Fountain of Youth Stakes (G-2) attracted a full field of 13 2014 Kentucky Derby hopefuls, but it was déjà vu all over again as the contest developed into a replay
of the Gulfstream Park Derby. Wildcat
Red and General
a Rod hooked up from practically the beginning of Fountain of
Youth. The two blazed through
fractions of :23, :45, 1:10 and 1:35 for the mile. Racing on the inside under a very aggressive ride
by Luis Saez, Wildcat Red got his head in front at the wire, stopping the timer
in 1:41.85 for 1 1/16 miles. The final
race time was almost a second faster than the last two Fountain of Youth
editions. We have to go back to Pulpit’s
1997 Fountain of Youth (1:41.86) to find a comparable time.
colts showed tremendous heart and fight throughout the race and neither
deserved to lose. Perhaps Wildcat Red had a very slight advantage being on the
rail. The Jose Garoffalo
trainee has a 6-4-2-0 ($490,850) record and earned 50 points in the Kentucky
Derby points standings. He’s in a clear second place on the leaderboard behind
Risen Star winner Intense Holiday, who has 53 points.
WILDCAT RED (D'wildcat - Racene, by Miner's Mark) sold for
$30,000 at last year’s OBS June two year olds in training auction to Garoffalo
and is owned by Honors Stable Corp. After winning his maiden at first asking
and then an allowance race, Wildcat Red won the Juvenile Sprint Stakes, but was
disqualified and placed second for bearing out. Meeting General A Rod in the
Gulfstream Park Derby for the first time, Wildcat Red was defeated by a
head. He turned the tables on General a
Rod in the Fountain of Youth. There’s no
denying the heart and talent of either colt, but is Wildcat Red a legitimate
Kentucky Derby contender?
Red’s sire D'WILDCAT
(Forest Wildcat - D'Enough, by D'Accord) raced for four years and racked up an
18-5-2-2 ($570,444) racing record. The stallion won four stakes races from six
furlongs to a mile, including the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G-1), Churchill
Downs Handicap (G-2), and Swale Stakes (G-3).
was one of the better producers among the first crop stallions of 2007. He was
in the top 20 on the leading sire board in terms of earnings in his first three
years, plus was Florida’s leading third crop sire in 2009. D’wildcat has 13 stakes winners, including
five graded and one Champion from nine foal crops of racing age. He currently
stands in Louisiana for $4,500. Like
their sire, the offspring of D’Wilcat are sprinter/milers. Although a few have
won at 1 1/16 miles, none of his offspring have won a stakes race at 1 1/8
miles or farther. Many are precocious dirt competitors. His turf runners win about 9% and he is a
decent Poly sire, with overall 19% winners on the surface.
Red’s dam RACENE was the only
one of her dam’s five racing foals to earn blacktype. Racene was a late
developing sort. She didn’t make it to the track until June of her three year
old season and needed four starts to win her maiden. Racene was an allowance
class mare, although she did finish third, beaten only 2 lengths in the Yerba
Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles over the lawn. An adaptable sort, Racene
won from a mile on dirt to 1 ¼ miles over the lawn and compiled a 14-2-2-4
($128,740) race record.
a broodmare Racene has produced six foals of racing age. Five raced and have
won, plus two are stakes winners. Wildcat Red’s half sister Racing Machine (by
Skimming) is a stakes winner and multiple stakes placed in Jamaica. Wildcat Red
has an unnamed two year old half sister by Pomeroy who was a $16,000 RNA at the
2013 OBS August Sale and a yearling half sister named Ellas Dreaming by First
Dude. None of Wildcat Red’s half
siblings have won beyond 1 mile 70 yards.
Red is the most accomplished competitor in three generations of his distaff
family. We have to go back to his fourth
dam Lucky Penny, to find all of the blacktype. Lucky Penny (by What Luck) was a
stakes winner. Probably the best runner to evolve from this particular line is
Dazzling Dr. Ceven (by Cutlass Fax), a multiple Grade 1 winner in Puerto Rico
and a popular stakes winner in Florida. He raced a remarkable 68 times earning
a 20-13-15 ($605,968) record.
royalty describes the pedigree of Wildcat Red’s damsire MINER’S
MARK. The first foal of Mr.
Prospector out of the Champion and eventual blue hen Personal Ensign, Miner’s
Mark was destined for great things. Bred
and raced by the famed Phipps stable and trained by Shug McGaughey, the
stallion wasn’t entered in the Kentucky Derby after a third place finish in the
Jim Beam Stakes. Aiming for the summer
and fall stakes races, Miner’s Mark won the Colin Stakes (G-2) and the Jim
Dandy at 1 1/8 mile, and then the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G-1) at 1 ¼ miles,. He also finished in the money in the Travers
(G-1) behind Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero.
Miner’s Mark carved out an 18-6-4-2 ($967,170) race record.
his excellent breeding, Miner’s Mark was unable to pass along his best genes to
his offspring. He never sired a Grade One winner and none of his sons made
their mark at stud. So far, his daughters bore five stakes winners. Two,
Wildcat Red and Run with the Lark, are winners at 1 1/16 miles, and none have
won past that distance.
back a generation, Wildcat Red’s second damsire FLYING
PASTER (Gummo - Procne, by Acroterion) was a top handicap horse and
dominated California racing, earning eleven stakes victories during his career,
including the Santa Anita and Hollywood Park Derbies. He earned California
Championship honors for his exploits. The
son of Gummo was a solid middle distance horse, winning stakes from seven
furlongs to 1 1/8 miles and he placed at 5 ½ furlongs and 1 ¼ furlongs. To be
fair, the gallant horse was up against Spectacular Bid in both starts at 1 ¼ miles
and Flying Paster finished second both times. A leading California stallion,
Flying Paster sired offspring that won from sprints to classic distances. As a broodmare sire, Flying Paster’s daughters
bore solid sprinters through middle distance (1 1/8 miles) runners.
Red is the first foal bred on the D’Wildcat/Miner’s Mark cross, however his
sire Forest Wildcat has modest success with this cross, having sired two foals,
1 winner of almost $43,000.
Red has an even stride with average leg extension and no wasted motion. He sometimes
bears away from the whip if it is used aggressively. He's a pretty, and athletic colt. His shoulder is slightly upright and he appear (in this photo) to be slightly camped under (front legs angled back with more weight in the chest area. This results in a shorter stride). Wildcat Red does have a beautiful hip and strong hindquarters. His pedigree indicates that 1 1/16 to 1 1/8
miles will be the colt’s distance limit. There’s no denying Wildcat Red’s heart
and will to win, but given his forwardly placed running style, he’ll find it
tough to compete at longer distances in top company, especially on a fair
track. So far, all of his starts have been over the Gulfstream Park speedway,
which play to his strengths. In any
case, perhaps we’ll be treated to another episode of the Wildcat Red vs.
General a Rod rivalry in the Florida Derby.