photo via courier-journal.com
Todd Pletcher got his start under his father, Jake, and later he worked as a groom, foreman and assistant for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. He also worked for the legendary late Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham.
He has been the most successful trainer in America for the better part of the past 10 years. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer from 2004-07, and led the trainers in money won from 2004-07 and 2010-12.
Pletcher has saddled nine Eclipse Award-winning horses and has won many important races. But he has only two Triple Crown races: The 2007 Belmont Stakes with Rags to Riches and his lone Kentucky Derby with Super Saver in 2010.
He brings five starters to the Derby for the second time in his career, but never before he has brought such a strong team to the Run for the Roses.
He has undefeated Wood Memorial winner Verrazano, Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary, Arkansas Derby winner Overanalyze, the talented Palace Malice and Charming Kitten.
He also has a stellar lineup of jockeys, which includes four Hall of Famers—John Velazquez (Verrazano), Calvin Borel (Revolutionary), Mike Smith (Palace Malice) and Edgar Prado (Charming Kitten)—and one of the best of today in Rafael Bejarano (Overanalyze).
Pletcher is loaded with talented colts, but he is at his best mainly because the horses' running styles complement each other.
Verrazano will be near the front. Overanalyze and Palace Malice should run mid-pack, while Revolutionary and Charming Kitten will do their best running late from the back of the pack.
Pletcher's chances with a quarter of the Derby field are very real, mainly with Verrazano, Revolutionary and Overanalyze. But any of them could really be the winner Saturday.