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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Pletcher Hopes for Lift Off with Spinoff


Co-Third Choice on Louisiana Derby Morning Line

With 52 starters, no trainer in history has run more horses in the Kentucky Derby than Todd Pletcher. This year, his corps of 3-year-olds has yet to make a strong dent in the prospective Derby field, but he hopes all that changes by sending Spinoff to the Louisiana Derby.

The Wertheimer and Frere-owned homebred son of Hard Spun emerged from a six-month layoff in impressive fashion last time out when defeating winners at Tampa Bay Downs by 11 3/4 lengths under John Velazquez, his first start since finishing third in the Saratoga Special back on Aug. 12,

“We’ve always had high hopes for him,” Pletcher said. “He had a little setback after the Saratoga Special, and we felt the two-turn race at Tampa was the best starting point to the path moving forward. He was so much the best in that race. He was looking around at the starting gate and idling a bit. Johnny had to keep him to task.”

Since the win at Tampa, Spinoff has recorded a pair of works at Palm Beach Downs, the most recent one a five-furlong drill in 1:00.40.

“He’s trained like we had hoped since the Tampa race, and the timing of the Louisiana Derby is good for him,” Pletcher said. “With six weeks before the Kentucky Derby, we can still run back in the Arkansas Derby, or if he runs really well on Saturday, I feel very comfortable just training him up to Louisville.”

Spinoff is the most lightly raced horse in the 11-horse field with only three starts under his belt. When Pletcher sent Noble Indy to Fair Grounds for last year’s Louisiana Derby, he also had only three starts.  Pletcher knows this is a tough assignment, with War of Will and Country House in the field. Spinoff is the 8-1 co-third choice in the field with Sueno. War of Will is 6-5, and Country House is 9-2.

“War of Will has been very impressive,” Pletcher said. “We are drawn outside of him (post 10), so Johnny should be able to keep tabs on where he’s at. Spinoff has a lot of natural early speed, so we expect to be forwardly placed. We’d like to save some ground, but we can be on the lead or targeting. Maybe we will be targeting War of Will, it all depends on how it plays out.”

Spinoff arrived at Fair Grounds on Tuesday morning along with Noble Indy, who's set to run in the New Orleans Handicap on the undercard. Both Pletcher trainees will be ridden by Velazquez.

Spinoff comes from a nice family of Grade I winners. His dam was Zaftig, who won the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park in 2008. Her half-sister Zo Impressive also was a Grade I winner over the Belmont Park main track when she took the Mother Goose Stakes in 2012. Both are out of Zoftig, who won the Selene Stakes over the dirt at Woodbine in 2000.

Edited release with additional content by Dick Downey

Photo by S V Photography

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