HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Jockey Javier Castellano saw a couple of horses in front of him and thought about steering Constitution to the outside in an effort to pass everyone.
Then a gap opened along the rail.
Constitution knew what to do from there, and a trip to the May 3 Kentucky Derby is the 3-year-old’s likely reward.
In his third start and first stakes race, Constitution beat Wildcat Red by a neck to take the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
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“He’s a super horse,” Castellano said.
Unbeaten Constitution, trained by Todd Pletcher, ran 11
8 miles in 1 minute, 49.16 seconds and paid $8.60 to win as the second wagering choice in the Grade I race.
“This colt has come so far in such a short period of time,” Pletcher said. “You know, three months ago we were not even thinking about this. Everything has fallen into place. It’s a real tribute to how talented he is and how far he’s been able to come.”
General a Rod finished third in the field of eight and 6-5 favorite Cairo Prince was fourth.
African Story strikes it rich
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – African Story produced a powerful finish to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup — the world’s richest race — by 2¾ lengths over Mukhadram at Meydan Racecourse.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin Racing won the race for the seventh time in 19 runnings. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor saddled his sixth World Cup winner, his first since 2006.
“There has been a lot pressure, with people asking why have I not won the race for so long,” he said. “The reason was, we did not have the right horse to win it.”
African Story ran 2,000 meters in a course-record 2:01.61 on the synthetic Tapeta track. The 7-year-old gelding, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, paid $36.80 to win in the Group I race.
African Story was fifth in last year’s Dubai World Cup, won by Animal Kingdom — winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby.
• Vicar’s in Trouble ($8.60 to win) led all the way and beat 19-10 favorite Intense Holiday by 3½ lengths in the $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Vicar’s in Trouble, trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Rosie Napravnik, ran 11
8 miles in 1:50.77 in the Grade II race.