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Starting QB for Pletcher’s Rookie Team is a Pirate

After what he did on the third day of the Saratoga Race Course meet, the top 2-year-old in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher is a Pirate .

And that is meant in a good way.

After winning his debut July 15, Pirate, owned by Harrell Ventures and Starlight Racing, moved up to the top of the Pletcher depth chart. If this were a football team, Pirate would be the quarterback.

“For now, yeah,” Pletcher said outside his barn at the Oklahoma Training Track. “That is the interesting thing. From week to week, we can have horses step up and the chart can change weekly.”

Pirate came out of the box running and won his 5 1/2-furlong debut by three lengths. Since then, he has stayed in the stall right next to Pletcher’s office. He has had three works since his impressive maiden win, the latest  Aug. 13 when he went five furlongs in 1:02.98.

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The next date for Pirate is the $300,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) at seven furlongs Sept. 4, Labor Day.

Pirate is a son of freshman sire Omaha Beach; Starlight and Harrell Ventures bought him for $350,000 at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Pletcher said there was a buzz about Omaha Beach when he was making visits to Ocala, Fla. this past February and March.

“I asked consignors and guys that were breaking horses down there if there were any freshman sires they were liking,” Pletcher said. “(Omana Beach) repeatedly came up.”

Jack Wolf, who manages Starlight along with his wife Laurie, was immediately drawn to the yearling who would be named Pirate as was Corbin Blumberg, Starlight’s racing manager..

“To have a colt up here that is at that level is very exciting,” Blumberg said. “He has just gotten better as his breezes have gotten longer.”

“It is so hard to find good horses,” Jack Wolf said. “I thought it was a good idea for Todd to skip the other stake (Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) Aug. 12) and then get set up for the Hopeful.”

Pirate, who was 1-5 in his debut, is a half-brother to Preakness Stakes (G1) winner National Treasure . Starlight is part of the ownership group of that colt.

“National Treasure had just broken his maiden at Del Mar (Sept. 3) and we knew he was pretty good,” Blumberg said. “If he had one more start …”

One more start before the sale and the price tag on Pirate might have gone through the roof. Blumberg and Wolf were so satisfied they got the yearling.

“For Starlight and Harrell, the price range was right,” Blumberg said. “He ticked every box for us.”


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