Pletcher not holding back

Tight schedule
By Will Graves
Associated Press / May 7, 2010

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Todd Pletcher is breaking one of his own rules in pursuit of a Triple Crown.

The Eclipse Award-winning trainer likes to give his horses at least five weeks off between races. Super Saver’s win the Kentucky Derby, however, hasn’t left Pletcher much choice.

The 3-year-old colt will run on just two weeks’ rest in next Saturday’s Preakness. After finally capturing his first Derby following a decade of trying, Pletcher will gladly take his chances with his energetic star.

“I wish in a perfect world we would have more time but this is the way it’s laid out,’’ Pletcher said yesterday.

Super Saver hasn’t exactly looked tired since beating Ice Box by 2 1/2 lengths in the slop at Churchill Downs. He’s been active in his stall and relaxed while jogging on the track under exercise rider Kevin Willey.

Pletcher said most horses are “wiped out’’ following a big race. Not Super Saver.

“He does not appear to be knocked out,’’ Pletcher said.

Good thing, because Super Saver will face a a stiff challenge at Pimlico as he attempts to take the next step toward becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 32 years.

While Super Saver’s nearly perfect trip under jockey Calvin Borel in the Derby is hardly considered an aberration, opponents aren’t exactly living in fear of the sturdy bay.

Derby third-place finisher Paddy O’Prado is a definite for the Preakness and will be joined by stablemate First Dude, second in the Blue Grass Stakes. Trainer Dale Romans was impressed with Super Saver’s Derby performance, but isn’t ready to call him unbeatable.

“It’s a tough campaign to get in the Derby and run in the Derby and then be fresh two weeks later,’’ Romans said. “Anybody would be vulnerable.’’

Beaten Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky could also be in the starting gate.

A full field of 14 is expected, meaning the Preakness won’t be the 20-horse traffic jam that slogged through the mud under the twin spires in the Derby.

Super Saver will almost certainly be the morning-line favorite, and that’s fine by Pletcher, who will also saddle Aikenite.

“He goes from being the second choice in the Derby in a wide-open race to the horse that everybody is watching,’’ Pletcher said.