Trainer Pletcher Brings New Talent and Champions

November 2, 2022

Mike Repole’s Chocolate Gelato. Coady Photography

From Chocolate Gelato to Life Is Good, Pletcher has a chance at making BC history

Breeders’ Cup Notes/Edited
UPDATED 11/2/2022 9:39 PM

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Trainer Todd Pletcher’s 12 Breeders’ Cup victories have been accumulated in nine races but in the Juvenile Fillies, he has been blanked.

That could change this year as he sends out two runners in Repole Stable’s morning line favorite Chocolate Gelato and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Michael Bernard and Harry Colburn’s Atomically.

Pletcher has had 13 entrants in the Juvenile Fillies and had four seconds and two thirds. One of the seconds, Ashado, came back the following year to win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), and one of the thirds, Dreaming of Julia, is the dam of the Pletcher-trained Malathaat, one of the favorites for this year’s Distaff.

Chocolate Gelato, who has been favored in all three of her starts, will be making her two-turn debut in the 1 1/16m Juvenile Fillies on Friday.

“I don’t think that will be a question considering how well she finished going a mile in the Frizette,” Pletcher said of going two turns.

Both fillies, with Amelia Green aboard Chocolate Gelato and Nora McCormack aboard Atomically, galloped 1 1/2m this morning and later had a paddock schooling session.

Mike Repole talks Chocolate Gelato and Breeders’ Cup with Past The Wire: 

Spendthrift Farm’s Major Dude will attempt to give Pletcher a second victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on Friday.

Unlike Pluck, who had three starts on grass before winning the Juvenile Turf for Pletcher in 2010, Major Dude has made only one turf start. 

“I loved his debut on the grass,” Pletcher said of Major Dude’s victory in the Pilgrim on Oct. 2 over yielding turf that came after three starts on dirt. “He handled that fine and I think he will handle the firm. He has had two good works over the course here.”

Another plus in Major Dude’s favor has been the company he has been keeping in his works.

“That has been very encouraging,” Pletcher said of Major Dude working with Grade 1 winner and FanDuel Mile (G1) presented by PDJF contender Annapolis.

Major Dude galloped 1 1/2m with Nora McCormack aboard Wednesday morning and later had a paddock schooling session.

Pletcher has won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) twice, with Uncle Mo in 2010 and Shanghai Bobby in 2012, and he will have two runners going to the starting gate Friday to try to complete the hat trick.

Forte galloping Wednesday morning. Coady Photography

However, Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte and Harrell Ventures’ Lost Ark have something going for them that Pletcher’s previous winners did not: Races around two turns and a race over the track where the Breeders’ Cup is being run.

Forte won the Breeders’ Futurity going the 1 1/16m distance of the Juvenile here on Oct. 8, a race in which Lost Ark had a troubled trip and finished sixth.

In comparing this year’s runners to his two past winners, Pletcher said, “They were all very precious and showed their talent right away. They were good students.”

Both colts galloped 1 1/2m Wednesday morning and had schooling sessions in the paddock after training hours.

Todd Pletcher talks 2 Year-olds with Past The Wire

Pletcher’s powerhouse Longines Distaff duo of Malathaat and Nest  visited the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2m Wednesday morning.

First out at 7 o’clock was Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat with Amelia Green aboard. Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest followed at 8:45 with Nora McCormack aboard.

Pletcher said the gate schooling was normal operating procedure for his fillies that have not had any issues at the gate in the past. Both Nest and Malathaat are scheduled for paddock schooling sessions Thursday.

Wertheimer and Frere’s Happy Saver did not train Wednesday morning because of a quarter crack in his left hind foot. The crack will be patched today, and trainer Pletcher hopes to make Saturday’s Classic.

Happy Saver paddock schooling. Coady Photography

Meanwhile, CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm’s Life Is Good visited the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2m with Amelia Green aboard.

Pletcher said the gate schooling was normal operating procedure with Life Is Good not having any issues at the gate in the past.

Life Is Good is scheduled to school in the paddock Thursday.

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