Pletcher Duo Looks Tough in Birdstone at Saratoga

Trainer Todd Pletcher won a record 38 races at Saratoga last summer, but got off to a tardy start this year and his seven wins this year so far trail Chad Brown by one.

However, he can make up some ground this afternoon as he sends out rumens in five races including a pair in the $100,000 Birdstone, the featured race on the 10-race card that includes a pair of steeplechase races.

Pletcher sends out the 2-1 morning line favorite San Pablo, who is coming off a fourth place finish as the beaten favorite in the Monmouth Cup (G2), and the 3-1 second choice Alma d’Oro, who is coming off a third place finish in the Lemon Drop Kid on June 17 at Belmont Park.

The field includes 15-1 longshot Pleasant Prince, who has a three-year-old in 2010 lost the Florida Derby (G1) by a nose and ran 11th in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

The five-year-old has not won since taking the Pot of Luck last fall and makes his first start today for trainer Bruce Brown, who claimed him for $75,000 on July 15.

Get Michael Dempsey full Saratoga card and daily free horse racing picks at Pick Shark.

Saratoga Race 6 The Birdstone (Post time 3:49 ET)

7 San Pablo   2-1

1 Alma d'Oro   3-1

6 Gallant Fields                  8-1

2 Hello Lover   6-1

Analysis: San Pablo was bumped coming out of the gate, was sent up to track the early pace and came up short in the stretch, weakening to finish fourth in the Monmouth Cup (G2), his first go off a 3 1/2 month break. The colt has run back to back solid efforts in a couple of trips on the inner track, losing photos to Marlyn's Guy in back to back outings. The colt has only missed landing in the exacta in two of his 10 career starts and looks like a good fit here as the Pletcher barn seems to be heating up at the meeting after getting off to a tardy start.

Alma d'Oro is coming off a decent effort in a third place finish in the restricted Lemon Drop Kid as the beaten favorite. Two back he ran fourth in the Churchill Downs (G2) behind a trio of repeat winners including Shackleford and Amazombie, both Grade 1 winners. Three back our top pick earned a career top in a runner up finish in the Skip Away (G3) behind Fort Larned. The six year old is also sent out by the Pletcher barn and this guy has been facing mostly tougher and can handle the stretch out to two turns and nine furlongs.


WIN: #7 to win at 2-1 or better.

EX: 1,7 / 1,2,6,7

TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,6,7 / 1,2,5,6,7

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