Pletcher on Three-Year-Olds: ‘I Don’t Think There’s A Clear-Cut Leader’

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Gary Stevens celebrates after winning Preakness with Oxbow Gary Stevens celebrates after winning Preakness with Oxbow

Horsemen believe that Palace Malice’s upset performance in the Belmont Stakes did little to solidify the frontrunners in this year’s crop of 3-year-olds. Even trainer Todd Pletcher, less than 24 hours after accepting the Belmont trophy, said he “[doesn’t] think there’s a clear-cut leader.”

Pletcher believes it’s no coincidence that all four Triple Crown near misses since 2000 have been spoiled in the Belmont by horses who skipped the Preakness.

“If you want to win the Belmont, it makes a lot of sense to sit out the middle one. The fresh horse is always going to have an edge, in my opinion,” he told the Associated Press.

Both Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Preakness winner Oxbow of course, ran in all three legs of the series, and the grind seemed to wear on Orb.

“I went down and looked at him a little later (after the race), and he was kind of hanging his head,” said Orb trainer Shug McGaughey. “He was tired. He’ll get a good month of rehab time and see where it takes us.”

The discrepancies in racing schedules makes it difficult to really judge which of the three division leaders is the strongest. The only way to tell?

It’s on to the summer race season.

Read more at the Handford Sentinel

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