Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – A couple of 3-year-olds, about to
become 4-year-olds, from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher are on their way to
starting in Gulfstream Park’s Donn Handicap in two months.
Pletcher, who has been leading trainer at Gulfstream’s Championship Meet for
11 consecutive years, will start Florida Derby winner Constitution and
Arkansas Derby champ Danza in the $500,000 Donn on Feb. 7.
“Right now, Constitution is pointing for the Donn,” Pletcher said. “The
question is, do we run him in between. I don’t know yet. We might just train
him up to the Donn. He came out of his last race very well. We know he likes
Gulfstream, and I think this track will carry him a little more than Churchill
Downs sometimes does.”
Constitution, owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables and WinStar Farm, was third
as the 5-2 second pick to 2-1 favorite Hoppertunity in Churchill Downs’ Clark
Handicap on Nov. 29.
“Javier (Castellano) was very comfortable with the way he handled the first
turn (in the Clark),” Pletcher said. “Javier felt like he was more relaxed
than I did watching it, but down the backside he settled pretty well and I
thought he ran a big race. He’s just getting back into form. It was only his
second start since the Florida Derby and only his fifth lifetime start.”
Danza, 41-1 winner of the Arkansas Derby, is waiting to make his first start
since getting third behind California Chrome in the Kentucky Derby.
“He came out of the Derby and he was wiped out,” Pletcher said. “He broke out
in a skin disease from head to toe and lost some weight, and we decided to
just stop on him and point for the Donn and work our way back. We’ll see.”
This year’s Donn was won by Lea over 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take
Charge. Lea, ridden by Joel Rosario, was the 5-1 co-third pick in the 11-
horse field with Will Take Charge the 3-2 favorite and Revolutionary the 7-2
Trained by Bill Mott, Lea held on for a 1 1/2-length win over Will Take
Charge. The 5-year-old chestnut horse came into the Donn off a win of
Gulfstream’s Hal’s Hope Stakes in January.