Materiality, Upstart Both Well on Sunday

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3/29/2015
1:52 pm EDT

Materiality and Upstart exited their one-two finish in the Florida Derby in good order, according to their trainers.

Materiality remained at Gulfstream Park overnight following his 1 1/2-length victory. He was set to return to Todd Pletcher’s winter training base at Palm Beach Downs on Sunday morning.

“He pulled up well and is just coming back from Gulfstream now,” Pletcher said. “It was a very determined effort. He showed his tenacity. It was a long drive from a half-mile out over a very demanding surface and against a very good horse. I thought it was very impressive for him to be able to do that in his third start.”

In a stable full of Triple Crown contenders, including Carpe Diem, Far From Over and Itsaknockout, Materiality wasn’t originally seen as a contender for the spring classics, or even the prep races, but that was before he won at nine furlongs in his second start, the Islamorada Handicap.

“It’s pretty rare that you see a horse go from a six-furlong maiden race to a 1 1/8-mile situation,” Pletcher said. “It’s not something that we’d planned on months ago. It just sort of gelled at the right time. Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting the Islamorada to even be an option. When it came out in the condition book and he breezed well, we decided to go ahead and try it. I was very concerned about the 1 1/8-mile distance. When he handled that so well, it changed everything, really. It basically put him in a position to come back in the Florida Derby, so it just sort of came together at the right time.”

Materiality’s Florida Derby triumph awarded him 100 points toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby.

“I think he’s certainly earned his way,” Pletcher said. “Five weeks should be beneficial since we ran back in 22 days, but it’s also a long time, so hopefully he continues to do well.”

Itsaknockout, who finished fourth in the Florida Derby, was also reported to be doing fine, although a bit fatigued, following his run.

“He seemed a little tired afterwards,” Pletcher said. “Like I said, the track was very, very tiring and demanding. I don’t think he really relished it. He seemed to cool out fine, although he was a little tired, so we’ll just kind of regroup and see how he is over the next few days.”

As for Upstart, “He’s a little tired, but otherwise he’s OK,” trainer Rick Violette Jr. said on Sunday. "The horses ran lights out and the jockeys did their jobs. They put on a terrific show.”

Violette reiterated his plans between now and May 2.

“If all things stay well, we’ll stay here and train and head up to Kentucky on Derby week,” the trainer said.

Edited Gulfstream Park release with additional content by Dick Downey
@DowneyProfile