Note: One of a series of profiles on contenders for the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes on June 20. Updates will be provided after morning-line odds and post positions are set early next week.
By Lynne Snierson
Dr Post, along with fellow Belmont Stakes probable Farmington Road, gives trainer Todd Pletcher a pair of hopefuls in what has become an unorthodox Triple Crown campaign. The revised schedule of races may work to the benefit of this sleeper, who is steadily improving over time.
After stumbling his first time out of the gate on July 4 at Belmont and winding up fourth, Pletcher wisely gave him the rest of the year off and time to grow up and physically mature.
Dr Post didn’t appear on the work tab until late December at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland and then the dark bay colt joined the rest of the stable consolidated at Palm Beach Downs after the first of the year.
After a nine-month hiatus, he made a successful start to his sophomore season in a Gulfstream Park maiden special weight at 7 furlongs on March 29. His connections then jumped him right up into stakes company in the Unbridled Stakes, another sprint. The Unbridled was a race created by Gulfstream officials to fill so many empty spaces for sophomores on the calendar while so many tracks were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Post took full advantage of the opportunity while overcoming a horrendous, traffic-filled trip to win by 1 ½ lengths and earn a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. The effort was impressive enough to catapult him into the Grade 1 Belmont at 1 1/8 miles.
“He’s versatile enough that he can run multiple distances, but we’ve always felt like he was looking for more ground,” said Pletcher, who has three Belmont wins (Rags to Riches, 2007; Palace Malice, 2013; Tapwrit, 2017) “Certainly, to go from a maiden win to a stakes race like he did against seasoned horses, we felt he handled that step up in class pretty well. We like the way he’s been training and if he continues to train like he is, we’ll focus on the Belmont.”
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: St. Elias Stable
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Career record: 3 2-0-0
Career earnings: $76,635
Pedigree: Quality Road–Mary Delaney, by Hennessy
Running style: From off the pace.
“Won stakes debut easily despite brutal trip; live long shot; the best of Pletcher’s duo.’’ Ed McNamara
“Late to the dance but getting good at the right time with two wins in a row at Gulfstream Park … The maiden win came at 7 furlongs; the allowance win that followed at 1 1/16 miles was not as impressive, leading me to believe this horse might turn out to be better as a miler type. Gets Irad Ortiz and is definitely talented, but looks ambitiously-spotted here.” – Noel Michaels.
Notes: Dr Post is a son of Quality Road, who already has two champions (Abel Tasman and Caledonia Road) and 21 graded stakes winners to his credit, and was a multiple Grade 1 winner for Pletcher…The dam, Mary Delaney, was a Grade 2 winning sprinter and won the Vinery Madison … Dr Post was bought for $200,000 as a weanling at the 2017 November Breeding Stock sale and sold the next year for $400,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling sale … St. Elias Stable is the nom de course for Teresa and Vinnie Viola, who own the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Vinnie and Teresa, who also has horses solely in her name, were co-owners of 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. Dr Post will be their first Belmont starter … Pletcher has two Kentucky Derby victories (Always Dreaming, 2017; Super Saver 2010) in addition to 11 Breeders’ Cup scores, including the 2019 Classic with Vino Rosso.
|1||Tap It To Win||6-1||John R. Velazquez||Mark E. Casse|
|2||Sole Volante||9-2||Luca Panici||Patrick L. Biancone|
|3||Max Player||15-1||Joel Rosario||Linda Rice|
|4||Modernist||15-1||Junior Alvarado||William I. Mott|
|5||Farmington Road||15-1||Javier Castellano||Todd A. Pletcher|
|6||Fore Left||30-1||Jose Ortiz||Doug O’Neill|
|7||Jungle Runner||50-1||Reylu Gutierrez||Steven M. Asmussen|
|8||Tiz The Law||6-5||Manny Franco||Barclay Tagg|
|9||Dr Post||5-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Todd A. Pletcher|
|10||Pneumatic||8-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steven M. Asmussen|
Lynne Snierson, a former director of communications at Arlington Park and Rockingham Park, currently is a freelance writer and racing publicist. She covered thoroughbred racing as an award-winning sportswriter for newspapers In Boston, Miami, and St. Louis. She lives in New Hampshire. Secretariat remains her all-time favorite horse.