Heading into last weekend’s Kentucky Derby prep races Cairo Prince was one of the ‘horses to beat’ despite a light racing schedule and setbacks in training. Cairo Prince was the favorite for last Saturday’s Florida Derby and finished out of the money. Now his future is uncertain.
According to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Cairo Prince is still being pointed to the Kentucky Derby. The problem now is that due to his lightly raced spring and poor showing in Florida that he might not qualify. He’s currently #16 in the Derby qualification rankings and will now have to wait and see what happens in subsequent Derby prep races over the next few weeks.
“We are going to point to the Kentucky Derby. The points are a concern.”
McLaughlin now realizes he made a tactical error in planning assuming that Cairo Prince would take a lot of points in the Florida Derby:
“I can only blame myself. We might not get in. I was happy with the route we chose and the owners were in agreement. We stuck to the plan we wanted and we finished fourth instead of in the top three. Hopefully, we’ll get in, but there is a good chance that we won’t. I take responsibility for making the plan. I thought we were good enough to finish in the top three (in the Florida Derby).”
At this point there aren’t a lot of options other than to ‘wait and see’. McLaughlin said there’s an outside chance they might try to run Cairo Prince in the April 19th Lexington Stakes at Keeneland but the race offers so few points it might not be worth it. McLaughlin is trying to remain optimistic:
“My gut is telling me no (about getting in) but history is telling me yes. We’ll just have to wait and see now.”
According to McLaughlin if Cairo Prince doesn’t make the Kentucky Derby they’ll proceed with ‘Plan B’ and start pointing him toward the Preakness Stakes. The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of horse racing’s ‘Triple Crown’ and will be held on May 17 at Baltimore, Maryland’s Pimlico Race Track.