Saratoga debut romper Theory bound for Hopeful
Edited press release
The highlight for trainer Todd Pletcher on Saturday proved to be Theory, a poorly kept secret who won his six-furlong debut in a brisk 1:09.60. Theory is the second winner - and the first colt - for freshman sire Gemologist, who won five of seven starts for Pletcher including the Wood Memorial (G1). A filly, Morganite, won at Del Mar.
The word was out on Theory, who made $3.30 seem like a relative bonanza after reporting home by 5 1/2 lengths.
"Very pleased, the colt had been training very well and we were expecting a good debut," said Pletcher, who picked up his sixth win at the meet.
"For a nice-sized horse he's got good tactical speed and is maybe even a little more precocious than Gemologist was. But Gemologist also came out and ran well in his first few starts, so it's nice to see him get off to a promising start as a stallion.
"I would think (the Hopeful [G1] on September 5) would be the logical target off that race assuming he comes back and trains accordingly."
Anchor Down, sixth in Saturday's Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1) after some bumping from the rail at the break, will regroup and point to the $700,000 Forego (G1) August 27.
"We knew we were in a post position that he didn't love, and we just never could work ourselves out into a trip to get him out in the clear and just the way the race unfolded didn't allow him to do that," said Pletcher. "The seven-eighths of the Forego suits him a little better."
Plans remain flexible for Far From Over and Comfort, who are under consideration for next Saturday's Whitney (G1) or perhaps the Alydar S. the following day. Far From Over, who is three for three, and Comfort, who has won his last three starts, worked five furlongs together over the main track Saturday and they came out of the move nicely.
"I'm not 100 percent sure, I need to have some discussions with some owners, but Far From Over I would say would be leaning to the Alydar," said Pletcher. "They both worked well."
Pletcher added that three-time graded stakes winner Protonico is nearing his 5-year-old debut but is "not quite ready" for the Alydar.
"He's a hard horse to place, he's got no conditions left and it's tough to run a mile and an eighth off a layoff," he said. "He's not really a sprinter, either, so we'll have to figure something out," he said.
Mother Goose (G1) winner Off the Tracks, who worked a half-mile in :52.12 on the main track Friday, will likely cut back to seven furlongs in next Saturday's $500,000 Test S. (G1).
"We didn't feel like we needed a lot of training," said Pletcher. "She ran very well (when second) in the Acorn (G1) and Mother Goose without having to breeze, so we wanted to (have her) go alone and not overdo it - hopefully have her fresh for the Test. Right now at this moment, it's a little more logical play than waiting on the mile and a quarter (of the Alabama [G1])."
Pletcher also mentioned Kinsley Kisses - third in the Beaumont (G3), Black-Eyed Susan (G2) and Delaware Oaks (G3) - as a possibility for the Test.
Theory photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography