Florida Derby runner up Wildcat Red is targeting the Kentucky Derby as he continues to train at Florida’s Gulfstream Park. Wildcat Red set the pace in the Florida Derby but was unable to hold off eventual winner Constitution at the wire. Reports have begun to circulate that jockey Rafael Bejarano will ride Wildcat Red in the ‘Run for the Roses.
Trainer Jose Garoffalo says that Wildcat Red is enjoying some downtime following his Florida Derby run and will return to work on April 20:
“He’ll have two works before the Derby. He’ll breeze here once on the 20th and then breeze again on the 27th at Churchill. He’s doing great. He came out of (the Florida Derby) great.”
Wildcat Red is scheduled to fly to Churchill Downs on April 22. He’s raced four times as a three year old–in addition to his Florida Derby runner up effort he finished second in the Gulfstream Park Derby on January 1 before winning the Hutcheson on February 1 and the Fountain of Youth on February 22. He was ridden by four different jockeys in his three year old races–Joel Rosario, Javier Castellano, Luis Saez and John Velazquez–and Rafael Bejarano will be the fifth.
Garroffalo suggests that the quality of racing at Gulfstream Park is underrated and that his colt is well prepared for a strong effort in the Kentucky Derby:
“I’m really excited about going to Kentucky. I think the most competitive horses raced at Gulfstream. Other than (Santa Anita Derby winner) California Chrome in California, I think the best three-year-olds raced here. Look at the Wood Memorial last week, the winner (Wicked Strong) raced here and he didn’t do anything here.”
Wildcat Red is eighth in the Derby qualification points standings and is guaranteed of a starting spot. He’s been a highly regarded three year old prospect since breaking his maiden in his first race at Gulftream on 9/14/13 and has never finished worse than second in seven career starts. The Kentucky Derby is set for Louisville, Kentucky’s historic Churchill Downs race course on May 4, 2014. The race field is limited to 20 starters and the field should firm up considerably over the next few days.