12/17/2012 5:34PM

Gulfstream Park: El Padrino begins comeback in Wednesday feature

Barbara D. Livingston
El Padrino makes his first start since finishing far back in the Kentucky Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – El Padrino’s 3-year-old season started on a high note at Gulfstream Park, and trainer Todd Pletcher is hopeful it will end the same way when he brings his Grade 2 winner back from a 7 1/2-month hiatus against older horses in Wednesday’s $60,500 main event, to be decided under optional claiming conditions out of the one-mile chute.

El Padrino began his 3-year-old campaign by earning a 100 Beyer Speed Figure defeating optional claiming company here Jan. 29, then moved to the upper echelon of his division by registering a game nose decision over Mark Valeski in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds. El Padrino finished fourth as the second choice behind Union Rags in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and 20 lengths behind I’ll Have Another following an eventful trip in the Kentucky Derby. He then went to the sidelines for a prolonged vacation.

“After the Derby, he just needed some time to regroup, and we decided if we were going to focus on a 4-year-old campaign, we needed to give him a meaningful break,” Pletcher said. “And if we are possibly looking to target a race like the Donn this winter, we needed to get a race under his belt now to see where he is. So here we are.”

El Padrino has trained forwardly for his return, working six times since shipping down to the Palm Meadows training center, including a bullet five-eighths in 1:00.60 on Dec. 13.

“The horse is training very well,” Pletcher said. “It’s a long layoff, but I think we have him where we want him for this type of race. I expect him to run well, although on the other hand I don’t think he’s ready for peak performance. Hopefully, his class shows up.”

El Padrino is one of three 3-year-olds among the six horses entered for Wednesday’s headliner, along with Adirondack King and Bluedacious.

Adirondack King remains winless after nine starts at 3, but he did finish third last winter in the Grade 3 Southwest and most recently was fourth in Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Discovery Handicap.

Bluedacious will make his first start since being transferred to trainer Henry Collazo’s barn shortly after his second-place finish under optional claiming conditions earlier this fall at Keeneland.

Citrus Kid has not started since finishing second in Parx Racing’s grassy President’s Cup in September 2011 and has not raced on dirt since finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds in January 2010. Citrus Kid was entered and scratched from Sunday’s Harlan’s Holiday.

Decisive Moment has kept a steady diet of stakes company this year, but has yet to hit the board in six starts. Trainer Juan Arias will put blinkers back on Decisive Moment, who has not raced in shades since his 2-year-old campaign. Decisive Moment won three stakes as a 3-year-old last season, including the Delta Mile at Delta Downs.

redboy More than 1 year ago
Thats a huge name for a horse. im not really sure what hes The Godfather of? Horses cant read or write so you cant blame him! Overated since this years derby preps,he'll eek out a place /show in a graded stakes then be retired as most 3/4year olds are nowadays!
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
How can you not love a sport where you can get 6-1 (value) when the favorite is bet down to 1/5? Like the horse was would up to win after that kind of layoff. The winner was entered a few times lately, in much better races. Soes the takeout really matter at $15.40? Wow
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Wow another anouncement from another guy who had the winner.....Yesterday.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pletcher hates his horses
jay More than 1 year ago
One of the most overrated horses of the last decade.
Todd Brown More than 1 year ago
I bet on EP in the Derby......hope he gets back to his winning ways.
laura ban More than 1 year ago
Maybe the meaningful break did it for him. Hope he has a great four year old season.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Good luck, El Padrino, on your comeback trail.
Todd Brown More than 1 year ago
Joy your pic is very small but you look kinda hot from what I can tell lol.....just had to put that out there lol.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Almost as shocking as a pletcher hater.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pletcher cooked this horse what a surprise!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pletcher raced him like once a month if that. He didn't cook El Padrino. He ran 5 weeks before the Derby in the Florida Derby and his prep before that was 5 weeks before the Florida Derby in the Risen Star. He got hurt in the Derby and they gave him time off. Don't blame Pletcher for this one.
Lauren O'Neill More than 1 year ago
How do you know he got hurt?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Read between the lines. He was lightly raced going into Derby. Then a layoff. You freshen a horse if they get tired..but not seven months when lightly raced. Unless he went mental after the Derby. Pletcher had nobody for 3 year holds after the Derby. They all got hurt. But trainers try to cover up soundness issues for breeding purposes. Nobody wants to spend a lot on an injury prone stallion.
Artie More than 1 year ago
i guess if you call yourself "Anonymous" , you can say anything