Cairo Prince
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Cairo Prince
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Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

Cairo Prince Doing Super After Holy Bull Romp

Colt gives trainer Kiaran Mclaughlin all the right signs after season-opening win.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin could not have been happier with how Cairo Prince  was doing the morning after his 5 3/4-length romp in the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park.

Back at Palm Meadows Training Center the morning of Jan. 26, Cairo Prince gave McLaughlin every indication he took the most lopsided Holy Bull victory in 19 years in stride.

"Cairo came out of the race great. He ate up well and is happy, sound and healthy this morning, so we're very pleased with that," McLaughlin said. "It's exactly what I wanted to see. That's the key, because if they back out of the tub it's the first indication it was a tough race on him, but he ate up everything and he's bright and happy. He couldn't have come out of the race better. He is perfect this morning, so that's all we can ask for."

The Holy Bull was the first race for that the Pioneerof the Nile  colt since finishing a nose behind Honor Code  in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack Nov. 30. Cairo Prince raced three wide in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull from post 7 and rolled up on the early leaders at the three-eighths pole before taking command nearing the stretch. He drew away for the biggest margin of victory since Suave Prospect won the race by eight lengths in 1995.

It was the second graded stakes win for Cairo Prince following the Nashua (gr. II) Nov. 3, and stamped him as an early leading contender on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). McLaughlin has tried the Derby four times before, finishing second with Holy Bull winner Closing Argument in 2005 and fourth in 2006 with Jazil, who would go on to win the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

A native of Lexington, Ky., McLaughlin was also 14th in the 2006 Derby with Flashy Bull, and 11th with Soldat  in 2011.

"There's no question he's the best one," McLaughlin said of Cairo Prince, who is owned by Harvey Clarke, Craig Robertson, Paul Braverman, and Namcook Stable. "We haven't been in this position before, ever. The most important thing is he doesn't have to improve. He doesn't have to do anything but stay the way he is, and that's all we hope for is for him to stay healthy and happy."

McLaughlin said the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) Feb. 22 is the next logical spot to consider for Cairo Prince, followed by the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) March 29.

"The next question is where do we go from here, and I don't have an answer today," McLaughlin said. "I don't have to have an answer today. We'll see how he starts training. Obviously, the Fountain of Youth is next here in the series so that's what we're going to look at.

"This horse, he even makes me say things that I don't normally say because I like to let the horse do the talking on the track. He's a really, really nice horse, the kind everybody gets up early every day to come out and train. He makes our job easy."