Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
a lot to talk about after the 2014 Holy Bull. There’s always just one true
winner but the other story lines behind entries that scored some points versus
those that did not still remain. While I would love to dive into the respectable
finish of Conquest Titan and Intense Holiday along with the questions
surrounding Wicked Strong and Coup De Grace, I can’t resist the opportunity to
talk more about Cairo Prince.
a win today and 10 points added to the 4 that he earned when he finished a
nose behind Honor Code in the G2 Remsen Stakes, Cairo Prince is now tied for the
points lead with 14. So, going into February and final 3 months of the Derby
Prep season this contender has earned the attention I’m about to give him.
begin with what everyone is talking about today; his connections. The most fascinating thing about Cairo Prince is that his Dam is Holy Bubbette, by none other than the champion colt we honor
every year at this time; Holy Bull. As for his Sire, Cairo Prince is by
Pioneerof the Nile, your 2009 Kentucky Derby runner up and four time graded
stakes winner at a distance of no less than 1 1/16.
for distance, although, Holy Bubbette enjoyed her most success in races at 7 or 6
furlongs, I have a hard time not coming to this conclusion. To back that up just
look at what Cairo Prince has done in three races at a mile or more.
2 Nashua Stakes 1st – 2 1/2 1 Mile 1:37.59
2 Remsen Stakes 2nd - Nose 1 1/8 1:52.92
2 Holy Bull Stakes 1st –
5 3/4 1 1/16 1:42.16
While Holy Bubbette may contribute to his speed when urged to make a move he has also displayed that he can keep his next gear in check and carry it the distance. He may not have been able to
hold it in the Remsen but from what I saw today he’s going to be tough to get
by when he gets the lead late in the race.
How about you, are
you also convinced that he’ll be ready for the Kentucky Derby distance?
with connections, another thing I like about this Kentucky Derby contender is
that since his first start and win Luis Saez has been the only jockey in the
irons. It is not always a key to success as Johnny V never rode Animal Kingdom
prior to the Kentucky Derby. The same was true in 2009 when Calvin Borel
brilliantly led long shot Mine that Bird to an unexpected win. However, I like
the connection here and there’s no way Saez wants off this horse. Considering
his results thus far I’d say his trainer isn’t planning on
replacing him either.
of Kiaran McLaughlin, here’s a trainer that is ready for the next step in his career. A native of Lexington, KY McLaughlin has
enjoyed a remarkable career that includes a 2006 Belmont Stakes win with Jazil
and a Breeders’ Cup Classic win later that year with Invasor. His best Kentucky
Derby finish came when another Holy Bull winner, Closing Argument, was the
runner up to Giacomo in 2005 at odds of 71-1.
reason I’m breaking these connections down is because I like them. There’s no
doubt that I believe McLaughlin will one day win the Kentucky Derby but will
Cairo Prince be the horse that gets him there?
the Holy Bull we’re still 98 days out from the first Saturday in May so it’s
still too early to tell. Not only does Cairo Prince have to remain healthy the
question on when and where he reaches his peak is something that must be
answered. For me, he looks great at this stage and I haven’t seen anything that
makes me think he's already reached his potential.
But, for a horse to prep well and be ready to go on the first Saturday in May is only
half the battle. The other half may be the toughest; your effort needs to be
better than the rest of the field. Right now it’s also too early for me to tell what
other contenders may outmatch his potential so that will have to wait or be discovered over the coming weeks.
that’s looking ahead so what about right now? I'm glad you asked because Cairo Prince is my 2014 Kentucky Derby top contender. I
loved everything I saw from him today in the Holy Bull. His form probably impressed
me the most. He knew when it was time to formulate his move but how easy he made it look before drawing away was special. Capping it off was a final time
that makes me wonder if a Holy Bull stakes record time could have been broken
with a better challenge from the field. The record time is 1:41.73, less than
0.5 seconds better than what Cairo Prince clocked. I like a confident horse
when I see one and that is the best way for me to describe what I saw from him
this surely can regress but I was also encouraged with his training leading up
to the Holy Bull. A key to winning the Kentucky Derby, or any Triple Crown race,
is maintaining your form. If Cairo Prince can continue to turn in works like
his previous three it will be a very good sign that he’s ready for the next
at Palm Meadows Training Center
- 1/19/2014 Dirt 4F 48.40
- 1/12/2014 Dirt 5F 59.90
- 1/5/2014 Dirt 5F 59.70
to McLaughlin next up will be the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park
on February 22. This will be the second race of the Championship Series when points
jump to 50-20-10-5. So, until then expect Cairo Prince to remain near the top
of the points leader board.
Holy Bull and the Kentucky Derby
Dating back to 1994 when Go For Gin kicked off his 3-yr-old racing season with a win in what is now called the Holy Bull stakes, two other horses made a stop here along the trail before they won the roses. Funny Cide, who finished 5th in 2003, followed by Barbaro who won in 2006.