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ELMONT, NY – Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher sent a trio of Belmont Stakes contenders in Known Agenda, Bourbonic, and Overtook to breeze on Big Sandy on Friday morning at Belmont Park.
Headlined by the 153rd running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) on Saturday, June 5, this year’s three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival kicks off on Thursday, June 3 and will include 17 stakes races in total, with eight Grade 1 races to be contested on Belmont Stakes Day.
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Known Agenda, piloted by Irad Ortiz, Jr., worked outside of Met Mile (G1) contender Dr Post, with Hall of Famer John Velazquez up, covering 5/8 in 1:02.54 over the fast main track.
“I thought it was a good, progressive breeze that should bring them both forward. In particular, I liked the way they galloped out,” said Pletcher. “I had them out in 1:14.4, 1:27.1, and 1:41 for the mile. I thought we accomplished what we were hoping to.”
Known Agenda, winner of the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park in March, worked without blinkers. Last out, after leaving the inside post in the Kentucky Derby (G1), the Curlin chestnut closed from 17th to finish ninth.
“Sometimes he breezes with them, but we’re saving them for the race,” said Pletcher. “Sometimes, you get a little more bang for your buck if you don’t overuse them.”
Known Agenda was a maiden winner at second asking, traveling 9 furlongs in November at the Big A, and followed with a third in the Remsen (G2) in December at Aqueduct.
After finishing fifth in his seasonal debut in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, Pletcher added blinkers to Known Agenda, who promptly won an optional-claiming route on February 26 at Gulfstream by a widening 11 lengths ahead of his Florida Derby score.
Known Agenda Charges Ahead In Florida Derby
Dr Post, owned by St. Elias Stable, hit the board in consecutive 9-furlong Grade 1s last summer when second to Tiz the Law in the Belmont Stakes and third in the Haskell (G1), won by Authentic by a nose over Ny Traffic at Monmouth Park.
The Quality Road bay launched his 4-year-old campaign with a prominent score in the Westchester (G3) traveling a one-turn mile at Belmont Park on May 1 that garnered a career-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure.
Pletcher said the colt has demonstrated star qualities.
“He certainly hinted at that last year,” said Pletcher. “He was a good second to Tiz the Law in the Belmont and an unlucky third in the Haskell, in my opinion, to Authentic. His form has certainly held up very well and the break that he got has served him well. He seems to be training as well as ever. I thought his comeback in the Westchester was good and should be a good prep for the Met Mile.”
The Met Mile, part of the loaded Belmont Stakes Day card, is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1) in November at Del Mar.
Calumet Farm homebred Bourbonic, winner of the Wood Memorial Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2) in April at the Big A, worked a 1/2-mile in company with Overtook in 48.82.
Bourbonic Bombs Wood Memorial
Overtook, with Manny Franco in the irons, worked inside of Bourbonic, guided by exercise rider Hector Ramos.
“They went off a touch quick but finished steadily,” said Pletcher. “I particularly liked the way they galloped out. I had them out 7/8 in 1:27 and 4. I was pleased.”
Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith’s Overtook graduated at third asking traveling a one-turn mile in December at the Big A. Following a closing second in the 9-furlong Withers (G3) in February at Aqueduct, the Curlin bay returned off the layoff to finish a flat third in the 9-furlong Peter Pan (G3) on May 8 on Big Sandy.
Pletcher said Overtook, a $1 million Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, should appreciate the added distance second time off the shelf.
“He’s a steady, one-run kind of horse and the Peter Pan didn’t develop with much pace. I thought considering that, he actually ran pretty well,” said Pletcher. “I think having a race under his belt should help him. Of course, this will be a much more difficult task, but he’s well-bred for the distance and we’re hoping that’s the key for him having success.”
Bourbonic, a dark bay Bernardini colt, rallied last-to-first under Kendrick Carmouche at odds of 72/1 to notch a record upset in the 9-furlong Wood Memorial. Last out, the late-running bay exited the outermost post in the 19-horse Kentucky Derby and improved belatedly along the rail to finish 13th.
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