Let’s go back in time to the winter of 2017. Tampa Bay Downs. January 25th. Todd Pletcher sent a 3yo Bodemeister colt up from South Florida to break his maiden. That colt, Always Dreaming, would go on to win the Kentucky Derby….and nothing else. Always Dreaming was retired this week. Many have asserted he was but a one-hit wonder. Eh, not such a bad hit if you ask me. Enjoy retirement, buddy.
A mere 18 days after Always Dreaming’s maiden win at Tampa Bay Downs, Pletcher tried the move again, successfully, with an Uncle Mo 3yo colt named Monaco, who had been purchased by the Coolmore people for $1.3M as a 2yo. Monaco then flopped in his next start, the Louisiana Derby, before dropping off the Triple Crown Trail and being claimed several starts later for a mere $25,000 at Parx. Since the claim, Monaco has picked up wins #2 and #3, both at the $25k claiming level, and both at Parx.
Today, Monaco takes a bit of a jump up in class as he is entered Race 1, a $50,000 starter allowance. And while it’s certainly not a return to graded stakes competition, it’s possible that Monaco might just turn his career around and move out of the claiming ranks for good. He breaks from the rail in Race 1, and that has never suited him well. But he does has every right to be the controlling speed today, and maybe he can earn win #4 the same week that his old Pletcher stablemate and fellow Kentucky Derby aspirant was retired.