Competitive Edge is the even-money program favorite for his comeback race, Friday’s $60,000 Tamarac at Gulfstream Park, but Todd Pletcher says it's not an easy spot.
Competitive Edge's competition in the seven-furlong Tamarac includes fellow unbeaten 3-year-old Mr. Jordan, also returning from an injury.
“He’s trained very well. We’re excited about getting him going,” Pletcher said. “It’s not an easy race with Mr. Jordan in there. I’ve got a lot of respect for that horse. We’ll see where we are with him, but we’re expecting a good effort. He’s a very talented colt and he’s trained very well.”
Competitive Edge was considered one of the leading Triple Crown contenders after romping by 16 combined lengths in his first two starts capped by the seven-furlong Hopeful on Sept. 1 at Saratoga. Shortly after the race, he was sidelined by a hairline fracture in a hind leg and didn’t return to the work tab until 2015.
The bay son of Super Saver shows 11 works since Jan. 11 at Palm Beach Downs, most recently going a half-mile in :51.60. Pletcher said he considered the Swale, also at seven furlongs, but opted to take a more conservative route. Pletcher ran Daredevil in the Swale, finishing second to Ready for Rye.
“He’s been ready, and we were just trying to find the right spot,” he said. “We thought about the Swale, but it just seemed like it was a race that was coming up pretty tough and we were trying to avoid that situation, which I’m not sure we’ve done. This will be a good place to find out where we are.”
Competitive Edge will carry John Velazquez in the Tamarac. Pletcher didn’t discount the possibility of the colt’s return in a Triple Crown race this spring.
“Talking to the connections, we’re not ruling anything out necessarily, but we felt like we didn’t want to push him too soon,” he said. “We’ll let it come to us and we’ll see.”
Meanwhile, as to Mr. Jordan. He won all three of his starts at two by open lengths but sidelined Dec. 19 and had surgery to remove pressure a bone was placing on his check ligament.
His first timed work back came on Feb. 24 and he has had three subsequent breezes including five furlongs in 1:00 on March 20, the fastest of 11 horses at Gulfstream Park West. Mr. Jordan drew the rail and will have Gabriel Saez, also up for the Smooth Air win.
“He’s going excellent, his last couple works have been excellent, and I’m anxious to get him back,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said.
Edited Gulfstream Park release