Wildcat Red

Wildcat Red

Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

Wildcat Red, With Saez, Works at Gulfstream

Palm Meadows breezes turned in by Pletcher trainees Intense Holiday, We Miss Artie.

Wildcat Red , working a half-mile at Gulfstream Park the morning of April 20, was reunited with jockey Luis Saez for the first time since they teamed for a front-running victory in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II).

Under a motionless Saez, Wildcat Red breezed four furlongs in :48.69 over the fast Gulfstream surface before galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.30. The workout is in preparation for a scheduled start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs May 3.

"He was flying. The good thing was, he got his last eighth in 11-flat," said trainer Jose Garoffalo. "That's all we needed. We don't need anything more than that."

It was the Florida-bred colt's first workout since finishing a close second behind Constitution  in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) March 29.

Saez, who was last aboard the son of D'wildcat Feb. 22 in the Fountain of Youth, became available for the first jewel of the Triple Crown after Cairo Prince  was withdrawn from Derby consideration with an ankle injury. The rising 21-year-old riding star was pleased with Wildcat Red's workout Sunday.

"He's a nice horse. He worked really good," said Saez. "He seems better now than when I rode him."

Saez was Garoffalo's first choice to ride Wildcat Red. When Cairo Prince qualified on points for the Derby field last week, Garoffalo and owner Honors Stable turned to Rafael Bejarano only to make a switch and give the mount back to Saez.

"He's a great rider. He's a smart guy. Remember, he's still such a young guy. He's so mature for his age. All the time, he was my first choice since the Fountain of Youth. But we couldn't get together because he had a commitment to the other horse, Cairo Prince, in the Florida Derby," Garoffalo said. "Now, he's open, so why not put him on the horse?"

Wildcat Red, who has been no worse than second in seven starts since breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Sept. 14, has been ridden by five different riders in his last five races.

"This is what I've been trying to do all along, get a steady rider," Garoffalo said. "I've been trying to get a rider who'd stay on the horse, but we never did...until now. Now, we have Luis and hopefully everything will work out all right."

Garoffalo said Wildcat Red will ship to Kentucky the morning of April 22. Saez is scheduled to be aboard Wildcat Red for his final workout before the Derby April 26 or 27 at Churchill.

"It's very exciting, but at the same time it's a lot of work. You have to take care of every detail," Garoffalo said. "At this level of competition, you have to be very focused and concentrate on everything, all the small details."

Sunday morning at Palm Meadows, trainer Todd Pletcher sent two Kentucky Derby hopefuls to the track. Starlight Racing's Intense Holiday, third in the Holy Bull before winning the Risen Star (gr. II) and finishing second in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, breezed four furlongs in :48.75. John Velazquez has the Derby mount.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's We Miss Artie , who captured the Horsehoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park March 22, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.19. Javier Castellano, who rode Constitution to victory in the Florida Derby, picked up the Derby mount on We Miss Artie.