Map and Stopchargingmaria, who won the Dirt Mile and Distaff, respectively.
“She’s a lightly-framed filly, I thought would run well fresh,” Pletcher said. “She got a lot of experience in the Spinaway when she stumbled at the start, got a lot of dirt in her face, was inside and in between horses. We felt like our best chance to be successful in the Breeders’ Cup was not to run between.”
After dominating New York-bred company sprinting in his first two starts, SYNDERGAARD ran a game second in the Grade 1 Champagne, setting rapid fractions only to lose a nose bob to Practical Joke.
Two turns and a mile and a sixteenth will be a good test for this fleet-footed colt.
“What I thought was impressive that despite going insane fractions, he dug in and fought hard and kept trying to the wire,” Pletcher said, referring to the Champagne. “It would give you optimism that he could handle a little further. Hes not rank, he’s just very fast. Two-turn scenario could be different, he could shake loose.”
After winning his debut impressively at Saratoga, THEORY was training towards a start in the Grade 1 Hopeful when he was taken out of training. Initially thought to be out the remainder of the year, he was ultimately diagnosed with simply a bruised foot.
He was put back into training and he won the Grade 3 Belmont Futurity on October 15th by three and a half lengths and proceeded to gallop out a strong mile.
“He trained so well early in the summer, he certainly looked like a top two-year-old, he’s run like a top two -year-old, there’s so much upside to running that you got to give it a shot,” Pletcher said.
PHOTO CALL upset champion and defending Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tepin in the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland in her last start. The plan that day was to come from off the pace, yet she won in gate to wire fashion.
She was pre-entered for both the Mile and the Filly and Mare Turf but will be kept in the Mile.
“She’s coming off a lifetime best performance going a mile,” Pletcher said.
A Group 1 winner in France in 2013 when trained by Elle Lellouche, ECTOT regained that form in upsetting potential BC Turf favorite Flintshire in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes on October 1st at Belmont.
That was Ectot’s third start in the U.S. and third for Pletcher following a fourth-place finish in the Lure takes a nose loss in an allowance race, both at Saratoga.
The horse is naturally speedy and Pletcher said the key to his chances in the Turf is how well jockey Jose Ortiz can get him to relax.
“It’s a deep race, it’s going to be a new surface for him, a little bit of a different dynamic but I think he showed in the Turf Classic that he’s regained his top form and his top form from a couple of years ago is pretty good,” Pletcher said.
“We’ve learned a little bit about him as we’ve gone along. Jose gets along with him really well and the key will be if he’ll settle the first part of the race, whether that’s tracking someone or on the lead.”
Best known as the horse who defeated American Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers Stakes at Saratoga, KEEN ICE comes into the Classic having just one race in the last seven months.
He was diagnosed with fissure fracture of a hind cannon bone following an eighth-place finish behind California Chrome in the $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan.
Keen Ice resumed training in the summer and made it back to the races in a second-level allowance race on October 7th at Belmont where he finished third.
His connections feel the horse wants every bit of the 1 1-4 miles and believe there is enough pace to potentially set things up for him like in the Travers.
“He’s proven he wants a mile and a quarter, what he needs is a legitimate pace in front of him,” Pletcher said. “It certainly looks like this race could offer that. Obviously, it’s a very difficult race to win but the conditions could suit him.”