Luis Saez

Luis Saez

Coady Photography

Saez to Ride Wildcat Red in Fountain of Youth

Hutcheson winner posts final breeze at Gulfstream Park in advance of Feb. 22 race.

Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III) winner Wildcat Red  will have a new rider in Luis Saez for his next scheduled start in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 22.

Following Wildcat Red's half-mile breeze Feb. 14, trainer Jose Garoffalo said has lined up the youthful Saez to ride the son of D'wildcat.

"I think Luis Saez is the right guy to put on," Garoffalo said. "We get along very well and he's won a lot of races for me, here and at Calder, so let's do it. Let's run."

Wildcat Red was an impressive 4 3/4-length winner of the $200,000 Hutcheson Feb. 1 under Javier Castellano. However, the 2013 Eclipse Award winner and two-time defending meet champion is committed to ride Gulfstream Park Derby winner General a Rod  in the Fountain of Youth.

Saez, 21, is second in the current meet standings with 48 wins through Feb. 13, one ahead of Paco Lopez and 27 behind Castellano. Among his winners at the meet are Cairo Prince  in the Miller Lite Holy Bull (gr. II) Jan. 25, Falling Sky in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (gr. III) Feb. 8, and Lea  in the Hal's Hope (gr. III) Jan. 11.

"He can compete with all the big guys," Garoffalo said. "He's been there before. I have a lot of confidence in him. He's young, but he's tough. He knows what to do."

Honors Stable's Wildcat Red was clocked in :49.02 in his final tuneup for the Fountain of Youth over Gulfstream's main track under regular exercise rider Paco Mendoza.

"He went four furlongs in :49 and change very easily and handled the workout very good, so we're ready for the race. I'm very happy with him," Garoffalo said. "Actually, I would say he was better than before the Hutcheson. He has improved a lot since the last race. Everything looks like he's going to be ready for the Fountain of Youth."

Wildcat Red began the session with a runner-up finish in the Gulfstream Park Derby, beaten by a head by General a Rod. As a 2-year-old he had two wins and a second in three starts. All five of his races to date have come at Gulfstream, where he has accumulated earnings of $235,850.

The bay colt was bred in Florida by Moreau Bloodstock International and Winter Racing Enterprise out of the Miner's Mark mare Racene.

From here, Garoffalo said he will give Wildcat Red routine gallops leading up to the FOY.

"He's in good shape. He doesn't need to do too much," he said. "He's very athletic. I try not to stress him too much because he doesn't need much. With this workout, he'll be ready."