Pletcher Duo a Danger to Exaggerator in the Belmont Stakes

Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a pair of runners looking to upset heavy favorite Exaggerator in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1).

The seven-time Eclipse Award winning trainer has not had much luck in the first two jewels of the Triple Crown, just 1 for 46 in the Kentucky Derby and 0 for 8 in the Preakness Stakes.

However, he has done better in the Belmont Stakes, winning the race twice with 19 starters with four runner up finishes.

His victories came with Palace Malice in 2013 and the filly Rags to Riches in 2007. He just missed in 2014 with Commissioner leading every step of the way at 28-1 but was caught at the wire by Tonalist to lose by a head.

This year Pletcher will send out two contenders in Destin and Stradivari, and a case can be made for both to have a shot of pulling off the upset.

Stradivari is the current fourth choice in the early betting at 9-1. The is the most inexperienced runner in the Belmont field with just four career starts and one try in stakes company.

After trouncing maidens and first level allowance foes by a combined 25 lengths, the colt ran well in a fourth place finish in the Preakness Stakes, beaten four lengths for the top spot.

By Medaglia d’Oro out of the multiple graded stakes winner Bending Strings, this colt looks capable of handling the 1 ½ mile distance and still appears to have plenty of potential. He will be ridden again by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

Destin is currently the fifth choice in early Belmont Stakes wagering at 10-1. The colt was sixth in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness Stakes.

The colt showed plenty of talent earlier this spring, winning the Sam F. Davis (G3) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2). He may not have been fit enough trying to win the Run for the Roses off a 53-day break.

In the Derby he was not off cleanly, getting bumped around and finding himself back in 11th. The colt showed good tactical speed in his previous starts, laying second in the early going in the Tampa Bay Derby.

There is not much early speed signed up to go in the Belmont Stakes and under jockey Javier Castello figures to be forwardly placed.

Horses that are on or near the lead fare well in the Belmont, and this colt looks capable of getting a good trip and moving forward off his try in the Kentucky Derby, and comes into the race fresher than Exaggerator, who will be making his third start in five weeks.

Pletcher has a good shot of notching his third win in the Belmont Stakes, and both of his contenders will offer decent betting value.

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