Todd Pletcher’s Florida-based Kentucky Derby entrants El Padrino and Gemologist arrived in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday and visited the track on Wednesday.
“We’ve had a very successful winter training at Palm Meadows. We won 40 percent of our races at Gulfstream,” Todd Pletcher said. “Gemologist shipped from Palm Meadows to Gulfstream and won; he shipped from Palm Meadows to Aqueduct for the Wood and won. El Padrino shipped from Palm Meadows to the Fair Grounds and won. So we were in a good rhythm there. The horses were doing well and it made sense to stay there as long as possible.”
Pletcher is confident in both runners heading into the race and isn’t concerned about the abundance of apparent early speed in the race.
“For Gemologist, it won’t bother him; he’s tractable enough to be in a stalking position. It could benefit a horse like El Padrino, who has been running in races not having the kind of pace you’d like to have,” he said. “His last two races the fractions have been a little slow. It’s going to help those kinds of horses.”
El Padrino, who finished fourth in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream after winning the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds, is scheduled to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano. El Padrino, which translates to “The Godfather”, began his training career in Ocala with Todd’s father, J.J. Pletcher. he is owned by Let’s Go Stable.
Gemologist brings an undefeated record into Kentucky Derby 138 for WinStar Farm. He will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
“What’s important is that not only is he undefeated but he’s two-for-two at Churchill. That’s significant as we’ve seen in the past,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Not all horses take to this surface. The fact the he’s won twice around two turns here I think is a big edge.”
–Churchill Downs Communications contributed to this report.
El Padrino/Reed Palmer photo
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