As good as he felt after watching Cairo Prince romp to a 5 ¾-length
win in Saturday’s $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream
Park, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was just as excited after checking on
his stable star Sunday morning.
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Stabled at Palm Meadows, Cairo Prince gave McLaughlin every
indication that the Pioneerof the Nile colt took the most lopsided Holy
Bull victory in 19 years in stride.
“Cairo came out of the race great. He ate up well and is happy, sound
and healthy this morning, so we’re very pleased with that,” he said.
“It’s exactly what I wanted to see. That’s the key, because if they back
out of the tub it’s the first indication it was a tough race on him,
but he ate up everything and he’s bright and happy. He couldn’t have
come out of the race better. He is perfect this morning, so that’s all
we can ask for.”
In the Holy Bull, his first race since finishing a nose behind Honor
Code in the Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30, Cairo Prince raced three
wide from post seven and rolled up on the early leaders at the
three-eighths pole before taking command nearing the stretch and drawing
away for the biggest margin of victory since Suave Prospect won by
eight lengths in 1995.
It was the second graded stakes win for Cairo Prince following the
Nashua (G2) on Nov. 3, and stamped him as a leading contender on the
road to the Kentucky Derby (G1). McLaughlin has been there four times
before, finishing second with Holy Bull winner Closing Argument in 2005
and fourth in 2006 with Jazil, who would go on to win the Belmont Stakes
A native of Lexington, Ky., McLaughlin was also 14th in the 2006
Derby with Flashy Bull, and 11th with Soldat in 2011.
“There’s no question he’s the best one,” McLaughlin said of Cairo
Prince, who is owned by Harvey Clarke, Craig Robertson, Paul Braverman
and Namcook Stable. “We haven’t been in this position before, ever. The
most important thing is he doesn’t have to improve. He doesn’t have to
do anything but stay the way he is, and that’s all we hope for is for
him to stay healthy and happy.”
McLaughlin said the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) on
Feb. 22 is the next logical spot to consider for Cairo Prince, followed
by the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) on March 29. “The
next question is where do we go from here, and I don’t have an answer
today,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t have to have an answer today. We’ll
see how he starts training. Obviously, the Fountain of Youth is next
here in the series so that’s what we’re going to look at. “This horse,
he even makes me say things that I don’t normally say because I like to
let the horse do the talking on the track. He’s a really, really nice
horse, the kind everybody gets up early every day to come out and train.
He makes our job easy.”