- Road to the Kentucky Derby
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Itsmyluckyday, Shanghai Bobby to await Florida Derby
Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa's Itsmyluckyday was pronounced to be "110 percent" Sunday morning at Calder by trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., one day after his track record victory in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park over previously undefeated champion Shanghai Bobby.
"We had a good year last year and started this year even better," Plesa said. "In this game, you have to enjoy it when things are going your way and hold on to it because it will come to an end eventually. Right now I would say we'll wait for the Florida Derby for his next start."
Ridden by Elvis Trujillo, Itsmyluckyday was timed for the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.81, shaving nearly three-fifths of a second off the track mark. The son of Lawyer Ron, a $110,000 OBS March two-year-old sales purchase, had won the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day by 6 3/4 lengths at a mile.
Itsmyluckyday has now won five of nine starts with a second and a third and earned 10 points toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby with Saturday's victory under the new points system in place this year. The Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby will be run at 1 1/8 miles on March 30.
Shanghai Bobby came out of his second-place finish in the Holy Bull in fine order.
"He came back great, really good," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday afternoon. "We're not only pleased with his performance but how he came out of it."
Owned by Jack and Laurie Wolf's Starlight Racing and Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Shanghai Bobby set a strong pace before falling by two lengths to Itsmyluckyday. Shanghai Bobby finished 11 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Clearly Now.
"We're not making any excuses. We felt like we ran great -- 12 lengths clear of the third horse and three-fifths off the track record," said Pletcher, whose colt was ridden by Rosie Napravnik.
"It was a huge effort. We were second best on the day, but we were really happy with his effort."
Pletcher said that Shanghai Bobby, who was honored with an Eclipse Award after going undefeated in five races during his two-year-old season, would likely run next in the Florida Derby -- setting up a rematch with Itsmyluckyday.
"I talked to Jack Wolf a little bit this morning. We're not going to make any decisions yet, but at the same time, we don't see any reason to deviate from our original plan," Pletcher said.