Updated 08/30/2012 03:43 PM
The Spa Spot: Archwarrior wins debut for Pletcher
Archwarrior and John Velazquez at the wire
Archwarrior, said to be the best 2-year-old in trainer Todd Pletcher's deep lineup of juveniles, won his debut easily Thursday under jockey John Velazquez.
The son of Arch won the six-furlong race by 3 1/4 lengths and paid $2.50 as the 1-4 favorite. The colt, purchased for $375,000 in March at the Ocala Breeders' Sale, was scratched from a race earlier in the meet to keep him off a wet track. He was entered again on Travers day, but landed on the also-eligible list. His start in the third race on a weekday drew a lot of attention.
Archwarrior stalked the early pace, moved up to challenge the pacesetter and glided out to his advantage in the stretch. Velazquez said he wasn't surprised that the colt would be patient and wait until asked to go to the lead.
"It’s funny because I worked him behind horses, so it’s not like he’s been on the lead in the mornings. I knew that I could rate him," Velazquez said. "I didn’t think he would be on the lead because he’s not very quick from the gate. He did everything very, very good.”
Pletcher was satisfied with the performance by the colt owned by Alto Racing
“Everything went as smoothly as we hoped it would," Pletcher said. "I thought he ran very well, very professional. He finished up well and galloped out strongly.”
Pletcher smiled when someone asked in the crowd of journalists asked whether he had heard so much hype for a first-time starter.
"No, [and] I’m not really sure why," he said. "The horse has trained well. I think there are a couple of guys who work for the [Daily Racing] Form that are clocking him in the mornings and maybe talking on the internet and giving out information on horses that are working out in the mornings. I don’t know.”
Earlier in the meet, Pletcher said that it's hard to win the races you are expected to win. However, he said he wasn't nervous about the Archwarrior's race.
“Well, it wasn’t exactly like the Kentucky Derby, but generally when you lead a first-time starter over here, you’re the one that kind of knows what to expect," he said. "Not everyone else maybe expects the same thing. But yeah, we were hoping he’d run as he’d been training.”