Saturday, March 29, 2014

WinStar Farm's Constitution wins Florida Derby by head; Brereton Jones' Albano fourth in Louisiana Derby

WinStar Farm's three-year-old Constitution cut through on the inside and won a thrilling stretch battle with Wildcat Red to win the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park by a head today and put himself very much into contention for the Kentucky Derby.

Constitution, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano over a mile and an eighth, has now won three of three races after not racing as a 2-year-old. The favorite (and Lexington Herald-Leader Derby favorite) Cairo Prince finished fourth, behind General a Rod. Constitution paid $8.60, $4.20 and $3.60.

In the Louisiana Derby, Brereton Jones' Albano finished fourth as Vicar's in Trouble, the 3-1 second favorite, easily upset 9-5 favorite Intense Holiday, which ran second. Vicar's in Trouble is owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey of Nicholasville, who won more money than any other owner in 2013 and are leading this year's standings, and was ridden by Rosie Napravnik.

Albano was fifth past the finish line, but after a stewards' inquiry swapped final places with In Trouble, which bumped him going into the final turn, so obviously that it was noted by the track announcer during the race. Albano started from the outside post position, No. 10, with Kerwin Clark aboard. They started at 9-2 and went off at 7-1. For the Equibase chart, click here.

Moving up to fourth not only won Jones $40,000 instead of $20,000, it enabled Albano to get 10 more points in Churchill Downs' tiered point system for entering horses in the Kentucky Derby if more than the limit of 20 are entered. Vicar's In Trouble picked up 100 points, for a new total of 120. Intense Holiday got 40 points for second, raising him to 93. Wildcat Red and General a Rod picked up 40 and 20, respectively, with their second- and third-place finishes in Florida, raising them to 90 and 40, respectively. After today, Albano has 34 points and Cairo Prince has 24.

Albano is trained by Larry Jones, no relation to the owner of Airdrie Stud, west of Midway. Albano had finished second by a nose to Intense Holiday in last month's 1 1/16-mile Risen Star Stakes, also at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, after leading.

No comments: