(Trainer Todd Pletcher conditions Colonel Liam / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
In the days leading up to the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Classic Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, trainer Todd Pletcher remarked that his grade 1-winning charge Colonel Liam had been training so well on the dirt of late that he may entertain giving the gray colt another try on the main track at some point.
Considering the way the son of Liam’s Map keeps performing on the turf, however, the handicap ranks shouldn’t have to fret about him interloping anytime soon.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. — Colonel Liam (1st):
“My job is not easy, but he makes it look easy,” said jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was aboard Colonel Liam. “He was ready, he was 100 percent. He’s just so smart and he has a lot of class. You don’t see too many like that. I’m just happy I’m on him and hopefully he stays healthy.”
James Graham — Two Emmys (2nd):
“He’s a cool little horse. I wasn’t expecting to be on the lead,” Graham said. “I ended up being placed there but I got him to relax, he was happy and comfortable. I tried to get away around the turn, I gave him a breather. I tried to steal a length or two on them but…the winner was the best horse.”
Todd Pletcher — Colonel Liam (1st):
“When Irad and I talked about it, we weren’t sure how much pace there was going to be, but the great thing about a horse like this is he is so versatile that if they go fast early, he can settle back and if they go slow, he can put himself in a good stalking position,” Pletcher said when reached by phone after the race. “He was on the bridle; he hadn’t run in a little while so he was maybe a touch fresh. He kind of pulled his way up there, but I think that was more a product of the slower second quarter. He always looked like he was in a good position. The horse who was second, he kicked on a bit and (Colonel Liam) had to work to get past him but I like the way he finished up and they looked like they were well clear of the third horse.”
“The way he galloped out around the turn gives us encouragement that he’ll handle longer distances,” Pletcher said. “The way he continues to go out after the wire, I think that next start schedule (the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 1) is going to be 1 1/8 miles and then we can look at the Manhattan after that at 1 ¼ miles. If he were to handle that, I think that puts everything else in play up to 1 ½ miles. He’s got such a lovely disposition; a great mind and he’s willing to relax and settle. It gives us a lot of opportunities.”