04/21/2011 8:57AM

Soldat's Kentucky Derby work encourages McLaughlin

Bob Coglianese
Fountain of Youth winner Soldat had his final Kentucky Derby work at Palm Meadows.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Fountain of Youth winner Soldat gave every indication he’s bounced out of his disappointing performance in the Grade 1 Florida Derby in good order after zipping five furlongs in 59.07 seconds under absolutely perfect conditions early Thursday morning at Palm Meadows.

Breaking off at the half-mile pole, Soldat went his opening quarter-mile in 24.01. He changed leads perfectly while hugging the rail into the stretch then accelerated down the lane, covering his next quarter in 23.27 to hit the finish line in 47.28 while under just slight encouragement nearing the wire . Soldat then continued on very strongly around the turn to the mile pole in what was little more than a gallop-out before pulling up six furlongs in 1:12.76 and seven-eighths in 1:27.82.

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“He worked well, galloped out strong and looked great,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “He’s always worked well down here. That’s why we put him back on the dirt this winter. Originally I was going to work him three times before the Derby but he’s fit. He hasn’t missed a day of training. I probably don’t even have to work him again but he’ll come back once more next week and we’ll try to slow him down a bit.”

Soldat is scheduled to fly to Louisville next Saturday.

“I still have a lot of confidence in this horse,” said McLaughlin. “He had a rough trip in the Florida Derby, which was unfortunate. But Churchill Downs is an entirely different racetrack than Gulfstream Park. It has a clay base and not as much kickback.”

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