Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was extremely disappointed by Cairo
Prince’s fourth-place performance in Saturday’s Florida Derby (G1) at
Gulfstream Park, but he couldn’t have been more satisfied with the
beaten favorite’s condition at Palm Meadows Sunday morning.
“He’s very happy and sharp out of the race,” McLaughlin said. “But
it’s just been a tough, tough day.”
Cairo Prince, who was
sent to post as the 6-5 favorite in Gulfstream’s signature race on the
strength of his dominating victory in the $400,000 Holy Bull (G2) on
Jan. 25, sat off the early pace under jockey Luis Saez and was never
able to truly get into the race won by Constitution following a
thrilling stretch duel with Wildcat Red.
“I haven’t been able to say what went wrong. It’s very
disappointing,” McLaughlin said. “We’re disappointed, almost shocked at
the results. But it is horse racing and it is what it is. He’s fine out
of the race and we’d like to go on if we can, but the points situation
The Florida Derby had 170 points up for grabs in the system used in
qualifying for the first leg of the Triple Crown with 100 for the win,
40 for the place, 20 for the show and 10 for fourth. Constitution,
runner-up Wildcat Red and third-place finisher General a Rod are headed
for Louisville on the first Saturday in May, but Cairo Prince’s 24 total
points may not be enough to earn a spot in the starting gate. With the
Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial, Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass
schedule still yet to be run, Cairo Prince, currently 16th in the race
for 20 spots, is in serious jeopardy of being shut out.
“The way the points are now, there are four races out there for eight
horses to get first and second (and enough points to qualify). So we’re
hoping that they’re already in, but that’s not likely,” McLaughlin
McLaughlin said he’d make no definite plans until
talking with the owners of Cairo Prince, including majority owner
“He’s going to stay here right now, but that could change,”
McLaughlin said. “Plan A didn’t work and we don’t really have a Plan B.
I’m going to have to talk to everybody, all the owners, and make a Plan