Favorite Cairo Prince takes the Holy Bull by 5 3/4 lengths (Wendy Wooley/Equisport Photos)
2-1 favorite Cairo Prince moved into a three-way tie for first place on the Road to #KYD14 Saturday with an impressive win in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Owned in a partnership with Namcook Stables (Terry Murray), Paul Braverman, Harvey Clarke and Craig Robertson III, Cairo Prince was ridden by Luis Saez for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Cairo Prince stalked the pace early, while Coup de Grace took the early lead through the opening half-mile. Almost Famous gained the lead after six furlongs, but then Cairo Prince came charging down the stretch to draw away clear by 5 3/4 lengths. Conquest Titan got up for second and Intense Holiday finished third. Almost Famous held on for fourth, earning his first point on the Road to #KYD14. Intense Holiday now has three points, Conquest Titan four and Cairo Prince has 14. Final time was 1:42.16, less than a half-second off the Gulfstream Park track record for 1 1/16 miles on the dirt.
“Cairo came out of the race great,” McLaughlin told Brisnet.com. “He ate up well and is happy, sound and healthy this morning, so we’re very pleased with that. 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.”
McLaughlin has had four Derby runners in past years, including Closing Argument who was the 2005 Kentucky Derby runner-up.
“There’s no question he’s the best one,” McLaughlin said of Cairo Prince. “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.”
Cairo Prince was bred in Kentucky by Richard and Katherine Elam. He was sold for $200,000 at the 2012 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale to Vinery Bloodstock and Whisper Hill Farm. He was sold again in 2012 this time for $250,000 in the Keeneland September Yearling Sale to his current connections.
Cairo Prince won his opening maiden debut at Belmont Park on October 6, 2013. He then won the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on November 3 of last year. His first and only defeat came in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes also at Aqueduct where he lost by a mere nose to Honor Code on November 30.
It is likely that Honor Code and Cairo Prince could meet again in the February 22 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The next race along the Road to #KYD14 is the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct this Saturday, February 1. We will have more on this later in the week so stay tuned!