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Wildcat Red Easily Captures Hutcheson

Trainer Jose Garoffalo has always had an abundance of confidence when it comes to Wildcat Red. Late Saturday afternoon, luck finally caught up with his stable star.           

Given a perfect ride by recently minted Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano, Wildcat Red ranged up to the lead turning for home and drew away with a flourish to win the 61st renewal of the $200,000 Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream Park.           

It was the first stakes victory for the son of Grade 1-winning sprinter D’wildcat, who was disqualified to second for interference in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes on Nov. 9, and finished a head bob short in the Gulfstream Park Derby on Jan. 1.           

Garoffalo had hoped to bring Wildcat Red back in the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25, but discovered a minor illness on the day entries were taken and decided to wait for the Hutcheson.           

“It was an infection in the throat, some mucus in the upper windpipe. It wasn’t a big deal, really, but we didn’t want to take the chance to run,” Garoffalo said. “We waited for this race, and the horse fit pretty good in this spot. He proved he was the best horse in the race, as we were expecting.”           

Favored in the field of nine at 2-1, Wildcat Red ($6) ran seven furlongs in 1:22.21, hitting the wire 4 ¾ lengths in front of C. Zee. Pablo Del Monte came on to be third, another half-length behind.           

“Actually, I was very impressed,” Garoffalo said. “I was expecting a tough race, but he handled the group very easily. He impressed me how easy he did it.”           

Gambler’s Ghost broke fastest from the gate and went right to the front, leading through a quarter-mile 22.30 seconds and a half in 44.87 with Pasco Stakes winner Mighty Brown alongside and Wildcat Red settled in a stalking spot in third.           

Aboard for the first time, Castellano steered Wildcat Red outside approaching the final turn and took command with little resistance, pulling clear under a hand ride. Long On Value, Spot, Tashir, Mighty Brown, Trail Blaze and Gambler’s Ghost completed the order of finish.           

“The race unfolded like I had handicapped,” Castellano said. “I didn’t want to be on the lead because then they’d want to chase me and he would get tired. I wanted to target somebody and then he’d give me the kick. It’s very impressive, the way he did it. They went good fractions and he was sitting right there. When I asked him, he took off.”           

Garoffalo had planned to stretch Wildcat Red around two turns in the Holy Bull, won impressively by Cairo Prince, and said he will now point to the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) on Feb. 22.       

“That is the next step, hopefully, if everything goes good,” Garoffalo said. “We’re going to check the horse after the race, and if everything goes in a good way we’ll be there, especially because I just read that Cairo Prince is not going to go in the race. I probably am going to run in that race if the horse is in good shape.”


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Older Comments about Wildcat Red Easily Captures Hutcheson...

I had wondered why they didn't stretch Wildcat Red out in the Holy Bull. An illness gives me hope that we could see him in the Fountain of Youth.

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