(Danehill Dancer [IRE] x Plante Rare [IRE], by Giant’s Causeway)
- Trainer: Marco Botti
- Jockey: Ryan Moore
- Owned by: Mohammed Hamad J Al Thani
- Career Record: 23:7-6-2
- Earnings: £2,258,663 (France, UK, Dubai)
- 2013 Record: 5:2-1-1
- 2013 accomplishments: Twice G1-placed (3rd Dubai World Cup, 2nd Prix d’Ispahan)
- Santa Anita record: 0:0-0-0
- TrueNicks rating: A Variant 3.83
- Dosage Index: 1.89
- Highest Equibase Speed Figure of 2013: N/A
- Lost last prep (12th Qatar Prix Dollar (II), by 5+ lengths)
- Aims to be the oldest horse to win the Classic at age 6
Summary: One of my favorites the past couple of years in Dubai and one of my preferred Euros (besides Cirrus des Aigles), Planteur has long been a staple on Europe’s poly and turf courses, and at the age of 6 is apparently taking a big shot trying dirt in America’s biggest race. On and off again form-wise, Planteur has raced with the best of the lot and hopes to transfer that form to the soil.
Prep Schedule: Planteur kicked off the year with a win in the Blue Square Bet Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield in a weight-for-age stake run on polytrack, going wire-to-wire to win by a half-length. He then shipped to Dubai for another run at the World Cup (I) on Tapeta, racing well to finish 3rd well behind winner Animal Kingdom. From there, he shipped to France’s Longchamps course for the Prix D’Isphan (I) on grass, making a mild rally from just off the pacesetter to miss the win by a short head to Maxios. From there, he made a start at Royal Windsor’s turf course in the Winter Hill Stakes (III), which he won easily after being eager to go very early and taking off to win by 1. Unfortunately, his next start in the Prix Dollar (I) was fruitless; he was sent to his usual leading spot but could not hang on and finished 12th.
Physique: Lean, long-legged, and long-bodied, Planteur has a big engine attached to his physique, and just by watching his races he has a very efficient sweeping stride characteristic of a nice turf horse. His body suggests he could have a nice kick in the end, but questions arise as to how well he could possibly do squandering in the dirt.
Pedigree: Sired by one of the premier Euro stallions in Danehill Dancer, Planteur’s family features a mix of American and European breeding with leading turf influencer Danzig and multiple references to Native Dancer and Natalma. Damsire Giant’s Causeway was one of the best Euros to transfer his grass form to dirt, with two traces to top turf sire Roberto on the bottom.
Running Style: Pacesetter or just off the pace
Pros: He’ll be at great odds and his on-again, off-again form cycle places him in an “on position” right now to do well in this race. He’s been fairly consistent this year with just one off-the-board start, and his running style should adhere well to the speed bias of Santa Anita’s dirt.
Cons: Will Planteur do dirt? It’s tough figuring out whether he will or not as a horse who has done well on grass, poly, and Dubai’s nefarious Tapeta. Can he go one more and run away with the race, which is already full of speed?
Final Word: He had a lot of doubters heading into the Dubai World Cup, including Timeform which ranked him far below other runners. I for one had other ideas at the time about Planteur, and he wound up running third for the second straight year. He is TOUGH… now to answer whether or not he’ll do dirt. I’ll jump on board if I hear his workouts at the track are incredible, but other than that, he remains a fitting longshot.