Trainer Todd Pletcher's domination of the Kentucky Derby trail has been well-documented this season. So far, he has saddled the winners of the Wood Memorial, Holy Bull, Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby, and the Rebel, and will send out the likely favorite in this Saturday's Arkansas Derby.
Barring any missteps between now and the first Saturday in May, Pletcher could be saddling four starters in the 2018 Run for the Roses. Jockey John Velazquez, with whom Pletcher teamed to win last year's Kentucky Derby with Always Dreaming, has been in the irons aboard Audible, Vino Rosso, and Noble Indy. Drf.com reports that Velazquez plans to stick with Wood Memorial winner Vino Rosso.
Meanwhile, Javier Castellano has decided to take the mount on Audible in the Kentucky Derby. The newly-inducted member of the Hall of Fame rode Audible to his victory in the Holy Bull, but was in Dubai on the day of the Florida Derby, when Velazquez rode.
“I feel like I need to be with Todd,” Castellano said.
That leaves Pletcher absent a jockey for Noble Indy. Luis Saez rode Magnum Moon in his Rebel win, and is expected to ride the colt again in the Arkansas Derby this weekend.
Castellano's decision also affects trainer Mick Ruis, who will need to find a jockey for Derby contender Bolt d'Oro. Three-time Kentucky Derby winner Victor Espinoza is rumored to be the top rider under consideration for Bolt d'Oro, but Ruis would neither confirm nor deny a decision as of Monday afternoon.
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