Cairo Prince out of Kentucky Derby with ankle injury

Cairo Prince, winner of the Grade II Holy Bull Stakes in January, is being sent to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and will miss the Kentucky Derby due to an injured left front ankle, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Saturday.

McLaughlin said the son of Pioneerof the Nile worked well last Sunday when he went four furlongs in 48.60 at Palm Meadows Training Center but came out of the move “jammed up” on Monday.

“We’ve had some little tiny bit of issues with his feet at times so we thought it was his feet,” McLaughlin said. “We soaked and worked on his feet and they got better but he didn’t really get 100 percent sound. We X-rayed him and couldn’t see anything. We helped the foot but it wasn’t solely the foot, it was the ankle also. So he’s on his way to Rood & Riddle and Dr. (Larry) Bramlage will help us out diagnose what it is because we’re not sure.”

Owned by a group that includes Godolphin Racing, Paul Braverman,  Terrence Murray, Craig Robertson III, and Harvey Clarke, Cairo Prince most recently finished fourth in the Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park but still had enough points to make the Kentucky Derby field.

McLaughlin, a Lexington native, had called the gray colt his best ever prospect for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

“It’s just very sad for my whole staff and team and everybody,” McLaughlin added. “They all put forth such a big effort and we had a great chance to win (the Derby). He hadn’t missed a day of training all year  and then boom, this happens.

“Very unlucky timing, bad timing. But hopefully we have a horse for the summer and fall. He’s a very talented horse.”

Cairo Prince won the Grade II Nashua Stakes last November and was beaten just a nose in the Grade II Remsen to cap his juvenile campaign.

The defection of Cairo Prince opens the door for Grade III Sam F. Davis winner Vinceremos to make the Kentucky Derby field on points should his connections choose.

“I watched him train the last two mornings and he’s been training really good,” said Randy Gullatt of Twin Creeks Racing, which co-owns Vinceremos along with WinStar Farm. “We’ll let the horse make the call. If he has two good weeks as good as he’s had the last two days, it looks very favorable for us.”

Blue Grass winner Dance With Fate confirmed for Kentucky Derby start

Proving once again that Kentucky Derby fever is a challenging thing to resist, the connections of Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Dance With Fate confirmed Friday they do plan to start the son of Two Step Salsa in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Immediately after Dance With Fate’s Blue Grass win, trainer Peter Eurton said he was leaning against a Derby start citing the three-week turn around the fact he feels the colt is better on turf and synthetic surfaces than on dirt.

After evaluating the way he bounced out of the race upon returning to California, Eurton said he and the owners were swayed to go ahead and take a swing in the once-in-a-lifetime start.

“I wanted to enjoy the Blue Grass win and to me it was just the ultimate,” Eurton said when reached on Friday. “Maybe I got caught off guard a little too quick but I wanted to see how he came back and he came back so well, I thought Churchill could be a possibility.

“If he does as well two weeks from now as he is now, I’ll be one happy camper.”

Eurton added that Dance With Fate would likely ship to Churchill Monday or Tuesday of Kentucky Derby week. Jockey Corey Nakatani, who was aboard for the Blue Grass victory, will keep the mount.

Keeneland set to host “It’s My Derby” event on Friday

Edited release:

Racing fans are invited to rub elbows with Kentucky Derby-winning owners, trainers and jockeys at “It’s My Derby,” a once-in-a-lifetime event presented by the Kentucky Derby Museum on Friday evening at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion.

It’s My Derby, a fundraiser for the Kentucky Derby Museum, features an evening of laughter, bourbon tastings, big personalities and the best stories in racing. The event kicks off with a VIP reception presented by Four Roses, followed by a panel discussion hosted by Racing Hall of Fame trainer and four-time Kentucky Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas will swap Derby stories with Stuart Janney, co-owner and breeder of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb; Orb’s trainer, Shug McGaughey, and jockey, Joel Rosario; Barclay Tagg, trainer of 2003 Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide; and Derby-winning jockeys Chris McCarronand John Velazquez.

Kentucky Derby winners Mine That Bird and Funny Cide will be at the event to greet fans.

A live auction of unique, one-on-one Derby experiences hosted by racing celebrities also will be held. Among the packages fans can bid on: a private tour and brunch at the home of Wayne Lukas during Derby Week; a morning on the Churchill Downs backside during Derby Week with Chris McCarron; Kentucky Oaks  and Derby seats; accommodations for an afternoon at the races at Saratoga capped by a private dinner with Shug McGaughey; and several VIP experiences on Derby Day at Churchill Downs.

For more information, or to buy tickets for the event, visit It’s My Derby.

Take Charge Lady named Broodmare of the Year

Take Charge Lady, dam of champion Will Take Charge and Grade I winner Take Charge Indy, had her prowess in the breeding shed officially  recognized when she was named Broodmare of the Year at the annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders (KTOB) Kentucky-bred Champions Awards Luncheon on Thursday.

Owned by Eaton Sales, Take Charge Lady was a three-time Grade I winner on the track – with all of those top-level scores coming at Keeneland – and retired with more than $2.4 million in career earnings.

The bay daughter of Dehere produced Take Charge Indy, winner of the 2012 Grade I Florida Derby, from her 2008 mating with A. P. Indy. Her son Will Take Charge by Unbridled’s Song was named champion 3-year-old colt of 2013 off his wins in the Grade I Travers and Grade I Clark Handicap.

Will Take Charge, who was named champion 3-year-old colt by the KTOB Thursday, captured the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap this past weekend.

“She did everything with class and obviously as a broodmare she’s all class,” said trainer Ken McPeek, who conditioned Take Charge Lady throughout her race career.

Reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan was named the winner of three 2013 KTOB Kentucky-bred awards for the second consecutive year, taking Horse of the Year, older male and turf male.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey earned both owner and breeder of the year honors with their stallion Kitten’s Joy being named KTOB sire of the year.


The full list of 2013 KTOB Kentucky-bred champions and their breeders:

  • Broodmare of the Year: TAKE CHARGE LADY (Owner: Eaton Sales)
  • Horse of the Year, Older Male, Male Turf Horse: WISE DAN (Morton Fink)
  • Two-year-old Colt: SHARED BELIEF (Pam & Martin Wygod)
  • Two-year-old Filly: SHE’S A TIGER (Dr. Rodney Orr)
  • Three-year-old Colt: WILL TAKE CHARGE (Eaton Sales)
  • Three-year-old Filly: BEHOLDER (Clarkland Farm)
  • Older Female: ROYAL DELTA (Palides Investments N.V. Inc.)
  • Female Turf Horse: MIZDIRECTION (Joseph J. Perrotta)
  • Sprinter: GROUPIE DOLL (Fred Bradley and William Bradley)
  • Steeplechase: GUSTAVIAN (Whitewood Stable Inc.)
  • Racing Abroad: DECLARATION OF WAR (Joseph Allen)
  • Four merit awards were presented to individuals for their contributions to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Industry.

    2013 Merit awards presented at the KTOB Luncheon:

  • P.A.B. Widener Trophy for KTOB Breeder of the Year: KENNETH L. & SARAH K. RAMSEY
  • Hardboot Breeders Award pays tribute to distinctive but unsung breeders that help make up the backbone of our industry: TED BATES
  • Charles W. Engelhard Award acknowledges a member of the media for outstanding coverage of the Thoroughbred industry: BARBARA LIVINGSTON
  • William T. Young Humanitarian Award distinguishes a person in the Thoroughbred industry “who recognizes and promotes the human endeavor”: WARREN ROSENTHAL
  • Also receiving awards were the top Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) money earners in 2013 in five separate categories.

    2013 Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) Leaders:

  • KTDF Sire of the Year: KITTEN’S JOY (Ramsey Farm)
  • KTDF Earner of the Year: TEMERAINE (Niall Racing)
  • KTDF Owner of the Year: KENNETH L. & SARAH K. RAMSEY
  • KTDF Trainer of the Year: MICHAEL MAKER
  • KTDF Breeder of the Year: KENNETH L. & SARAH K. RAMSEY
  • The recipients of 2013 KTOB KY-bred Champion awards were voted on by the full membership of KTA/KTOB while the KTDF category leaders were tabulated using purse money won at KY racetracks in 2013. KTOB merit award recipients were voted on by the KTA/KTOB Board of Directors.


    Prominent owners, trainer pledge to make veterinary records public

    Edited Jockey Club release:

    A large and growing number of prominent Thoroughbred owners and trainers have voluntarily pledged to make available to the public veterinary records of their horses competing in graded stakes races in the United States and Canada, The Jockey Club announced today.


    Such records will cover the 14-day period preceding and including the day of each race and will be available on the day of the race at least two hours prior to post time. The pledges take effect immediately.


    The decision by the owners and trainers follows closely on the heels of an April 14 public proposal by Ogden Mills Phipps, the chairman of The Jockey Club, suggesting that the veterinary records for every horse entered in this year¹s Triple Crown races be made available as a means to bring greater credibility and integrity to Thoroughbred racing at a time when millions are watching.


    “The outpouring of support for this initiative has been dramatic and this is just a preliminary list of those who have stepped forward in the past few days,” Phipps said. “I commend each of the owners and trainers for taking a bold step to enhance the image of our sport, and it is our sincere hope that other owners and trainers will soon adopt this voluntary practice as well.”


    The current list of owners and trainers includes Adena Springs (Frank Stronach), John Amerman, Roger Attfield (trainer), Antony Beck, Gary Biszantz, , Bill Casner, Mark Casse, Claiborne Farm, Christophe Clement (trainer), Darley and Godolphin (HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum), Adele Dilschneider, Dogwood Stable (Cot Campbell), Neil Drysdale (trainer), Will Farish, Glen Hill Farm, Harris Farms (John Harris), Stuart S. Janney III, Live Oak Stud (Charlotte Weber), D. Wayne Lukas (trainer), Earle Mack, Richard Mandella (trainer), Michael Matz (trainer), Shug McGaughey (trainer), Kenny McPeek (trainer), Bill Mott (trainer), Phipps Stable (Ogden Mills Phipps), Pin Oak Stud (Josephine Abercrombie), Dr. Hiram Polk Jr., Dr. J. David Richardson, John Shirreffs (trainer), Al Stall Jr. (trainer), Dallas Stewart (trainer), Stella Thayer, Stonestreet Stables (Barbara Banke), Three Chimneys Farm (Robert Clay and Borges Torrealba), Tic Stable (Ian Highet), West Point Thoroughbreds (Terry Finley), Peter Willmott, Ian Wilkes (trainer), WinStar Farm (Kenny Troutt), and Woodford Racing (Bill Farish).


    Owners and trainers who would like to add their names to the list of participants may do so by visiting The Jockey Club website at


    As an industry service, The Jockey Club will provide on its website ( a list of owners and trainers who pledge to make veterinary records available, and the list will be updated on a regular basis.


    Additional details regarding this initiative will be announced in the near future.


    Also, as an extension of its On Call media assistance program that is designed to provide accurate veterinary information, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) will provide to media, upon request, general information about medications and treatments described in those records. AAEP will not, however, provide information or perspective on any specific horse, treatment or procedure because an On Call veterinarian will not have examined the horse in question.

    Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong tunes up for expected Kentucky Derby start

    Edited NYRA release:
     In his first work since winning the Grade I Wood Memorial, Wicked Strong breezed a solid half-mile in 49.62 seconds Thursday morning over the Belmont Park training track in preparation for his upcoming role as one of the favorites for the May 3 Kentucky Derby.

    With exercise rider Kelvin Pahal in the irons, the dark bay son of Hard Spun stepped onto the training track shortly after the 9:30 a.m. renovation break accompanied by a pony and galloped a mile before breaking off. New York Racing Association clockers caught Wicked Strong in splits of 12.19 and 35.76, galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.84.


    Jimmy Jerkens, who trains Wicked Strong for Centennial Farms, appeared genuinely delighted with the move.


    “He did most of his work on the turns, which is what I wanted; I thought it would keep him from working too fast,” said Jerkens, 55, who has never saddled a Derby starter. “He eased up a little bit in the stretch and then picked it before the wire. It was just what I was looking for.”


    Wicked Strong is one of three New York-based horses pointing to the “Run for the Roses.” Wood runner-up Samraat, winner of the Grade III Gotham and Grade III Withers at Aqueduct Racetrack, is fourth with 100 points and Uncle Sigh, who was fifth in the Wood after finishing second to Samraat in the Gotham and Withers, is No. 20 with 24 points. Both Samraat and Uncle Sigh are scheduled to work Friday morning at Belmont Park.

    Wicked Strong, who was 1-1-1 in three starts as a juvenile at Belmont and Aqueduct, did not fare well in two starts in Florida during the winter, finishing ninth in the Holy Bull and fourth in an optional claimer. Returned to New York for the 1 1/8-mile Wood, he came charging from sixth on the outside and went on to a 3 ½-length win over previously undefeated Samraat and favored Social Inclusion.


    “He’s a little bit on the light side, but I don’t see him any lighter after running that hard and that tough a race,” said Jerkens. “I didn’t think he lost a pound and I’m really happy about that.”


    The trainer said Wicked Strong – named in honor of the victims and heroes of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing – would have one more work at Belmont, most likely at six or seven furlongs next Thursday or Friday, before being vanned to Louisville..


    “He’s never been on a plane, and he’s been up and down to Florida twice [on a van],” said Jerkens. “I’m not sure if he’ll go the day after he works, or two days after. We’ll have to see.”


    Wicked Strong, whose sire Hard Spun was runner-up in the 2007 Derby, probably will blow out over the Churchill Downs strip two days before the Derby, Jerkens added.

    Stronach announces enhanced regulations for tracks

    Frank Stronach, owner of Adena Springs and The Stronach Group, announced Wednesday enhanced regulations on both medication polices and drug testing that will be in place at all Stronach-owned tracks.

    According to release from The Stronach Group, some of the policies the organization plans to implement include a regulated pharmacy to dispense all medications
    prescribed and administered on association property, automatic drug testing for all horses that ship-in to race,  program of random drug testing that can be administered at any time for all horses.

    Tracks owned by Stronach include Santa Anita Park, which will host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a third straight season this year, Pimlico Race Course, home to the Preakness Stakes, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Portland Meadows, and Golden Gate Fields. The Stronach Group also operates Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.

    Below is the full text of the statement from The Stronach Group:

    By Frank Stronach

    The Stronach Group has always been committed to ensuring that our horse racing businesses operate with integrity and concern for the health and safety of the horses and the people who work with them. Now, more than ever, we as track operators, horsemen and regulators must come together to do everything we can to prevent any abuse of our thoroughbred athletes. We must also work diligently to ban any individuals engaged in fraudulent or harmful activities from participating in our sport. The goal of these efforts is to achieve the highest standards with respect to the integrity of our sport and the safety of our athletes, both equine and human.

    The Stronach Group is supportive of all initiatives that help achieve the goal of horses competing free from the influence of medication. We therefore fully support the horse racing industry’s first ever National Uniform Medication Program. The Program seeks to limit the number of therapeutic medications that are needed for the routine treatment of horses and sets medication thresholds and withdrawal time guidelines. The Program also provides penalty recommendations that specifically address repeat medication offenders. In order to be effective, these reforms must be adopted and implemented by all racing states no later than September 1st, 2014. If this deadline is not met, The Stronach Group will work together with other concerned industry stakeholders to begin aggressively lobbying for federal legislation containing the same reforms outlined in the proposed National Uniform Medication Program.

    In addition to supporting the key principles of the National Uniform Medication Program, The Stronach Group is committed to implementing the following measures at all of our racetracks aimed at eliminating drug abuse and the mistreatment of horses:

    –Creating a strictly regulated pharmacy to dispense all medications
    prescribed and administered on association property.

    –Prohibiting anyone from having any medications in their possession unless
    those medications have been properly prescribed for a therapeutic treatment

    –Instituting random spot checks of veterinarians and all personnel that have
    access to the horse.

    –Automatic drug testing for all horses that ship-in to race.

    –Establishing a program of random drug testing that can be administered at
    any time for all horses.

    –Banning individuals found guilty of animal abuse from competing.

    –Having the right to request all veterinarian records and have them examined
    by an independent team of veterinarians.

    –Creating a shared database of all racing and training fatalities.

    –Prohibiting the use of buzzers or other devices designed to manipulate or
    abuse horses.

    –Providing horse ambulances and stalls fitted with special equipment to
    ensure the safe and humane movement of an injured horse in order to provide
    immediate care with the ultimate goal of rehabilitation.

    We at The Stronach Group are committed to undertaking all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of the horses and jockeys; I hope that these proposals will be endorsed by owners, trainers and veterinarians. To assist with the implementation of these proposals, we will immediately begin searching for an Equine Health and Safety Director who will report to a newly established Equine Health and Safety Board. The members of this new board will include owners, trainers, and veterinarians.

    We owe it to the horses and the public, as well as to all of the hard-working and honest horsemen in our industry to implement these measures. As racetrack owners, we must continuously implement procedures that will enhance the integrity of this great sport, and look forward to working with all industry stakeholders to help fine-tune these proposals in order to bring about much-needed reform.

    Constitution off Triple Crown trail with hairline fracture

    Constitution, winner of last month’s Grade I, $1 million Florida Derby,  will miss the Kentucky Derby  and the rest of the 2014 Triple Crown season due to the discovery of a hairline fracture in his front right cannon bone on Monday.


    Trained by Todd Pletcher, the undefeated son of leading sire Tapit breezed a half mile in :50 3/5 on Sunday at Palm Meadows training track and on Monday morning he was discovered to be a little off in his right front leg.


    The defection of Constitution means that Gotham and Withers Stakes runner-up Uncle Sigh now moves into the 20th and final spot on the Kentucky Derby points standings, which determines the field for the first leg of the Triple Crown.


    “This is one of the biggest disappointments of my career,” said Pletcher. “I really feel Constitution was our biggest chance to win the Kentucky Derby since Super Saver. My routine with all my horses is to jog them down the road, and I noticed he was slightly off (Monday). Dr. Yarborough took x-rays that revealed a slight hairline in his shin. Thankfully, it’s nothing very serious, and Constitution will be back to 100% after a little time. The timing is just a real shame for everyone involved, but the Derby doesn’t define a horse’s career.”


    Constitution will be shipped to WinStar Farm to rehabilitate, with the hopes of returning to training in 60 days and racing again in 2014. The bay colt is owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables.


    “While we are extremely disappointed to miss the Kentucky Derby, we’re just as excited about the future of Constitution,” said Randy Gullatt, Twin Creeks Racing’s general manager. “We think he’s just scratching the surface of his talent.”


    Added WinStar President & CEO Elliott Walden: “Todd has done a tremendous job with Constitution and I can’t wait to get him back for two reasons: firstly, he has so much to accomplish, and secondly, he is the most exciting stallion prospect of his generation.”


    Unraced as a juvenile, Constitution make his career debut at Gulfstream Park on January 11, breaking his maiden first time out by a length going seven furlongs on the main track. He followed that up with a front-running victory against a stakes-quality field in a 1 1/16-miles allowance race there on February 22 before outfighting multiple graded stakes winner Wildcat Red in deep stretch to win the 1 1/8-miles Florida Derby by a neck.


    Out of the Distorted Humor mare Baffled, he has earnings of $649,350 to date.

    Breeders’ Cup winner, producer My Flag dies at age 21


    Edited Claiborne Farm release:

    Four-time Grade I winner My Flag died at Claiborne Farm after foaling a healthy bay colt by Bernardini on April 12th



    Bred and raced by Ogden Phipps, the 21-year-old broodmare was a product of two Phipps champions, by Easy Goer and out of the undefeated champion race mare and Hall of Famer Personal Ensign.  One of the leading fillies of her generation, My Flag won six races and placed seven times from 20 starts, earning over $1.5 million.  She captured the 1995 edition of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and went on to win the Grade I Ashland Stakes, Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade I Gazelle Handicap the following season.

    As a broodmare, My Flag produced Storm Flag Flying, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2002 and also the winner of that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.  Additionally, she is the dam of graded stakes-placed On Parade (dam of multiple graded stakes winner Parading) as well as stakes winner Flying Colors and stakes-placed Leading the Parade.

    My Flag has been buried at Claiborne Farm.

    Cairo Prince, Pletcher crew prep for Kentucky Derby

    Edited Gulfstream Park release:
    Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was able to breath a sigh of relief Sunday when Cairo Prince ranked 20th on the qualifying list for the first leg of the Triple Crown after the final two major preps were run on Saturday.
    “I feel great about it. They let 20 run, and it doesn’t matter if you’re first or 20th,” he said. “I feel really good right now that we’re 20th.”
    Sunday morning at Palm Meadows, Cairo Prince breezed a half-mile in company with stablemate Summer Cove in 48.60 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.80. The breeze was the second fastest of 17 recorded at the half-mile distance.
    “He worked great,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll do the same thing next Sunday, but we’ll go five (furlongs) and gallop out three quarters. He’ll ship out on the 22nd and have one work at Churchill.”
    McLaughlin had some uneasy moments since Cairo Prince turned in a disappointing fourth-place finish at 6-5 in the Florida Derby, not knowing if the son of Pioneerof the Nile would have enough qualifying points to compete at Churchill on May 3.
    Cairo Prince captured the Holy Bull by 5 ½ lengths, establishing himself as top-rated 3-year-old on the East Coast. After bypassing the Fountain of Youth, Cairo Prince’s status for the first Saturday in May suddenly was put in jeopardy by his dull showing in the Florida Derby.
    “Maybe it was the layoff. I’ll take the responsibility that maybe he needed to run,” McLaughlin said. “He got caught wide. Wicked Strong went to New York after the same thing and won the Wood. But it doesn’t really matter now.”
    Now able to concentrate on the Triple Crown, McLaughlin is happy with his original plan for Cairo Prince.
    “Now we have a chance to win the Kentucky Derby, not just run in it,” McLaughlin said.
    Where McLaughlin has been sweating the last couple weeks out, trainer Todd Pletcher added to his already ample Kentucky Derby arsenal when his charge Danza pulled
    off a stunner in Saturday’s Grade I Arkansas Derby, scoring a decisive 4 ¾-length victory at 41-1 odds. The lightly raced son of Street Boss, who was ridden by Joe Bravo, previously made his 2014 debut after a six-month layoff at Gulfstream on March 1, finishing third behind highly regarded stablemate Anchor Down.
    “We’re pretty excited. We were stepping out a bit. The horse always ran well and trained well. We felt we had one shot to put ourselves possibly in a position to get to Churchill. We were quietly expecting a good race, but, without a doubt, that exceeded everyone’s hopes and expectations,” said Pletcher, who couldn’t remember pulling off such a high-priced upset in a major stakes.
    “I’m sure right after the race most people did what I would have done if I were on the outside looking in – grabbed the past performances and said, ‘Look at this horse!’” Pletcher added. “When you look at it now, you see a horse that won his maiden impressively first time out at Belmont, just missed in a flying finish in the Saratoga Special and ran a better-than-it-looked third in an allowance race at Gulfstream.”
    Pletcher already has Florida Derby winner Constitution, Spiral Stakes winner We Miss Artie, and Louisiana Derby runner-up Intense Holiday already slated for the Kentucky Derby.
    Pletcher, whose Arkansas Derby winner was scheduled to ship from Oaklawn to Churchill Downs later in the day, reported that firm plans have yet to be made regarding riders on his four horses that qualified for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
    “We have Javier on Constitution and we’re in the process of firming everything else up,” Pletcher said. “I’ll talk to Aaron Wellman from Eclipse, but I imagine they’ll ride Joe Bravo back.”
    Constitution, who captured the Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 29, returned to the work tab at Palm Meadows Training Center Sunday Morning.

    Undefeated in three career starts – all during Gulfstream’s Champions Meet – Constitution breezed a half-mile Sunday in 50.60 seconds at Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County to the expressed satisfaction of letcher.
    “It was the exact same time he had in his first breeze after his allowance win, so we’re very pleased with that,” Pletcher said. “He went alone. He did it in relaxed fashion. The horse was moving super.”
    The son of Tapit broke his maiden at first asking for WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing at seven furlongs on Jan. 11 before coming right back to post a swift front-running triumph at 1 1/16 miles in an entry-level allowance on Feb. 22. Constitution dramatically made a successful jump to Grade I company, closing strongly along the rail to win a photo finish over Wildcat Red in the Florida Derby.
    Pletcher also sent Intense Holiday and We Miss Artie to the track Sunday morning to tune up for the Triple Crown. They worked in company, breezing a half-mile in 48.90 seconds.
    “I thought both horses worked well,” Pletcher said. “They galloped out strongly. They looked good.”
    Intense Holiday finished third behind victorious Cairo Prince in the $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream on Jan. 25 before shipping to Fair Grounds to win the Grade II Risen Star before  finishing second in the Louisiana Derby. We Miss Artie finished second in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes on turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 19 before finishing eighth on the main track in the Grade II Fountain of Youth on Feb. 22 and earning his ticket to Louisville with a victory on Polytrack in the Grade III Spiral Stakes  at Turfway.
    “All three of those horses, if the weather cooperates, will breeze back here next Sunday and go to Churchill on the 22nd and have their final breeze at Churchill,” the six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer said.
    Pletcher recently captured his 11th straight training title at Gulfstream’s Champions Meet.
    “We had an excellent winter. The Gulfstream meet was good to us and we were able to ship out to win the Risen Star, Spiral and Arkansas Derby. We had Palace Malice come back and run a big race. I’d say all in all, I’d have to say it was a successful winter,” he said. “Like always, there are a few you wished would have gone better. We had a few who are on holiday. Anchor Down comes to mind. He’s 2-for-2 and won the allowance race that Danza was in. But they’ll all be back this summer.”


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