Todd Pletcher's Derby frustration

Todd Pletcher has been America's most successful trainer over the last decade. He has been the top money-winner in six different years, earning five Eclipse Awards. His powerful stable is replenished each season by a small army of well-bred young prospects, virtually ensuring his continued success.

And yet in the race that every trainer wants to win -- the Kentucky Derby -- Pletcher's performance has been inexplicably poor.

He has scored but one victory -- with Super Saver in 2010 -- out of 29 starters. He will saddle two starters on Saturday, the undefeated Gemologist and his stablemate El Padrino.

Pletcher's best 3-year-olds have often fallen by the wayside before they get to Louisville. Eskendereya was injured in 2010, Uncle Mo was stricken by a disease in 2011 and the highly regarded Algorithms was hurt after winning the Holy Bull Stakes in January. The Pletcher horses who have reached the starting gate have been a surprisingly weak bunch. None has been favored, and in five different years since 2000 a Pletcher trainee has finished last.

Pletcher's career Derby record:

Year Horse Finish
2000 Impeachment 3rd
2000 More Than Ready 4th
2000 Trippi 11th
2000 Graeme Hall 19th
2001 Invisible Ink 2nd
2001 Balto Star 14th
2002 Wild Horses 18th
2004 Limehouse 4th
2004 Pollard's Vision 17th
2005 Flower Alley 9th
2005 Coin Silver 12th
2005 Bandini 19th
2006 Bluegrass Cat 2nd
2006 Keyed Entry 20th
2007 Circular Quay 6th
2007 Any Given Saturday 8th
2007 Sam P. 9th
2007 Scat Daddy 18th
2007 Cowtown Cat 20th
2008 Cowboy Cal 9th
2008 Monba 20th
2009 Join in the Dance 7th
2009 Dunkirk 11th
2009 Advice 13th
2010 Super Saver 1st
2010 Mission Impazible 9th
2010 Devil May Care 10th
2010 Discreetly Mine 13th
2011 Stay Thirsty 12th

By Andrew Beyer - The Washington Post. Published May 2, 2012.