'Todd Squad' invades Churchill; Pletcher eyes Derby win No. 3

'Todd Squad' invades Churchill; Pletcher eyes Derby win No. 3
Todd Pletcher's Magnum Moon arrived in Louisville and got in his first workout on Tuesday.
Todd Pletcher's Magnum Moon arrived in Louisville and got in his first workout on Tuesday.
Kentucky Derby 144
Kentucky Derby 144

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The "Todd Squad" hit the track at Churchill Downs for the first time Tuesday morning.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has a four-pack of Kentucky Derby hopefuls, and one day after arriving in town from South Florida, the four horses were jogging around the Downs' oval.

It was a rainy morning and a sloppy track, but Pletcher said all four handled the off-track, and back at Barn 40, the two-time Derby-winning trainer was talking about the quartet –- Florida Derby winner Audible, Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon, Wood Memorial winner Vino Rosso and Louisiana Derby winner Noble Indy.

Pletcher, who won with Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming last year, is tied with D. Wayne Lukas for the most starters in Derby history with 48. He was asked if this year's group was the best he has brought into the Run for the Roses.

"The best since last year," Pletcher said with a laugh.

It marks the fourth time Pletcher has started four horses in the Derby, while he holds the record of five starters -- on two occasions -- with Lukas and Nick Zito. He also ran Tapwrit (6th) and Patch (14th) in last year's Derby.

"This is a remarkably consistent group," Pletcher said of his four who all won their final prep races. "They all seem to show up and run every time. With the exception of Vino Rosso in the Tampa Derby, I haven't been disappointed one time.

"They show up, run hard and are adaptable with pace scenarios. It's nice when you have a group that is versatile in their running styles."

Audible has won four in a row since a third-place finish in his first career start. Besides winning the Florida Derby, Audible claimed the Holy Bull Stakes and will be one of the shortest-priced horses in the morning-line for the Derby.

"He's shown he can let the race unfold like it needs too and then adapt," Pletcher said. "It's good to see from him."

Magnum Moon has only started four career times and is 4-for-4. He'll try to become the first Derby winner since Apollo in 1892 to win without having a start as a 2-year-old.

"Magnum Moon is an impressive individual," Pletcher said. "He's just one of those horses that has a tremendous presence."

Pletcher said he's not worried about the curse of Apollo.

"I don't think there's any question, the Apollo curse will be broken at some point," Pletcher said. "With Magnum Moon, we've gotten to do everything we wanted to do since he broke his maiden on Jan. 13."

Vino Rosso was fourth in the Tampa Bay Derby before winning the Wood Memorial, while Noble Indy is 3-for-4 with a third in the Risen Star Stakes.

"We think Vino Rosso wants the distance and have been confident in that from the beginning," Pletcher said. "His pedigree screams a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half.

"Noble Indy hasn't done much wrong."

Pletcher said after winning two times at the Derby, there's still the sense he wants to get more done and he believes this group can help him get a third.

"We're blessed to be back here with four really good horses," Pletcher said. "We love to see the reaction of the owners when we get them here. We just have to have them prepared the best we can and hope they run well. It goes without saying. We want to win another one."

Take a look at Pletcher's media availability Tuesday, courtesy of Jennie Rees:

Pletcher Interview, Part II

Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.