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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

'Bobby' Puts in Final Florida Derby Tuneup; Other Workouts


All the major work is done, and the Grade I Florida Derby awaits Shanghai Bobby this Saturday.

Working in company with stablemate Palace Malice, the 2012 juvenile champion was timed for five furlongs in 1:00.82 (6/30) on Sunday.

“I thought he worked well, consistent with what he normally does. He’s not an overzealous work horse, but I think we got a good tightener and everything has gone according to plan,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Shanghai Bobby breezed to the outside of Palace Malice, who was also timed in 1:00.82 and was about a half-length ahead of his stable mate at the finish line.

“I thought Palace Malice worked super, finished up great and galloped out strong. It seems like he’s been doing really well since the Risen Star,” said Pletcher. Palace Malice will start next in Saturday's Grade II Louisiana Derby. “I’d say he’s improving, but he’s always trained really well, and we’ve had really high hopes for him, and he has performed.”

Shanghai Bobby went undefeated in five starts last year, capping the season with Grade I victories in the Grade I Champagne and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The son of Harlan’s Holiday had his first career loss in his 2013 debut in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 19. After setting the pace, Shanghai Bobby was defeated by Itsmyluckyday by two lengths.

With the addition of speedy sprinter Merit Man to the list of probables, Shanghai Bobby likely won’t find himself on the lead as he did from his inside post in the Holy Bull.

“I think it’s fine. We’d actually prefer a target. If (Merit Man) goes to the lead, fine,” Pletcher said.

A lot is on the line. Shanghai Bobby likely needs an on-the-board finish to clinch an entry into the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field. But Pletcher has a practical attitude.

“I’m not worried about the points,” the trainer said. “I figure if he runs good enough, it won’t be a problem."

In addition to Shanghai Bobby and Palace Malice, several other Pletcher trainees breezed Sunday, most notably Verrazano.

The son of More than Ready was timed in :49.79 (20/43) for a half-mile in company with Grade II Gulfstream Park Handicap winner Discreet Dancer.

“You could say ‘maintenance’ except that the gallop-out was pretty awesome. It was pretty impressive,” Pletcher said.

Revolutionary, another candidate for the Louisiana Derby, worked in company with Overanalyze, who's headed to the Grade I Arkansas Derby. Both breezed a half-mile in :48.20 (4/43).

“I thought he went super. He was well in hand,” Pletcher said about Revolutionary. “He’s coming up to the race in good order.”

Pletcher also sent out Charming Kitten, second in the Grade III Palm Beach, for his first breeze since that race, four furlongs in :48.60 (7/43) at Palm Meadows.     

Chad Brown's Normandy Invasion, working toward the Grade I Wood Memorial, went five furlongs in 1:00.22 (1/34) at Palm Meadows.     

Merit Man breezed an easy five furlongs for the Florida Derby in 1:04.10 (22/22) from the gate Sunday at Gulfstream Park with Kent Desormeaux aboard for trainer Bob Hess, Jr.

“I put him in the gate to sharpen him up a little. He can get a little lazy,” said Hess. “We weren’t looking for a lot of speed and he galloped out strong.”

By Dick Downey with content via Gulfstream Park release

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