SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Todd Pletcher already has Whitney runner-up Keen Ice pointing to the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 7 at Belmont Park. He could have another Gold Cup runner, perhaps Destin, who won a third-level allowance race by a nose over stablemate Donegal Moon on Thursday at Saratoga.
Destin, beaten a nose by Creator in the 2016 Belmont Stakes, won for the first time since the Tampa Bay Derby in March 2016. He was making just his second start of this year. He had finished third in a similar allowance spot at Belmont Park.
After stalking the pace Thursday, Destin, under John Velazquez, had a 1 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole and just held on at the finish. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.86 and earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.
“Johnny said he kind of idled a bit when he made the lead,” Pletcher said. “He was waiting, but it was nice to see him get back with a quality race.”
Destin’s participation in the Jockey Club could depend on how Tapwrit performs in Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers. Tapwrit and Destin share common ownership.
“We’ll wait until we see what happens this weekend,” Pletcher said.