Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Post-time favorite Cairo Prince stalked the pace and then drove to victory in winning Saturday's $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull is an important prep race on the road to the Triple Crown. Last year Itsmyluckyday won the race before finishing second in both the Florida Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Luis Saez, Cairo Prince went off as the 2-1 favorite in the 11-horse field. The gray colt sat off the pace that being set by 3-1 second choice Coup de Grace and 12-1 longshot Almost Famous.
Moving up around the final turn, Cairo Prince came away with the lead entering the stretch as he was making his 2014 racing debut. The colt surged easily to the lead and lengthened his advantage down the stretch.
Cairo Prince, co-owned by Namcook Stables, secured a 5 3/4-length victory and 10 points toward a start in the Kentucky Derby.
"He just had a beautiful trip and he (Luis Saez) asked him, he responded," noted McLaughlin. "He won carrying 122 (pounds), giving a lot of weight away. Obviously, we'll look at the Fountain of Youth (Feb. 22) or we could wait until the Florida Derby (March 29). We'll see how it goes. I hope he stays as good as he is today. He'll have one or two more (races)."
Conquest Titan finished second followed by Intense Holiday, Almost Famous, Best Plan Yet, Financial Mogul, Mr Speaker, Our Caravan, Wicked Strong, Coup de Grace and Big Bazinga.
The time for the Holy Bull was 1:42.16 on a fast track.
Cairo Prince earned $240,000 for his second stakes victory. The colt has won three of four starts with a second for $512,000.
"He trains exceptionally well. He's got a great mind. A lot of times you don't get those two things in the same package," McLaughlin said. "He does everything right and he is a neat horse to be around. He's got a great stride and a great mind."
As a 2-year-old in 2013, Cairo Prince won his first two starts, including the Nashua at Aqueduct. He followed with a nose loss to Honor Code in the Remsen Stakes at the New York track.
Cairo Prince returned $6.20, $4.40 and $3.20. Conquest Titan paid $8.60 and $4.80, and Intense Holiday paid $6.40 to show.