Florida Derby top three doing well, headed for rematch in
Constitution emerged from his gutsy victory in
“He came out of (the Florida Derby)
Now undefeated in three career starts, all coming during
The Kentucky-bred colt was making his stakes debut in the
“He’s a horse that has progressed a lot over the winter. He broke his
Constitution will continue to train for Triple Crown at
Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach
County. For how long has yet to be determined.
“I’m not a 100 percent sure yet. I’m thinking about 12 days
before. I’d like to have one work at Churchill,” Pletcher explained. “I’ll just have
to see how the weather is here and how the weather is there. I’ll have to see
how things go about flight arrangements and things like that.”
A stubborn runner-up in the Florida Derby, Florida-bred Wildcat Red will
remain at Gulfstream Park to prepare for his next start as well.
Trainer Jose Garoffalo said Sunday morning he will point
the Grade 2 victor to the first leg of the Triple Crown on May 3
at Churchill Downs after his neck loss to Constitution.
“It was kind of bittersweet, but good. We’re happy with the horse,” Garoffalo
“We still have to evaluate the horse. We’ll
Garoffalo is not concerned about shipping the son of Grade
“We’re going to be there
Purchased for $30,000 last June, Wildcat Red has now
banked $690,850 for Garoffalo and owner Honors Stable Corp., neither of whom have had a Triple Crown starter.
“He is a monster,” Garoffalo declared. “He’s the kind of horse
that you don’t see too often. He’s got the heart, he’s got the guts. He’s
amazing. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse.”
While Constitution and Wildcat Red remain in Florida for now, General a Rod left Gulfstream Park early Sunday morning on
a flight back to trainer Mike Maker’s base in Kentucky, where he will continue
on the Triple Crown trail.
The Roman Ruler colt emerged from his third-place finish in
the Florida Derby in good shape according to Maker’s assistant Elesar Chavez.
Maker flew back to Kentucky after saddling Vicar’s In
Trouble to a win the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Vicar’s
In Trouble did his final work for the Fair Grounds race at Gulfstream.
“He came back really good,” Chavez said of General a Rod. “He came back like it was nothing. He was fine. I talked to Mike this morning
and told him the horse came back really good, but he needed a little bit more
teaching of how to pass the other horses. Mike said he was happy to be third,
the way the horse ran.”
Winner of the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day and second in
the February 22 Fountain of Youth to Wildcat Red, General a
Rod dueled with that rival through six furlongs in 1:12 before giving way in the
Florida Derby. He was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Constitution, finishing 2 1/4 lengths
ahead of multiple Grade 2 winner and 6-5 favorite Cairo Prince.
General a Rod has raced once previously at Churchill Downs,
finishing second to Conquest Titan in a one-mile, entry-level allowance on November
“He beat some nice horses,” Chavez said. “I asked Mike what
he thought and he said he proved he could run, and he’s going to make a couple
changes so he can run better next time. He said if everything is well, he is
going to go on to the next one.”