04/19/2014 3:38PM

Luis Saez to ride Wildcat Red in Kentucky Derby


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Jose Garofallo announced Saturday that Luis Saez will be aboard Wildcat Red in the Kentucky Derby, not Rafael Bejarano, who’d been named to ride the colt earlier this week.

Saez was slated to ride Cairo Prince in the Kentucky Derby but became available after Cairo Prince was withdrawn from consideration for the race Saturday due to an ankle injury. Saez rode Cairo Prince to his impressive victory in the Holy Bull in January and chose to retain the mount in the Florida Derby rather than ride Wildcat Red, whom he’d guided to victory five weeks earlier in the Fountain of Youth. Cairo Prince finished fourth as the favorite in the Florida Derby, and Wildcat Red finished second.

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

“I spoke to the owners shortly after learning that Cairo Prince was out of the Derby and they decided they wanted Saez back on their horse for the Kentucky Derby,” said Garoffalo. “Luis was always one of our first options since he already knows the horse so well. In fact he’ll be on a plane to Florida tonight to work the horse for us in the morning, and will likely be there again next week for his final work at Churchill Downs.”

Garofallo said he left phone messages for both Bejarano and his agent informing them of the change, but had not spoken to either as of late Saturday afternoon.