Kentucky Derby 2020 Radar: Another Constitution colt to know

November 24, 2019 10:29am

Entering Saturday’s debut at Del Mar, Ancient Warrior had worked five straight morning bullets, and he flashed that speed again when becoming the latest son of Constitution to hit the 2020 Kentucky Derby Radar.

After clicking off opening fractions of 22.10 seconds for the quarter mile and 45.13 for the half in the six-furlong event, Ancient Warrior had 9-5 race favorite Garth looming on his outside. But the colt simply turned that one back at the top of the stretch, kicking into the shadow of the Del Mar grand stand much the best.

The final time was 1:09.72 under jockey Flavien Prat with Garth 4 1/4 lengths back in the end. Garth, second to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court in his own unveiling, was running Saturday for the first time since found with an entrapped epiglottis after the Del Mar Futurity (G1).

Jerry Hollendorfer trains Al Graziani homebred Ancient Warrior, who’s out of the Forestry mare Wellington Beauty.

Given the embattled trainer Hollendorfer’s status at Santa Anita — track operator The Stronach Group barred him from running there over the summer due to safety concerns — Ancient Warrior could show up in a stakes there running under assistant Dan Ward’s name or compete for Hollendorfer on another circuit.

It could be too quick to come back Dec. 15 in Remington Park’s Springboard Mile, which offers Derby qualifying points on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the Top 4 finishers. So too does Santa Anita’s Sham Stakes (G3) scheduled for Jan. 4. There are few non-stakes options for 2-year-old maiden special weight winners in California.

The victory kept Constitution hot in this first crop of 2-year-olds. Next weekend, Tiz the Law will go as the expected favorite in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2), while other sons of Constitution already prominent on Derby lists include Nashua (G3) winner Independence Hall and Grade 1-place Gouverneur Morris.

Hollendorfer, who is able to saddle horses in Kentucky, has started seven horses in the Derby, seeing his best results in 2017 (Battle of Midway, third) and 2018 (Instilled Regard, fourth).


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About the Derby Radar

Back for the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail, Horse Racing Nation's Derby Radar seeks to identify promising maiden, allowance and even stakes winners who could target points-paying preps down the line. We'll cover the buzz horses, of course, then using a systematic approach based on past years' Derby contenders identify other talented colts moving up the ladder.

Did we miss one? Email editor Jonathan Lintner ( if you know of a horse that should be on the radar.

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