Todd Pletcher is aiming to enter the Belmont starting gate three times in his attempt to end American Pharoah's Triple Crown bid. Of those three, Madefromlucky is the least accomplished, the highest-priced, and the one people know least about. But could he be the one with all the glory at the end? Let's take a look:
Last race: Last time out, Madefromlucky won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont. He stalked the early pace, went four wide around the second turn, took the lead entering the stretch, and held on for a one-length win. It was a solid effort against a decent field, including second-place finisher Conquest Curlinate, who was aiming for the Belmont as well but was pulled out of consideration when his training was flat. This horse will get attention because the Peter Pan is the same race that Tonalist, last year's Belmont winner, came out of. Don't get too excited, though - Tonalist was the first Belmont winner from the race since A.P. Indy in 1992.
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Career highlights: The high point other than the Peter Pan came in the Rebel Stakes, in which he made his stakes debut he wound up second behind American Pharoah, though he was clearly no match for the winner. He failed to break his maiden three times over the summer at Monmouth and didn't look ready. He was given a break, then he came back to win impressively in December. It was after that that he moved to the Todd Pletcher barn. He won an allowance race and then finished second and fourth behind American Pharoah before the Peter Pan.
Jockey: As I write this the three Todd Pletcher trained horses - Madefromlucky, Materiality, and Carpe Diem - don't have riders yet. What we know is that John Velazquez will be on one, Javier Castellano another, and an as yet unnamed jockey on the third. My guess would be that Velazquez and Castellano would be on the other two, and Madefromlucky would get the third choice, but you never know with Pletcher. As a Pletcher horse, though, we know it's not going to be a bad rider by any means. Castellano rode him in the Peter Pan, and Velazquez had the mount the previous three outings.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher continued his trend of underwhelming Kentucky Derby performances this year. He is much better in the Belmont, though. He has won this race twice - with the amazing filly Rags to Riches in 2007 and with Palace Malice two years ago. He has also finished second in this race four times - most recently last year with Commissioner. He also has countless Belmont and overall New York training titles to his credit, so he is more than comfortable with the setting. He's a big asset here - much more of one than in Kentucky.
Pedigree: There is some good intrigue here. This horse's sire, Lookin At Lucky, won the 2010 Preakness for trainer Bob Baffert, who trains American Pharoah. So, there is a chance that Baffert's fourth shot at a Triple Crown could be ruined by a son of one of his favorite recent runners trained by his biggest Triple Crown rival. That would hurt. Lookin at Lucky provides some decent stamina influence for this horse. Madefromlucky's damsire is Pulpit, who is a son of the great A.P. Indy, so stamina is present there as well. Pulpit is the grandsire of last year's Belmont winner Tonalist as well. This horse has a solid chance of handling the distance - at least based on his bloodlines.
Running style: Madefromlucky won't be looking to set the early pace, but he will be in touch with it. You can look for him in the pack right behind the leaders. He'll look to make the lead around the final turn, but you can look more for a gradual shift forward rather than an explosive move. He has only been worse than third once in his last seven outings, so he reliably is a part of things at the end.
Belmont outlook: I'm not convinced. I think he is third best in his stable, never mind in the whole race. He has had some nice races but just hasn't proven to be quite up to a top caliber. He could be in a piece of things and could be useful lower down in deep exotic plays, but as a winner I don't see it. It's a shame, too, because he sits at 22/1 in early action at Bovada, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go off at higher than that.
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