Pletcher: eight-week layoff not a factor in Destin's Derby loss

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TwinSpires Staff

May 8th, 2016

Edited from Churchill Downs press release

Trainer Todd Pletcher reported that his two Derby colts, Destin (who finished sixth) and Outwork (14th), were “both in good order,” Sunday morning and would be flown to New York on Monday where their future options would be considered.

Their efforts Saturday were the 16th time the trainer has been through the Kentucky Derby challenge and he was asked for his thoughts about trying to win America’s most famous race.

“It’s a case of managing expectations,” he said.  “I think we did everything we could to have them ready to take that next step; to have them go up to the next level. You want to give them their best chance to win. And we did.

“They were prepared well; everything we wanted for them worked out as we’d hoped. They were ready. We’d done all we could to get them to that point. I have no regrets about how they were prepared.

“The eight weeks between his last race and the Derby wasn’t a factor for Destin. He was where we wanted him to be. They handled the paddock well and they paraded well. Sometimes you just have to manage your expectations.

“From a trainer’s perspective, I find it interesting that both the Derby (Nyquist) and Oaks (Cathryn Sophia) winners did not breeze over the track. There are lots of things you think about for your horses coming up to a race; the things you need to do to get your horse ready. But maybe coming in here early and getting them a breeze on the track isn’t as necessarily important as it is in other places.”

The trainer also indicated that joining his Derby colts on the flight to New York would be his highly promising colt Stradivari, who had worked six furlongs at Churchill on Derby morning in 1:14.40.

“We’d like to run him in the Preakness ([G1] May 21),” the trainer said. “Or if he doesn’t get in, we’d go for the Sir Barton on the Preakness undercard.”

Also bound for New York are trainer Chad Brown’s Derby duo. Brown, who was just leaving to catch a plane back to New York Sunday morning, said both My Man Sam (11th) and Shagaf (pulled up) seemed fine Sunday morning.

“The both look good,” Brown said. “So far, so good. They'll both leave for New York tomorrow (Monday) and we'll regroup from there.”

Destin photo courtesy Churchill Downs/Coady Photography.