Trainer Jose Garoffalo spent May 6 at Gulfstream Park
waiting for Wildcat Red
to arrive home for a well-earned break from racing after his troubled and bloody 18th-place finish in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
"We put him on a van at Churchill (Downs) yesterday, and he was looking good and seemed happy," Garoffalo said. "I flew back last night. He will get back here sometime late this afternoon."
Wildcat Red, owned by Honors Stable Corp., went to the Kentucky Derby after winning the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and finishing second in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I)--both at Gulfstream.
Garoffalo said he will give the son of D'wildcat "at least a couple of weeks" off from training as he heals from a one-inch cut near his right front cannon bone suffered during the Kentucky Derby. Wildcat Red also came out of the race with bruises on both left legs that Garoffalo called "minor".
"I'm not sure how it happened, but he got banged around twice early in the race," he said.
Wildcat Red bobbled at the start underLuis Saez, was soon bumped on the outside by Dance With Fate
and then squeezed by several horses. He rushed up to sixth place entering the first turn, but he fell back to 10th by the time the field was entering the final turn and was losing ground.
"We are not going to rush the horse," Garoffalo said, adding that Wildcat Red will stay at Gulfstream during his break and then for his training.
He will then run Wildcat Red mostly in stakes races at distances of 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles, in and outside of Florida.
That will continue a year in which Wildcat Red has shown that he has stamina on his dam's side as well as a widely noted sprinter's pedigree on his sire's side.
Wildcat Red is out of the Miner's Mark mare Racene. Garoffalo bought the colt for Honors Stable for $30,000 from Classic Bloodstock at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. June 2013 sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Honors Stable is owned by husband and wife Salvatore Delfino and Josie Martino Delfino, who have homes in Venezuela and in the Miami area.
The Kentucky Derby was Wildcat Red's first race away from the hard and speed-favoring Gulfstream surface.
"It (Churchill) was new, but he seemed okay with it, Garoffalo said.
He said that in retrospect the 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 17 with the field limited to 14 starters "might have been a better race for us" than the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. .
"But we got into the Derby and we wanted to go," he said of the first Triple Crown race for himself and the Delfinos.
"It was a great experience for all of us," said Garoffalo, who was a trainer in his native Venezuela before moving permanently to South Florida in 1999.
"I made new friends who can help my career," he said. "They (Delfinos) had a great time even though the race was a disappointment. I hope I will be able to go back to the Derby with them with another horse."