Despite comments by trainer Todd Pletcher that suggested he was unsure about the next race for Florida Derby winner Constitution every indication is that he’s being targeted for the Kentucky Derby after upsetting presumptive favorite Cairo Prince at Gulfstream Park over the weekend.
Constitution won the Florida Derby in a tight race with Wildcat Red who took second while General a Rod finished third. Meanwhile prohibitive favorite Cairo Prince finished a distant fourth. Constitution now has a good opportunity to be the post time favorite in the Kentucky Derby and despite some hemming and hawing from trainer Todd Pletcher that seems to be the plan:
“I’m not a 100% sure yet. I’m thinking about 12 days before. I’d like to have one work at Churchill. 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.”
Pletcher said that Constitution came out of his first stakes race in tip top shape:
“He came out of it really well. He returned home to Palm Meadows this morning and seemed to be in good shape.”
There was some concern heading into the Florida Derby over the fact that Constitution had been so lightly raced in his career–the race was only his third career start and his first prep race. That will also be a common concern among handicappers as he advances toward the Kentucky Derby. At one point such a lightly raced horse would be completely dismissed as a serious race contender but times have changed. Now horses just aren’t subject to the same grueling two year old schedule and three year old prep schedule as in years past. Barring something unforeseen (and there’s a lot that can happen with several important Derby prep races on the docket for the upcoming weekend) Constitution should either be the top favorite heading into the Kentucky Derby or certainly one of the top two or three horses. Much depends now on the races ahead which will determine the horses that Constitution will run against on the first Saturday in May.