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Soldat Eyes Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve

It's easy to see why Soldat's connections want to keep him on turf after last year's Triple Crown contender scored an impressive comeback victory at Gulfstream Park March 4.

Facing seven rivals in a $55,100 allowance optional claiming event in his comeback, 4-5 choice Soldat was a no-doubt three-length winner while clocking a time of 1:41.18 for 1 1/16 miles on firm going.

The 4-year-old Soldat was making his first start since he finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 7. After early success on turf, the dark bay/brown colt was switched to the dirt by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin last winter. Soldat won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream by two lengths prior to a fifth-place finish as the favorite in the Florida Derby (gr. I).

“It’s nice to have him back,” said McLaughlin of Soldat’s victory.

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