HALLANALE BEACH, Fla. (WHAS11)-- The Derby week parade from the Todd Pletcher barn got another participant over the weekend, when lightly raced Constitution turned his third start into a victory in the Grade One Florida Derby.
Constitution and jockey Javier Castellano made a bold move up the rail to catch front running Wildcat Red and win the Gulfstream Derby prep by a neck.
General A Rod probably punched his Derby ticket with a third place finish.
But the most stunning development in the Florida Derby was the dull fourth place finish by Cairo Prince, who was the Kentucky Derby favorite on almost every expert list in the country.
Two months after Cairo Prince looked spectacular winning the Holy Bull Stakes, he failed to hit the board in the Florida Derby and is on the points bubble to qualify for Louisville.
Did Kiaran McLaughlin skip the Fountain of Youth because he wanted a fresh horse for the Derby? Or was it something else with Cairo Prince? Whatever the plan, the result was just 24 points on the Derby trail. And the son of Pioneer of the Nile may have hit the distance wall with a Dosage Index of 7.00.
Now, the Derby buzz may switch to Constitution, who will attempt to do "a Big Brown," and win the Derby after only three starts. Constitution certainly showed that potential by beating more experienced horses and bravely cutting through a hole on the rail to grab the lead.
And speaking of brave, Wildcat Red continued to exhibit brilliant speed and courage as he fought to the wire at a mile and an eighth. It's difficult to predict if he can stretch any farther but he could win millions as a sprinter.
The final time for the Florida Derby was 1:49.16 on the fast track. And by Sunday morning, Constitution was back at the Palm Meadows training center while his connections made plans for Louisville on May 3rd.
Constitution is by the sire Tapit, whose offspring have never won a Derby, but the female side of the pedigree is Distorted Humor and that should prepare this horse for the Derby distance, rain or shine.