Pletcher has Numbers Looking to Improve on Poor Kentucky Derby Record

Todd Pletcher is the most successful trainer in the game, a winner of the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer seven times and a shoe-in to be voted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Pletcher has been a busy guy in the paddock on the first Saturday of May, saddling 45 runners in the Kentucky Derby.

However, he has had little success, winning the Run for the Roses just once, with Super Saver in 2010.

The trainer will seek to improve on those numbers, having five three-year-olds that are in the top 20 in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points standings.

It will not be the first time Pletcher has sent out as many as five runners in the race. He saddled five runners in 2007 and 2013 and sent out four runners in 2000, 2010 and 2014.

In 2016 Pletcher sent out a pair of runners – sixth place finisher Destin and Outwork, who checked in 14th.

On the bright side, of the 45 runners sent out by Pletcher, none have been the post time favorite in the race.

That might change this year, as he sends out Always Dreaming, winner of the Florida Derby (G1) in his last outing. He is the current second choice in early Kentucky Derby betting at 19-4, behind just Classic Empire, the favorite at 9-2.

While Always Dreaming gives him his best shot, he will be busy saddling as many as four other runners:

Battalion Runner (16-1): This colt has just four starts under his belt and one stakes try. He set the early fractions and could not hold off Irish War Cry late in a runner-up finish in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct in his last outing.

Tapwrit (20-1): The colt won the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in March to earn his spot in the Kentucky Derby field. He came back with a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland in his final prep, beaten 1 1/2 lengths.

Malagacy (20-1): Pletcher is still on the fence about starting this colt. He won the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park to become a major Derby contender, but then weakened to finish fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his last outing.

Patch (50-1): If this colt wins the Derby he will be the first since Apollo in 1882 to have not raced as a two-year-old. The colt has just three starts under his belt, a runner-up finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds in his lone start in a stake.

Even if Pletcher manages to win his second Kentucky Derby, we will probably still be talking about his mediocre record of 2 for 50 next spring.

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