01/29/2012 5:36PM

Gulfstream: El Padrino looks like good Kentucky Derby prospect winning two-turn allowance

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Barbara D. Livingston
El Padrino joins trainer Todd Pletcher's list of Triple Crown candidates by winning a two-turn allowance Sunday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -   Add another horse, El Padrino, to trainer Todd Pletcher’s steadily growing list of Kentucky Derby prospects.

El Padrino may have actually moved to the top of that list following his extremely impressive two-length victory over Take Charge Indy on a good and sealed racetrack Sunday at Gulfstream Park. The entry-level allowance race was the first start for El Padrino since his third- place finish in the Grade 2 Remsen two months earlier.

El Padrino, who was ridden to victory by Javier Castellano, completed 1 1/16  miles  in 1:42.68. His final time was the fastest at the distance during the meet and more than two seconds faster than Revron’s final clocking winning the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day. 

“He’s a nice colt,” Pletcher said in the winner’s circle after the race. “We thought a lot of him right from the start. I told Javier to make sure he had his attention into the first turn and that it may take him some time for him to put in his run.”

El Padrino raced within easy striking of the early leaders while saving ground through the opening six furlongs, waited to launch his bid, as Pletcher predicted, on the final bend before wearing down Take Charge Indy in late stretch to win going away. Take Charge Indy, making his first start since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, drew out to a commanding lead entering the stretch but proved no match for the winner while finishing more than 13 lengths clear of the others in what amounted to a two-horse race.

“He broke his maiden over a sloppy track during a snowstorm at Aqueduct so we figured he’d handle it fine although I’d have preferred to have had a dry track today,” said Pletcher. “We could keep him here for the Fountain of Youth or take him to Tampa. It depends on how we decide to keep our 3-year-olds separated this winter. We have a lot of options.”