ANOTHER PLETCHER WIN AT THE MORRISSEY
Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Ibboyee, said he told Mike Repole, the owner of Be Bullish, that his dream scenario for Wednesday's $75,000 John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga was that his horse would nail Repole's horse on the wire.
Pletcher's dream - and Repole's nightmare - came true when Ibboyee, under John Velazquez, rallied from fourth in the final furlong to nail Be Bullish by a neck in the final stride. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Six Flings in third.
It was the third straight year that a horse owned by Repole finished second in the Morrissey for New York-bred sprinters. Driven by Success finished second in 2009 and 2010.
Pletcher has most of Repole's best horses, including Uncle Mo, last year's 2-year-old champion, Stay Thirsty, the Jim Dandy winner, and Overdriven, among the leading 2-year-olds in training.
'It was something he and I kidded around about all week,' Pletcher said. 'I told him my dream scenario was to nail him on the wire. That was a pretty nasty beat. I feel a little bit bad for him. Just a little bit.'
'It's my worst nightmare,' a downtrodden Repole said when reached by phone in New England, where he watched the race on television. 'You couldn't make that [stuff] up. I'm not going to call him for at least three weeks. I'm considering moving Uncle Mo, Stay Thirsty and Overdriven to other trainers. This will be the worst win of his life. This win will cost him $5 million.'
While Repole, of course, was kidding, he couldn't believe that he finished second in this race for a third straight year.
Repole claimed Be Bullish for $75,000 in his most recent start and turned him over to trainer George Weaver. Be Bullish looked like the main speed in the Morrissey, but stumbled badly at the start under Javier Castellano and had to stalk Mineswept through a quarter-mile in 22.87 seconds and a half-mile in 46.06.
Be Bullish, a slight 6-5 favorite over Ibboyee, came up alongside Mineswept at the five-sixteenths pole and opened up a clear advantage in midstretch and looked home free at the sixteenth pole. But Ibboyee, who was five lengths out of it at the eighth pole, kicked into high gear and got up at the wire.
Ibboyee, a 4-year-old son of Medallist owned by Anita and Stuart Sobotnik's Anstu Stables, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.00 and returned $4.70 as the second choice.
'He's a really cool horse. He shows up and tries hard every time,' Pletcher said. 'To me, he's a classic overachiever. What he lacks in natural ability, he gives back 100 times in heart. He's one of my favorites just because he comes over here and shows up every time and tries hard.'
by David Grening
HER SMILE PREPARES FOR THE TEST
Trainer Mike Puype calls Saturday’s Grade 1 Test a “r é sum é race” and one he and the connections of likely favorite Turbulent Descent “have wanted all along.” To get it, however, Turbulent Descent will have to beat eight other talented 3-year-old fillies, including Her Smile, who is coming off the best performance of her career to win the Grade 1 Prioress five weeks earlier.
Her Smile, who was purchased privately by Bobby Flay and turned over to trainer Todd Pletcher this spring, rallied from last to score a half-length victory over Pomeroys Pistol in the six-furlong Prioress. She’ll have to negotiate an extra furlong in the Test.
“She’s coming off her best race and training very well for this one,” Pletcher said. “We got the trip we wanted in the Prioress, off the pace and saving ground. She had to wait briefly for a seam to open up, but otherwise it was perfect. Hopefully, we’ll get the same kind of trip on Saturday, and the faster the pace, the better for her.”
Her Smile will break from post 8 in the Test under Javier Castellano, while Turbulent Descent begins her journey from post 6 with David Flores aboard.
The field in post position order is Ava K. (Julien Leparoux), American Lady (Martin Garcia), Roman Treasure (Ramon Dominguez), Coax Liberty (Eddie Castro), Savvy Supreme (Jose Lezcano), Turbulent Descent, Pomeroys Pistol (John Velazquez), Her Smile, and Salty Strike (Manny Cruz).
by Mike Welsch