The Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park came up as easily the most loaded Kentucky Derby prep thus far. Handicappers
could make a winning case for any number of the entrants, but in the end, it
was Cairo Prince, the morning line and post time favorite, that made a huge
statement and advanced forward on the Road to the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
Due to the distance of the Holy Bull, the field of 11 colts
and geldings broke on top of the clubhouse turn, giving the inside posts first
run at the lead. Coup de Grace and Almost Famous were sharpest of all and
neither was willing to give an inch. With John Velazquez aboard the Fox Hill
Farms owned colt and Calvin Borel aboard for Charles and Maribeth Sanford, the
two dueled on the lead through splits of 23:63 and 46:75. Mr Speaker and Best Plan Yet followed the dueling pair closely with
the rest of the field tightly bunched in behind them.
Midway down the backstretch, Cairo Prince began inching up
on the leaders, moving up into third by the ¾ mile call. Before the field even
hit the far turn, Cairo Prince had the dueling leaders squarely within his
sight. The son of Pioneerof the Nile
came away with the lead as he hit the stretch and drew away to win emphatically
by 5 lengths. Conquest Titan, who
had trailed the field in dead last, ran a huge race down the center of the
track to be second best. Intense Holiday,
who beat Conquest Titan to the punch, also closed from the back of the field to
just be bested at the wire while gaining third.
The order of finish was completed by Almost Famous, Best
Plan Yet, Financial Mogul, Mr Speaker, Our Caravan, Wicked Strong, Coup de
Grace, and Big Bazinga. Mr Speaker, who finished 7th, was making his
dirt debut for trainer Shug McGaughey and owner Phipps Stable.
Cairo Prince ran the mile and a sixteenth in 1.42:16. That
time was less than a second off the record set by older stakes runner River
Seven back in December. As the 2-1 favorite, Cairo Prince returned
$6.20/$4.40/$3.20 for a $2 wager. Conquest Titan paid $8.60/$4.80, and Intense
Holiday paid $6.40. The $2 exacta was worth $69.40, the $1 trifecta paid
$283.60, and the $1 superfecta returned $2,237.60.
Given the high weight of 122 lbs, winner Cairo Prince
conceded up to 6 lbs to his 10 other rivals. After the race, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was pleased as punch
with the colt, stating, “I love for the horse to make the statement, but it’s
hard not to get excited when you have these kind. He just had a beautiful trip
and he (Luis Saez) asked him, he responded. He won carrying 122, giving a lot
of weight away. Obviously, we’ll look at the Fountain of Youth February 22 or we could wait until the Florida Derby. We’ll see how it goes.”
Fresh off the victory, jockey Luis Saez was understandably enthusiastic about his mount. “He
broke so well and the whole race I kept him in the clear. When we got to the
half-mile pole, I know I have a lot of horse. When we got to the three-eighths
pole, I knew I could win the race so when we came into the stretch I asked him
and he responded. He just took off. I had so much horse. He’s a nice horse,”
As a yearling, Cairo Prince went through the auction ring
twice. He was initially purchased by Vinery Bloodstock and Whisper Hill Farm
for $200,000 at the Keeneland 2012 January Horses of All Ages Sale. Eight
months later, the colt passed through the Keeneland 2012 September Yearling
Sale ring where he was purchased by his current connections, Namcook Stables,
etc., for $250,000. Cairo Prince is by 2009 Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile and out of the stakes winner Holy Bull mare Holy Bubbette. Today's win improved the colt's overall record to 4: 3-1-0 and brought his total earnings up to $512,000.
win, Cairo Prince earned 10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points, bringing his
total to 14. Conquest Titan earned 4 points. Intense Holiday earned 2 points,
bringing his total to 3, and Almost Famous earned 1 point.