03/05/2012 6:29PM

Gulfstream: Alpha looks headed to Florida Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Alpha, with Ramon Dominguez riding, wins the Withers.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said that in light of Hansen’s easy victory in Saturday’s Gotham, he is now more inclined to bring his top Derby contender, Alpha, back in the Grade 1 Florida Derby here at Gulfstream Park on March 31 rather than await the Wood the following weekend in New York. Alpha won both the Count Fleet and Grade 3 Withers earlier this winter at Aqueduct. McLaughlin brought him back to Palm Meadows to continue training following the Withers.

“Considering the way Union Rags and Hansen won their last starts, we won’t be favored in either race,” said McLaughlin. “But at the moment I’m leaning more towards staying down here now for the Florida Derby. I love the timing, the field size should be small and we get to keep Ramon.”

Ramon Dominguez is the regular rider for both Alpha and Hansen.