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Monday, December 17, 2012
But don't bet on it -- at least not yet


With another 2-year-old racing season rapidly approaching the wire, it's been a year filed Pletcher, Pletcher and more Pletcher -- and there are no indications that anything will change when this year's crop turns three.

The latest flagship in the Pletcher armada set sail in Saturday's $750,000 Cash Call Futurity and cruised to a length-and-a-half victory. Violence may have a name that makes you cringe, but he's a talented and versatile runner that seems to have a bright future in front of him as the prep races grow richer and longer.

Now 3-for-3, Violence was shipped west by Pletcher and had little trouble adapting to Hollywood Park's synthetic main track while powering to victory in the Grade 1 Cash Call. Included among those who finished behind him was I'll Have Another II, a.k.a. He's Had Enough who was second to probable 2-year-old champ has Shanghai Bobby (yes, he's trained by Pletcher) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

That one has hopefully seen enough of artificial surfaces as his best effort was on dirt, the kind of ground that will be waiting for him should he make it to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

Violence is accomplished on dirt as well, having won the $200,000 Nashua at Aqueduct a day after Shanghai Bobby gutted out a head win over He's Had Enough in the BC Juvenile.

"He's a colt that we've thought a lot of all along," Pletcher said. "He's a big, leggy colt that we felt like was going to continue to improve and mature. After he won first time out, we talked about a couple of strategies. One was to try and make the Breeders' Cup and the other was a more patient strategy.

"We decided to wait on the Nashua and when he ran so well in there, we started looking at whether we wanted to run him back in 20 days in the Remsen, put him away for the winter or look for something else."

The correct answer was clearly C: something else.

And now the rich have gotten richer, though that in and of itself is not as important as it once was. In a switch from past years, instead of graded stakes earnings, a point system will be used to determine the 20 starters in the Kentucky Derby. Following the Cash Call, Pletcher has the points leader in Shanghai Bobby (20 points), the third horse in Violence (10) and the fifth horse in Overanalyze (10), winner of last month's Remsen.

He is also the new trainer of Capo Bastone, who was third in the BC Juvenile. That horse was transferred to Pletcher's care at the start of this month and joined a roster that included the winners of 23 juvenile races at Saratoga.

That's enough horses to fill the starting gate in the Run for the Roses -- and then some. They all won't make it, that's for sure. Maybe only two or three will. But with 2013 only a few weeks away, two or three seems rather skimpy for Pletcher.

In a world of Pletcher, Pletcher and more Pletcher it's hard to believe he'll be the Todd-man-out in the Kentucky Derby.