A sharp Cairo Prince continued his preparations for the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) by breezing a bullet five furlongs March 1 at Palm Meadows, the Gulfstream Park satellite training facility in South Florida.
Working in company with 4-year-old multiple stakes winner Long River, Cairo Prince was clocked in :59.95 in his first five-eighths work since romping in the Jan. 25 Miller Lite Holy Bull (gr. II). Four weeks before the March 29 Florida Derby, it was the fastest time of 35 horses going that distance on the day.
"He worked very well," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "It was a little faster than we wanted this far out, but yet we wanted a decent work. It was a great work. He worked excellent and everything went well. We were all very happy, and we'll probably not go in company next week because we're looking for a 1:01 and change. But he worked great."
Cairo Prince has now worked three times since the Holy Bull, his second grade II victory and a performance that made him one of the leading prospects for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 3. He had two similar breezes prior to the Holy Bull, going five furlongs in :59.70 Jan. 5, and :59.90 Jan. 12, both bullets as well.
"He is just doing very well," McLaughlin said. "I did put him in company, and he always works better in company, a little faster. It was really a great day. It was a great work, and we're all thrilled. It was perfect, really, just a little bit faster than maybe I wanted but that's been him. Going into the Holy Bull, too, he went in 59 and three, 59 and four. That's a good sign."
Earlier this week, a majority interest in Cairo Prince was sold to Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley operation by owners Terry Murray, Paul Braverman, Harvey Clarke, and Craig Robertson, who purchased the 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile for $250,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. Cairo Prince will remain with McLaughlin but run in the colors of Godolphin Stable.
"I've been involved with Darley and Sheikh Mohammed for 20 years. He's a great person to have involved with the horse going to the Kentucky Derby," McLaughlin said. "I'm very thankful that the four gentlemen got together with Darley. There was a lot of interest in the horse, a lot of people trying to offer money for him.
"I'm very happy that they ended up with Darley because I love the horse, and I'm hopeful that we're one of the favorites for the Florida Derby and also the Kentucky Derby. It would be fabulous to be standing in the winner's circle with these four owners plus the new partner in Sheikh Mohammed. It's just a perfect case scenario for Team McLaughlin and, hopefully, for Cairo Prince."