A big shakeup in the Kentucky Derby contender rankings in Florida as Constitution won the Florida Derby. At the same time prohibitive favorite Cairo Prince got a bad ride and finished a distant fourth. Constitution now has a good opportunity to be the post time favorite in the Kentucky Derby while Cairo Prince clearly slipped down the contendership list.
Constitution might not exactly be a ‘rags to riches’ story–he has been on the top ten contendership lists for most of the year–but he entered this race with no Derby qualifying points and now is locked in to a berth at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Wildcat Red finished a close second, though he was already set for the Derby following his win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Third place went to General a Rod and he likely has enough points to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby as well.
Cairo Prince becomes the big question mark for his connections. He’s gone from a Derby favorite to a horse that might not be as far along as originally anticipated. No decision about his career path will be made for a few days but there’s a fair chance that he could skip the Derby entirely and target the Preakness or get off the Triple Crown trail and seek other lucrative stakes races.
While Cairo Prince’s connections have a lot of thinking to do Constitution’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, was understandably ecstatic:
“This horse has come so far in such a short period of time. Everything has fallen into place, and it’s a real tribute to how talented he is. We didn’t really intend to be in the spot he was in early in the race. We’d intended to be where General a Rod was. He proved today he didn’t need to make the lead to win while also getting some dirt in his face and gaining some valuable experience in the process.”
Much of the Kentucky Derby field and their betting odds pecking order will be determined over the next two weekends. In addition to the Florida Derby and the Louisiana Derby which took place today the Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial and Arkansas Derby are all set for next weekend.