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Two more Kentucky Derby hopes for Pletcher

Report: USA, Saturday

Aqueduct: Withers Stakes (Grade 3) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo

TRAINER Todd Pletcher, already well stocked towards the top end of Kentucky Derby ante-post betting with Violence and Shanghai Bobby, produced two more potential aces on Saturday with Revolutionary and Verrazano.

Sent off 3-5 favourite, Revolutionary (Javier Castellano) took the Withers with a game effort, overcoming trouble at the start to close from the rear to score by a determined neck.

"When you are pointing for the Derby, this is a huge stepping stone," said assistant trainer Michael McCarthy. "We've known all along the horse had ability. That was a big, big step today against some proven horses."

Pletcher is responsible for no fewer than 29 of the 369 Triple Crown entries revealed on Saturday, among them Verrazano (John Velazquez), who recorded his second win from as many starts with a stunning 16¼-length victory in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park.

Sent off 1-5, the son of More Than Ready had also won his debut by nearly eight lengths.

The Kentucky Derby is on May 4, with the Preakness two weeks later and the Belmont on June 8.

Also on Saturday

Santa Anita: Robert B Lewis Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo

Flashback (Bob Baffert/Julien Leparoux) jumped to the head of the California Triple Crown crop with an impressive victory by more than six lengths, in the process taking his unbeaten record to two after breaking his maiden at Hollywood Park.

 
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