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Cairo Prince
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Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

Cairo Prince Returns to Work at Palm Meadows

Pioneerof the Nile colt breezes four furlongs in first drill since Holy Bull victory.

Early Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) favorite Cairo Prince  breezed a half mile in :48.75 the morning of Feb. 15 at the Palm Meadows training facility.

The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile , a dominating 5 3/4-length victor in the Miller Lite Holy Bull (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 25, completed the workout under a tight hold by motionless exercise rider Rob Massey. It was his first timed drill since winning the Holy Bull.

"It really went well; it went perfect. We were looking for :49 or :50 , and we got :48-and-3. He looked great doing it," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "We'll most likely work him every Saturday from now on, although we may take one Saturday off, because there are a lot of Saturdays between now and March 29 (the day of the Florida Derby)."

McLaughlin has opted to bypass the $400,000 Besilu Stable's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 22 at Gulfstream as Cairo Prince prepares for this spring's main goal, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 3. In the direct aftermath of Cairo Prince's sensational victory in the Holy Bull, McLaughlin said keeping his exciting prospect "happy and healthy" was is main objective.

"The Holy Bull was quite an impressive race by all figures. These horses aren't machines. You can't run them every four weeks, even if you want to," McLaughlin said. "We just thought we'd wait; the best chance to get ready for the Florida Derby is wait."

McLaughlin has enjoyed considerable stakes success with horses coming off long layoffs, most notably with Invasor, who clinched the 2006 Horse of the Year title with a Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) victory three months after winning the Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I).

"I think a lot of it depends on the horse. When we gave Invasor extra time, it was because he was a special horse. Well, this is a special horse, too," McLaughlin said. "There are no secrets. It's all about the horse."

Owned by Namcook Stables, Paul Braverman, Harvey Clarke, and Craig Robertson III, Cairo Prince has won three of four lifetime starts. The gray/roan colt launched his career with a maiden win at Belmont Park and a victory in the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack before suffering his only loss in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) when he lost by a nose to Honor Code .

Jockey Luis Saez, whom McLaughlin said misjudged the slow pace in the Remsen, made amends with a perfect journey in the Holy Bull.

McLaughlin also sent recent allowance winner Penwith to the track at Palm Meadows Saturday for a half mile work in :49 in preparation for a scheduled start in the Feb. 22 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II). The 3-year-old daughter of Bernardini  has won two of four starts and finished a close second in the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Nov. 30.

"She ran very well that day. She came back and won on Jan. 2 and she's been working well for the race, and we're excited about it," said McLaughlin.