03/26/2014 12:50PM

Florida Derby: Wildcat Red draws rail in field of eight

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Tom Keyser
Wildcat Red, winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes, is favorably drawn in post 1 for Saturday's Florida Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Eight 3-year-olds, led by likely favorite Cairo Prince, were entered Wednesday for Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

Cairo Prince, an easy winner of the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes in his only start at 3, will break from post 3 with Luis Saez aboard in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Wildcat Red, the winner of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, drew the rail, much to the delight of his trainer, Jose Garoffalo.

Wildcat Red will be ridden for the first time in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby by John Velazquez.

The remainder of the Florida Derby lineup, in post-position order: Matador (Julien Leparoux), Constitution (Javier Castellano), East Hall (Juan Leyva), General a Rod (Joel Rosario), Allstar (Orlando Bocachica), and Spot (Corey Lanerie).

Garoffalo nodded his head in approval after it was announced that Wildcat Red would break from post 1.

[Florida Derby Day: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

“He’s going to be the speed of the race, so the post position is going to favor him,” Garoffalo said.

Wildcat Red contested the pace with General a Rod before holding on determinedly to defeat that rival by a head in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth. The victory was worth 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, virtually assuring Wildcat Red a spot in the Kentucky Derby field.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Trainer Mike Maker also was pleased with his draw, post 6, for General a Rod in the rubber match with Wildcat Red. General a Rod defeated Wildcat Red by a head in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day.

“I’m very pleased to be able to sit outside Wildcat Red again,” Maker said. “I’ll leave it up to Joel [Rosario], but if Constitution pushes Wildcat Red early, we’ll be able to sit behind him this time.”

Both East Hall and Allstar were late additions to the field. East Hall is coming off an eighth-place finish in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby after having rallied from the rear of the field over a speed-biased track to finish fourth in the Fountain of Youth. Allstar won a first-level allowance going seven furlongs at Calder in his last start.

“He had a major excuse in Tampa,” said East Hall’s trainer, Bill Kaplan. “He got knocked absolutely sideways and suffered a puncture wound in his left front in that, and we weren’t planning on running him in the Florida Derby. But he healed quickly, he worked very nicely on Monday, and looked great on the track this morning, so he’s telling me he’s okay to go, and I want to give him a little shot. There’s a lot of pace in this race, so we’ll try to lay back and come on late, just like we did in the Fountain of Youth.”

Susan Young More than 1 year ago
General A Rod
Tony Fortunelli More than 1 year ago
Watcf for 'Spot"
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
The way Todd is handling Constitution is amazing. First entry...scratch as he drew rail...Came back and galloped in first race. Then instead of usual right into stakes race move...he goes allowance and beat Clements best 3 year old..Tonalist..who had just beaten a quality field at 1 1/8. I give him the nod over Cairo Prince and continue that exacta boxed with Samraat and Social Inclusion next week into Derby.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
This years sleeper...trained by Tony Dutrow.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Good points about Constitution and the Fla Derby will be a good one. Regarding Social Inclusion. He will get an all in amount of schooling in one event of the Wood. A plane ride, into cooler weather, a different surface and likely a larger field. If he handles all that and also handles that field as I expect he will, he'll come out as one of the favorites for the Derby. In his second start he broke a track record, and after would barely blow out a candle and the next day was bouncing in his stall. No inbreeding through his fifth cross and the only top contender right now to have any solid points. They also say he shows intelligence. They are throwing money at this owner to make a deal. He will sell, but wants to retain part ownership and has said that he will not make a deal until this next race. I love that he is willing to make that gamble and right or wrong, obviously they have tremendous confidence and believe they might have a monster on their hands and that his value and negotiating position will be increased after the Wood. Gee do ya think this might be my Derby horse? It's a bit sad that I think it's good that a Derby contender run somewhere else rather than at Gulfstream, but they have hepped that track up so much I think it's a good thing to go elsewhere. There might be a lot of syllables in your exacta, Constitution and Social Inclusion.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I believe SI is the real deal. Just needs to rate a bit.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
I'm kinda partial to Samraat right now, he runs on his own courage and really hasn't been asked to really belly down and give his all. Tom, I think I read that you are at Palm Meadows? Have you seen Samraat and any thoughts on him? Thanks much..
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
You didn't ask me, but I'll give my opinion as I do find him interesting. In both of his last races he is rating nicely and moves to the leaders easily, once he takes the lead in the lane he tends to bear in a bit and lay in on the inside horse. At the wire he is not fully extending himself. Appears to be good or bad news. Either he is tired, or stops trying and does just enough to win. Very well might be the latter as he does look like much the best even with the small win margins. But that can also be a bad news habit. I assume he's going in the Wood, so we'll find out when he's up against Social Inclusion and should make it a very good race.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Thanks Horse Cents, I am very impressed with his ability thus far. Oh, BTW, your post up a notch or so reminded me of one of my fave angles, you were talking about SI getting acclimated. I love it when GP "shippers" (closers) go back to a track to their liking or even a "fairer" track, especially closers, who run evenly or even throw a clunker not making up any ground on that tight speedy track, the 5th at Aqu was a great example yesterday. Always on the lookout for a deserving horse that like's to close, and I mean 10-12 lengths, coming from GP.. Thanks for your take on Samraat, best to you...
Hail No More than 1 year ago
PS, Samraat doesn't look anything like a tired horse in my eyes, he doe's lay in a bit, but his ears are up, he's looking all around and he is a bit of a loaf, if he get's serious, he could be a good one.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Samraat is NOT a tired horse. Excuse the emphasis Horse Cents. Ive been very close to him daily. Disclosing more than that statement is not for me to say other than his assistant trainer Melissa and company take great deal of care keeping him happy and healthy. Rick is on hand for his training sessions and the whole team does a great job. They're very positive minded horseman top to bottom about him. He may be a bit spouled as well.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Spoiled
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Thanks Tom & Horse Cents!
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Wildcat Red, Spot Exacta.LoL.
Paul F More than 1 year ago
give me a live horse who hasn't won in the last 60 days prior to derby....
Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
Constitution going away!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Todd a $14 horse come to Pappa. Lock DD with Admiral Kitten, Pic-3 w/2,5,9, Pic-4 w/ 4,6,8. I start building my Saratoga $$$$$ now!!!!!
RICKY More than 1 year ago
nice. I like Constitution to in this one, that speed inside with wildcat kinda scares me i hope they dont run each other off the track.
Guy John More than 1 year ago
We all know that Gultstream is going to have this track lightning fast so we can throw out any closer. I would assume that the #1 horse's breeding will take over. I think this race is General A Rod's to lose. He should win with his tactical speed over CP. CP's goal in this race isn't to win anyhow just enough to finish in the money. I'd do GAR, CP, All.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
It will not happen but, I hope Cairo Prince runs 5th and does not have enough points for the derby.I love the points system. Keeps trainers from just sitting on there horses 2yo forn and winning high purse grade 3s and sprints as a 3yo. The connectiond gambled not to run in Fountain of Youth or any other 50 point races, it would be amusing if the horse ran a bad one.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Silly comment . With his easy win in the holy bull he has already proven he is one of the top 20 three year olds in training. The 3rd place runner he beat went on to win the risen star intense holiday who beat the rebel stakes winner in there. Horse schools be undefeated. If you d rather see a bunch of midnight hawks who have zero shot in Kentucky that is what I find amusing . Connections sharp to skip foy and bring him back here . It would be a shame for him go stumble or toss rider or whatever and miss Derby .
Mark More than 1 year ago
Schools= should
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
What were the minimum points required to get in the gate last year and how many does Cairo Prince currently have?
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
How far can you go ? How far can you go ?, How far can you go ?
Dave More than 1 year ago
Wildcat Red is going to be pushed. The race appears to set up perfectly for Cairo Prince. Matador looks interesting as a long odds proposition, though I hate backing closers at GP. Blinkers added, Leparoux up, maybe he can stay a bit closer and make a nice run at a fast pace? Tampa Bay Derby was kind of a weird race, wasn't a day for closers.
Terri Zeitz More than 1 year ago
And Wildcat Red has the best jockey in the race to push him: Johnny V. I think that Orb and Union Rags would have won more than one Triple Crown race if he had been their jockey for the whole trip. It's going to be an interesting Triple Crown, if Johnny V rides for other trainers than Todd Pletcher. I think that when so many horses are evenly matched up it's the jockey that makes the difference. However, watch out for California Chrome in the Triple Crown series; he might provide a big surprise. And don't forget about Nick Zito in the Florida Derby; he's won the race 3 times.