Friday, March 11, 2011
Barry Irwin, co-founder and chief executive officer of Team Valor International, has raced his fair share of star Thoroughbreds, from champions Irridescence (SAf) and Ipi Tombe (Zim) to 1989 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Prized to 1997 Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Captain Bodgit. But Team Valor has yet to nail down a European classic win.
That could change this year with 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) winner Pluck, who is targeting either the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Fr-G1) (French Two Thousand Guineas) on May 15 at Longchamp or the Abu Dhabi Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-G1) on May 21 at the Curragh. The
More Than Ready colt will make his season debut on Saturday in a one-mile allowance race on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs for new trainer Graham Motion and take his first step on the classic path. [He was cross-entered in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) the same day at Gulfstream Park.] Last year, he won the Summer Stakes Presented by TVG (Can-G3) at Woodbine, but Irwin said he did not really believe he had superstar potential until the colt crossed the finish line first in November at Churchill Downs in the Breeders' Cup.