LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 7, 2016) – Multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher began his career in 1996 and earned his first Keeneland stakes victory during that year’s Fall Meet when he sent out Turkappeal to win the Valley View (now the Grade 3, $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View to be run Oct. 21).
Now Pletcher is Thoroughbred racing’s all-time leading trainer with nearly $324 million in earnings. His achievements include 48 stakes wins at Keeneland, putting him within striking range of equaling his former boss, Racing Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, with a record 50 stakes wins here.
Pletcher, whose Keeneland horses are under the care of longtime assistant Ginny DePasquale, has two shots to increase his stakes total during opening weekend of the Fall Meet with Teresa Viola Racing Stables’ Photo Call (IRE) in Saturday’s First Lady (G1) and Cheyenne Stables’ Genre in Sunday’s Juddmonte Spinster (G1).
Photo Call, a Grade 1 winner last year, was purchased for $3 million at Keeneland’s 2015 November Breeding Stock Sale soon after running fifth here in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1). The 5-year-old Galileo (IRE) mare enters the First Lady off a fourth-place finish in the 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls (G3) at Saratoga.
“She’s in tough obviously with Tepin in the race,” DePasquale said, referring to the reigning female turf champion. “But she always tries hard and gives you everything. We’re hoping she runs well.”
Photo Call, 20-1 in the morning line, will start from the outside 10 post in the First Lady and be ridden for the first time by Kent Desormeaux. She hasn’t run at one mile since the summer of 2015.
Genre enters the Juddmonte Spinster off two consecutive wins and has two previous starts at Keeneland. The 4-year-old Bernardini filly won Monmouth’s Molly Pitcher (G3) and the 1¼-mile Lady Jacqueline Stakes at Thistledown on Aug. 27.
In April 2015, she was second in a 1 1/16-mile allowance here. She was at Keeneland again this April and won a one-mile allowance race
“She has a huge heart. She’s just amazing,” DePasquale said. “She gives 110 percent every time. She’s got a good post. I think she’s going to do well.”
Javier Castellano will ride Genre, purchased by Cheyenne for $200,000 at Keeneland’s 2013 September Yearling Sale, and break from the outside post in the field of five. She is 7-2 in the morning line.
Pletcher’s Keeneland stakes wins include three victories in the Juddmonte Spinster with Panty Raid (2007), In Lingerie (2012) and Got Lucky (2015).
He is seeking his first win in the First Lady.