02/01/2014 7:33PM

Gulfstream Park: Wildcat Red leaves no doubt in Hutcheson

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Barbara D. Livingston
Wildcat Red makes quick work of his foes in the Grade 3 Hutcheson on Saturday, winning by 4 3/4 lengths under Javier Castellano.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Jose Garoffalo was forced to skip the Holy Bull Stakes last week with his star 3-year-old Wildcat Red. So he went to Plan B, Saturday’s $200,000 Hutcheson Stakes, and was rewarded when Wildcat Red drew off to a convincing 4 3/4-length victory over C. Zee in the Grade 3 dash for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.

With Javier Castellano aboard for the first time, Wildcat Red was as impressive winning the seven-furlong Hutcheson as Cairo Prince was dominating the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull here one week earlier. Stalking the pace of Gambler’s Ghost, who cut out realistic splits of 22.30 and 44.87 over the fast track, Wildcat Red edged to command entering the stretch, then steadily pulled clear leaving the issue no longer in doubt through the final furlong.

C. Zee, runner-up in the Spectacular Bid in his previous start, raced forwardly and outlasted Pablo del Monte by a half-length to finish second.

Wildcat Red, a son of D’wildcat, is owned by Honors Stable Corp. He completed the distance in 1:22.21 over a track upgraded from good to fast earlier in the day and paid $6 as the favorite in a field of nine.

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

Asked why he passed the Holy Bull with Wildcat Red, Garoffalo said: “He had a little infection in the throat, some mucus in the upper wind pipes. It wasn’t a big deal, really. So we picked this race. We thought the horse fit pretty good in this spot, and he proved he was the best horse, as we expected. He did the job and I think he showed he’s more mature, more relaxed, and can go longer.”

[Clocker Reports: Get Mike Welsch’s clocker reports from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows]

Garoffalo said if all goes well, Wildcat Red would come back in three weeks in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth here.

“That’s the next step, hopefully,” said Garoffalo. “If everything goes in a good way we’ll be there, especially after just reading that Cairo Prince is not going in that race.”