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Pletcher 3-year-olds gearing up for stakes

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Hallandale Beach, FL (Sportsbooks) - Trainer Todd Pletcher says everything is moving forward for Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby to make his 2013 debut in Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull Stakes on Saturday, Jan. 26.

"Everything's going according to plan so far. He's still on schedule for the Holy Bull," Pletcher said. The one-mile Holy Bull will be the first of two prep races, the Florida Derby being the other, for the undefeated colt before the Kentucky Derby.

"That's what we've got in mind now, but things change," said the four-time Eclipse winning trainer. "We'll see how the first one goes and decide after that. He's not a huge horse, but he's filled out nicely and grown up a bit."

Owned by Starlight Racing, Shanghai Bobby is perfect in five starts for $1,687,000.

CashCall Futurity winner Violence is another undefeated 3-year-old Pletcher has pointed towards the Run for the Roses. The colt notched his third win by a length in the $750,000 Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 15.

"I've been impressed with all three of his races, actually," Pletcher said. "For a maiden to run as well as he did first time out at seven-eighths at Saratoga, I was impressed with that. He had a break, then came back to step up to a mile in the Nashua, then flew all the way to California and ran on a synthetic track for the first time. He' been very impressive so far.

"He's a big, leggy colt who is starting to fill out and grow into himself. . He's got a wonderful disposition and a great mind. He's an easy horse to train."

Violence, owned by Black Rock Thoroughbreds, is scheduled to open his road to the Triple Crown with the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Feb. 23. The colt ended his 2-year-old campaign with earnings of $618,000.

In order for both colts to gain entry into the Kentucky Derby each must be among the top 20 3-year-olds to acquire points from designated races. Shanghai Bobby gained 20 points with the Juvenile win and Violence picked up 10 from taking the CashCall.

"In some ways it's not dramatically different than the old one," Pletcher noted, "other than the 2-year-old form isn't being considered at all."

Pletcher believes that the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner should have an automatic berth in the Kentucky Derby.

"It's easy for me to say that now because we've got the Juvenile champion, but I said that before," said the conditioner of 2010 Derby champ Super Saver. "I thought it was the obvious flaw in the program. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner shouldn't have to worry about gaining points. But the rule is the rule, and everyone knows about it before the game starts."

January 4, 2013, at 02:11 PM ET
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