He has three horses entered in Saturday's 153rd Belmont Stakes, but none of them are favoured in the odds for the eight-horse field.
However, with the success of underdogs, particularly those with double digit odds in recent Belmont Stakes races, none of Pletcher's entries can be discounted just on the basis of morning line odds. Add in the uncertainty of the mile-and-a-half distance and there are a number of reasons to be optimistic about the trainer with over $400million in purse winnings capturing his fourth Belmont Stakes win.
Known Agenda (13/2)
Pletcher's top hope in the Belmont Stakes won the 100-40-20-10 Florida Derby on March 27 at Gulfstream Park after going off as one of the top three favourites at 11/2. In the race, he took the lead late on, going away by two-and-three-quarter lengths. He entered the Kentucky Derby starting gate at odds of 10/1 in the inside post position but got caught in early traffic and was only able to battle back to a ninth-place finish.
In both of those races, he exhibited late closing speed, which could serve him well over the additional two furlongs that are required in the Belmont Stakes. Known Agenda is currently priced at 13/2 and will start from the sixth post position, but won't face the same challenges he had getting pinned on the rail like he did in the field of 19 horses in the Kentucky Derby.
The 72/1 longshot came out of nowhere to win the 100-40-20-10 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 3, benefitting from a record slow pace to make a great stretch run to edge 16/1 underdog Dynamic One by a head. The Wood was Bourbonic's first stakes race entry and only his third since breaking his maiden on December 6 at Aqueduct.
In the Kentucky Derby, Bourbonic drew the far outside 19th post position and faced the same type of early difficulties as his stablemate did from the opposite end of the gate. He got caught up in traffic but finally worked his way through the field to finish in 13th place, moving up from 18th in the final quarter mile, giving him promise in the Belmont Stakes.
Bourbonic will start from the inside post position which has produced the most Belmont Stakes winners. He is currently rated at 20/1.
Overtook broke his maiden at the third attempt on December 20 at Aqueduct and followed up with a runner-up finish in the Grade Three Withers Stakes at the same track on February 6. Pletcher didn't enter him in another race until the Peter Pan Stakes on May 8 at Belmont Park, where he finished third in a five-horse field.
He's a 25/1 longshot starting from the outside post position, but with Pletcher's unparalleled success in the Belmont Stakes over the last 15 years, he probably wouldn't have entered him in the race if the trainer hadn't seen some real promise in his performances.