Soldat will make his return to the site of his finest moment when
he goes to post in Sunday’s sixth race at Gulfstream Park, but trainer
Kiaran McLaughlin’s objective for his 4-year-old colt has changed from a
Last year, McLaughlin was determined to let Soldat prove himself on
Gulfstream’s main track, over which he captured the Fountain of Youth
(G2) to earn a shot in the Kentucky Derby. If his trainer has his way
this year, Soldat will never see action on dirt again.
“We’re going to go on the turf Sunday and stay on the turf with him,” McLaughlin said. “We think he’s better on turf.”
Soldat followed up his Fountain of Youth triumph with a fifth-place
finish in the Florida Derby (G1) and an 11th-place finish in the
Kentucky Derby before being sidelined for the remainder of the year. As a
2-year-old, Soldat won the With Anticipation (G3) on the Saratoga turf
and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) at Churchill
“He’s training very well,” McLaughlin said. “He’s a nice horse and we just hope he runs well in his first start back.
Soldat, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano for the first time, has
been installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite in a field of eight
entered in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.
McLaughlin left open a slight possibility that Soldat could run on dirt again sometime in the future.
“We might, but I hope not,” he said. “I hope he goes well on the turf and we find a lot of Grade 1s on the turf for him.”