By Dick Downey
Updated 3:50 p.m. ET
Todd Pletcher sent out six Belmont Stakes contenders for workouts Monday morning in Elmont, New York, led by Revolutionary, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby. The trainer emerged with five pointing to the Belmont, three of them definite and two probable.
Revolutionary, who'll be ridden by Javier Castellano in the Belmont Stakes, breezed four furlongs in :48.55 (25/89), working in company with Oldwick, who went in an identical time. It was Revolutionary's first workout since the Derby. Castellano handled Monday's move.
“[With Revolutionary] right after the Derby, we talked to Elliott (Walden of WinStar Farm) and we decided to skip the Preakness and go to the Belmont,” said Pletcher. “My gut reaction was this horse doesn’t need a lot of training, we’ll give him two half-miles and run. Last week, he was doing so well, I contemplated giving him three breezes, but I decided to stick to my original plan. I’m really happy with the way he went this morning. I think he’s maintained his fitness really, really well.”
Overanalyze, 11th in the Derby, breezed for the second time since then, going five furlongs in 1:00.77 (12/28) in company -- and on even terms -- with multiple stakes winner Caixa Eletronica. Overanalyze remains firm for the Belmont.
“I thought it was a typical work from Overanalyze,” Pletcher said. “He’s not an overzealous work horse. You kind of have to encourage him a little bit. I think when Johnny encouraged him, he responded well."
Palace Malice, 12th in the Derby and working in company with Micromanage, also put in his second workout since May 4, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.24 (7/28). Palace Malice outworked Micromage by about five lengths. He galloped out a mile in 1:38 and change as an approving Pletcher looked on. The Belmont Stakes is still firm for Palace Malice.
“I think Palace Malice worked unbelievably well. To me, it was a monstrous gallop out," the trainer said.
Meanwhile, Micromanage was timed in 1:01.17 (16/28) and has been pulled from Belmont Stakes consideration as a result of the work.
Pletcher's filly contender, Unlimited Budget, worked in company with Midnight Taboo. It was her second timed move since running third in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3. Midnight Taboo finished second in an allowance race on May 8, and it was also his second work since. They both went five furlongs in 1:00.68 (9/28), breezing.
“(Unlimited Budget's breeze) was similar to what we saw at Churchill. She’s a little better when she works on the outside," Pletcher said. "I thought her work last week was particularly strong. This week wasn’t quite as strong, but I think switching her to the outside next time you’ll see her a little stronger.
“Midnight Taboo continues to train really well,” he went on. “If he gives us another breeze like he did today and last week, I think he has (worked himself into the race). He’s a horse you can see getting better and better every work and every race."
Link: Videos All in One Place: Workouts by Revolutionary, Palace Malice, Micromanage, Overanalyze, Midnight Taboo, Unlimited Budget and Freedom Child
Link: Interviews with trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole
Owner Mike Repole said afterward that both are probable for the Belmont, but he left some wiggle room in each case, saying Unlimited Budget is 75 percent and Midnight Taboo is 60 percent. Repole also owns Overanalyze.
“It’s a tough decision. Midnight Taboo has done nothing to say not to run. With Unlimited Budget, do you run against Dreaming of Julia (in the Grade 1 Mother Goose on June 22) or do you run against the boys? We’ll do what’s right for the horse,” Repole said.
Pletcher summed up the current jockey situation. “We’re still in the process of firming it up,” he said. “We’ve got Mike Smith to ride Palace Malice, Johnny is holding the race for me, we have Javier on Revolutionary, Garrett Gomez is riding one, and we’ll see what Rosie Napravnik’s situation is.” Napravnik is currently named to ride Code West, who hasn't been 100 percent committed to the Belmont yet.
Tom Albertrani's Freedom Child, runaway winner of the Grade II Peter Pan on May 11, zipped five furlongs in :59.87 (5/28), breezing, and remains on track for the Belmont. Monday's move was his first since the Peter Pan. Photo of Freedom Child by NYRA/Coglianese Photos
“I thought he went super,” said Albertrani. “The rider sat there with a nice hold of him and he looked like he was just galloping down the lane. We just wanted to let him go in hand. Typically he can get aggressive when he’s feeling good, so the rider had a nice hold of him early on. It looked like he was just running through the bridle the first three-eighths, and he just gave him a little slack down the lane. He responded well and did it all nice and easy."
Albertrani said maintenance would be the key between now and the Belmont.
“This week he’ll just do some light galloping and maybe a real easy work next time or a good strong gallop out. I just don’t want him to do too much on top of the race. Today was a pretty strong work, so we’ll just kind of let him get there.”
All the Pletcher horses and Freedom Child were on the main track rated fast.
Pletcher also sent out Dreaming of Julia, fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, who breezed four furlongs on :48.16 (16/89) on the main track. John Velazquez was up for the workout. She'll bypass the Belmont.
Giant Finish, 10th in the Derby and based at Fair Hill Training Center with Tony Dutrow, on Monday breezed four furlongs in :49.20 (4/8). It was his second move since the the first Saturday in May.
Chad Brown sent out Noble Tune, winner of the Grade II American Turf on Kentucky Oaks day. He breezed four furlongs on firm turf in :49.01 (2/9).
At Churchill Downs, Code West, thought to be set for a Tuesday workout, is set to breeze on Wednesday. Golden Soul will breeze on Wednesday or Thursday, and Oxbow and Will Take Charge on Thursday. It will be all about Orb workout-watch on Sunday at Belmont Park, and Pletcher's team are expected to make final moves for the Belmont then.