Soldat will make his first start since finishing 11th in last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he goes to post in a turf allowance race at Gulfstream Park March 4.
Last year, Soldat won the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) over the Gulfstream main track. But if trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has his way this year the War Front colt will never see action on dirt again.
“We’re going to go on the turf Sunday and stay on the turf with him,” McLaughlin said. “We think he’s better on turf.”
Soldat followed up his Fountain of Youth triumph with a fifth-place finish in the Florida Derby (gr. I) before his failed Kentucky Derby bid. He was then sidelined for the remainder of the year.
As a 2-year-old, Soldat won the With Anticipation (gr. IIIT) on the Saratoga turf and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
“He’s training very well,” McLaughlin said. “He’s a nice horse and we just hope he runs well in his first start back."
Soldat, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano for the first time, has been installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite in a field of eight entered in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.