Will the Pletcher trifecta hit in 2023?
Todd Pletcher is arguably the most decorated trainer in horse racing not named Bob Baffert or D. Wayne Lukas. The 55-year-old has won the Eclipse Award as Top Trainer eight times and was inducted into the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 2021.
Despite his success, it hasn’t always helped him in the Triple Crown races. Pletcher horses have won the Kentucky Derby twice in 2010 (Super Saver) and 2017 (Always Dreaming) and the Belmont Stakes on four occasions, most recently in 2022 with Mo Donegal.
For the 2023 Run for the Roses, Pletcher had two of the favorites in the race — Forte and Tapit Trice along with a very live underdog in Kingsbarns. But a controversial scratch of Forte on Saturday morning cut into the his chances heavily. But as far as post draw, Tapit Trice (5) and Kingsbarns (6) are in favorable positions to run their best races.
Favorites have had a spotted history at the Derby in recent years. The talent distance between Forte and Tapit Trice is minimal, but Kingsbarns might be the star of the bunch if the performance at the Louisiana Derby was any indication. That should give Pletcher a good feeling going into Saturday.
But one horse that could ruin a Pletcher celebration at Churchill is Angel of Empire, the winner of the Arkansas Derby and a potential spoiler.
Less than two hours before post time, Tapit Trice is at 9-2 odds with Kingsbarns a 10-1 choice.