WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables' Constitution prevailed by a neck in an incredibly thrilling renewal of the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Constitution was making his stakes debut after a maiden win on Jan. 11 and an allowance score Feb. 22, both also at Gulfstream. Breaking from post 4 in the field of eight, Constitution was under a fairly stout hold by Javier Castellano around the first turn and into the backstretch.
With a couple of foes blocking his path coming into the stretch, Castellano found a narrow opening along the rail to set the stage for the stretch duel with pacesetter Wildcat Red. The two were stride-for-stride nearly all the way down the lane, until Constitution dug deep in the final yards to pull out the win.
The final time for the 1 1/8-miles was 1:49.16 on a fast track.
Said trainer Todd Pletcher; “I’m very, very proud of him. It’s a testament to the quality of horse he is – to go from a maiden to an allowance to a Grade 1 and to show a different running style and get some dirt in his face and put in an effort like that against much more seasoned horses. It was a huge effort.”
Constitution earned 100 points towards a start in the Kentucky Derby (G1), May 3 at Churchill Downs. He is currently third on the Derby points list with just five weeks before the Run for the Roses.
With three wins in as many starts, Constitution has earned $649,350.
We try to name horses like they'll be in the stallion barn someday,” said Elliott Walden, president of WinStar Farm. “It was a no-brainer with a well-bred colt like this. Todd will decide when the horse goes to Kentucky. He's going to go down as the greatest (trainer) of all time so we just kind of hint at things. He does a great job and he usually comes to the right decision."
Bred in Kentucky by Grapestock LLC & Fox Hill Farms, Constitution is the first foal out of the Distorted Humor mare Baffled, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 Forego S. winner Emcee. Constitution was a $400,000 purchase by Twin Creeks Racing at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling sale.