Cairo Prince Leads Florida Derby Worktab
Cairo Prince, the likely favorite for the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) March 29, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 at Palm Meadows training center March 15.
Off since his authoritative victory in the Miller Lite Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 25, the 3-year-old went in company with elder stablemate Elnaawi and forged ahead in the final stages of the exercise.
"He worked very well," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "We didn't want another :59 and change (breeze) from him. We put him in different company this time and he went a minute and four fifths. He kind of eased up the last part, the rider did, but we're very happy with (Cairo Prince). That's what we wanted. We wanted 1:01, so that's perfect."
Purchased for $250,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, Cairo Prince started his career for the partnership of Namcook Stables, Paul Braverman, Harvey Clarke, and Craig Robertson III. Earlier this month, it was announced that a majority interest in the son of Pioneerof the Nile had been sold to Darley for an undisclosed sum. The sophomore will carry Godolphin's blue colors in the flagship Gulfstream event.
McLaughlin had originally intended to start Cairo Prince in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) Feb. 22, but opted to train up to 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby instead. The colt has shown tactical speed in each of his four starts to date, and McLaughlin expects that pattern to continue in two weeks' time.
"It's a little bit of a concern, because in the Fountain of Youth the two horses went gate to wire together," McLaughlin added. "But (the track) seems to be pretty fair lately and we don't come from last, although with all that speed in there we might be shuffled back. It's okay. He's doing great and we're happy. We'll work back next week and be ready for the Florida Derby."
Also at Palm Meadows, WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing's Constitution, a 2-for-2 allowance-winning son of Tapit who is a likely Florida Derby contender, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.50 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
On the worktab over at Gulfstream Park were Fountain of Youth winner Wildcat Red and runner-up General a Rod.
Wildcat Red, who won the Hutcheson (gr. III) sprinting, then handled the stretch to 1 1/16 miles in the Fountain of Youth, returned to the tab with a half-mile breeze on the main track. Trained by Jose Garoffalo for Honors Stable Corp., he went three furlongs in :34.61 and four furlongs in :47.98 under regular exercise rider Paco Mendoza. It was his first move since winning the Feb. 22 Fountain of Youth over General a Rod by a head.
"The horse went very good. I think the track was a little bit fast, but he did it as easy as he usually does," said Garoffalo as he looks ahead to the Florida Derby. "I was expecting maybe :48 or so, but it was good. He is getting fitter and now with every race is getting better. The plan is on. We're going to breeze him one more time next week and then we'll be ready, hopefully."
A son of grade I-winning sprinter D'wildcat , Wildcat Red would be making his seventh start in the Florida Derby, all at Gulfstream. He was second by a head to General a Rod in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Derby Jan. 1 before turning the tables in the Fountain of Youth just three weeks after romping in the seven-furlong Hutcheson.
Wildcat Red last worked on Feb. 14, going four furlongs in :49.02 before winning the Fountain of Youth.
"He gallops one time around, and then he finishes. The second time around is the breeze," Garoffalo said. "When I'm going to run long and run a distance, I always do that. My breezes are not for speed. He's got natural speed, so what he needs is the stamina. That kind of horse, I don't breeze from the pole because they get too anxious. I relax the horse during the gallop and then let him go the last three-eighths or quarter of a mile. He did everything as we expect. We're still going step-by-step, day-by day, but everything is good so far."
Looking to get a strong work into General a Rod prior to the Florida Derby, trainer Mike Maker breezed the Gulfstream Park Derby winner five furlongs over the main track.
Regular exercise rider Joel Barrientos was up for the work in :59.50. On March 8, General a Rod went four furlongs in :51.26.
"He worked great," Maker said. "He gave us exactly what we were looking for. He's an easy horse. He can train himself. If you want to go fast, that's fine; if you want to go slow, that's fine, too. We picked it up a little today, and it was no problem at all."
Maker plans to breeze General a Rod again March 22. Owned by J. Armando Rodriguez, the Roman Ruler colt was second in an optional claiming allowance Nov. 30 before beating Wildcat Red in the Gulfstream Park Derby and narrowly losing their rematch in the Fountain of Youth.
"He's doing great," Maker said. "We're just hoping to keep him the same."
Medal Count, also being considered for the Florida Derby, went five-eighths in :59.36 for trainer Dale Romans at Gulfstream Saturday. Jockey Corey Lanerie was aboard.
Owned by Spendthrift Farm, Medal Count was fifth in the Fountain of Youth after winning a 7 1/2-furlong optional claiming allowance on the turf at Gulfstream Jan. 12 to open his 3-year-old season.
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