April 23, 2024

Pleuven faces tough repeat bid in Wise Dan

Pleuven (Coady Photo)

Proving further his fondness for the Churchill Downs turf when taking the $56,000 Opening Verse by 2 1/2 lengths during Kentucky Derby week, Pleuven will look to make it three wins from five starts on the Matt Winn Course Saturday night when he defends his $200,000 Wise Dan (G2) title against seven others going 1 1/16 miles.

Among those standing in Pleuven’s way will be the second- and third-place finishers from the 2016 Wise Dan, Kasaqui and Thatcher Street. Kasaqui, who missed by three parts of a length after leading most of the way a year ago, went on to take the Arlington H. (G3) and missed upsetting the Arlington Million (G1) by a neck.

Starting out this year when narrow losses in the Tampa Bay (G3) and Muniz Memorial (G2), Kasaqui ran fourth in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on Derby Day over a course playing soft.

Thatcher Street, like Pleuven, is a horse for the course. His 8-4-2-2 record on the Matt Winn includes an upset of Pleuven in last November’s River City H. (G3). However, he’s finished behind Pleuven in both starts this term and made little impact late in the Opening Verse.

While Security Risk could show early foot from post 1, it would be no surprise to see Grade 2 veteran Chocolate Ride ultimately lead the way. Aside from a sub-par showing in the April 22 Elkhorn (G2) on yielding ground over 1 1/2 miles, the seven-year-old has been in better form of late, which included a two-length optional claiming score over multiple Grade 3-placed Bondurant over the course and distance May 18.

Conquest Panthera, who might not have liked the ground in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, finished one place behind Bondurant in the Canadian Turf (G3) in March and then missed in a four-way photo in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) two back.

Be sure to back your pick in the Wise Dan with a bet at TwinSpires!

The all-stakes Pick 5 on Saturday night is concluded by the $100,000 Regret (G3) for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs on the turf. The field includes Chubby Star, second against males, including dominating winner Yoshida, in the $100,000 James W. Murphy on the Preakness undercard; Sweeping Paddy and Proctor’s Ledge, third and fourth in the Edgewood (G3) last month; Keeneland allowance scorer Sameeha; and the stakes-placed Starr Bear.