Kiaran McLaughlin

Cairo Prince Wins the Holy Bull (Race Replay)

There’s a lot to talk about after the 2014 Holy Bull. There’s always just one true winner but the other story lines behind entries that scored some points versus those that did not still remain. While I would love to dive into the respectable finish of Conquest Titan and Intense Holiday along with the questions surrounding Wicked Strong and Coup De Grace, I can’t resist the opportunity to talk more about Cairo Prince.

With a win today and 10 points added to the 4 that he earned when he finished a nose behind Honor Code in the G2 Remsen Stakes, Cairo Prince is now tied for the points lead with 14. So, going into February and final 3 months of the Derby Prep season this contender has earned the attention I’m about to give him.

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Alpha Rebounds, Out of Bounds Upsets

Alpha Rebounds in the Count Fleet

Godolphin Racing’s Alpha put himself back into the early 2012 Kentucky Derby contender conversation with an easy and impressive win on Saturday in the $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct.  The 3-yr-old debut for the Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt was a huge rebound after his sophomore season ended with a disappointing 11th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. 

Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Jockey Ramon Dominguez placed Alpha just off the leaders in third before making his move at the top of the lane.  After a short-lived duel with pace setter II Villano, Alpha moved by comfortably to score a 2 ½ victory, his first ever graded stakes win.  Racing on Lasix for the first time, he covered 1 Mile and 70 yards in 1:42.83 over the Fast inner track at Aqueduct behind slow fractions of 24.48, 49.06, 1:13.91.

The Son of Bernadini looked like the horse that many expected to see in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he entered after finishing 2nd to the eventual winner Union Rags in the G1 Champagne last October.  Besides an easy win against a viable field of 7, his stretch run and gallop out after the wire is what impressed me the most. Alpha looked very much like a horse that is bred for distance and he looked very strong down the stretch, the place where the Triple Crown champions win.  Expect Alpha to remain on the New York circuit where he will likely return for the Withers Stakes on Feb. 4th before moving on to the Wood Memorial on 4/7. 

Raced since it’s inauguration in 1975 only one Count Fleet Stakes winner has ever gone on to win the Kentucky Derby – Smarty Jones in 2004.  Of course it’s premature but Alpha has put himself in a nice position to attempt to become the second Count Fleet winner to wear the Roses on the first Saturday in May.  (more…)

Fountain of Youth & Hutcheson Recaps: Wire to Wire

Going in to Saturday there were questions surrounding Soldat but the betting public didn’t seem to be asking.  Leaving the gate as the 7-5 favorite, anyone who still had their hand up quickly got their answer.  Soldat broke clean, took the lead and never looked back.  Claiming his first win over a fast main track and the second victory of his three year old campaign, Soldat is headed down the right track on the trail to Churchill Downs.  Next up: Florida Derby.

Coming out of the starting gate Soldat was a few steps slow and behind the 80-1 longshot leader El Grayling.  However, as they went into the first turn, he was able to establish his position right with the leader.  Once the time for the first half mile flashed in nearly :48 flat, the race was over.  Soldat drew away, and maintained the moderate pace and as expected, To Honor and Serve was not ready to duel through the stretch.  Gourmet Dinner put a nice run through the stretch but never threatened Soldat for top honors and had to settle for a nice 2nd place finish.  As far as the also rans, Bowman’s Causeway improved to finish a solid fourth but his and many others Derby fortunes are up in the air.

Right now, it looks as if Soldat will push to the Florida Derby and Gourmet Dinner will either stay in town for the Florida Derby or head out to California for the Santa Anita Derby.  Congrats to the winning connections, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and jockey Alan Garcia, good luck moving forward.

  • Soldat                                $4.80     $3.00     $2.20
  • Gourmet Dinner                              $6.00    $3.40
  • To Honor and Serve                                       $2.60

$2 Exacta – $13.80, $1 Trifecta – $18.80

The other big race of the day was won in dominating fashion by Flashpoint.  There is no doubt that Crossbow deciding to skip the race in favor of a later date, possibly the Gotham Stakes in New York, had an affect on the race and most importantly, the pace.  However, we should not take anything away from Flashpoint’s dominating 7 1/4 length victory over Travelin Man.  These two ran away from the rest of the field and never looked back.  Great ride by Cornelio Velasquez who flew into Florida from New York to take the mount for trainer Rick Dutrow.  I don’t think that anyone from this race will be a legit Derby contender but we may see one or two connections wearing rose colored glasses come May.  Congrats and hope to see these two on the Derby undercard.

  • Flashpoint                                $15.80     $5.60     $4.20
  • Travelin Man                                             $2.60    $2.40
  • Little Drama                                                            $10.00

$2 Exacta – $40.20, $1 Trifecta – $392.80

Final note: I would love nothing more than to say that it’s Nacho Business who won the 3rd race at Gulfstream; however, he was only able to grab second prize as his hard charging stretch run came up half a length short.  The winner, Arch Traveler, sat behind the pace setter and was able to hold off Nacho Business and Washington’s Rules.

Written by: Fundanichols