Kentucky Derby notes: Cairo Prince expected to return to track later this year after ankle surgery

awincze@herald-leader.comApril 24, 2014 

Florida Derby Horse Racing

Cairo Prince and Luis Saez captured the Holy Bull Stakes Jan. 25 by 53/4 lengths at Gulfstream. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin says Cairo Prince reminds him of his 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor.

LAUREN KING — AP

Graded stakes winner Cairo Prince, one of the leaders of the 3-year-old division earlier this year, has a small vertical chip in his left front ankle and will undergo surgery Friday at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Thursday.

Cairo Prince was sent to Rood & Riddle last Saturday after McLaughlin said the colt came out of a workout earlier that week jammed up. The winner of the Grade II Holy Bull Stakes is expected to return to the races for a late summer/fall campaign this year.

"The chip was in a bad spot. Dr. (Larry) Bramlage said it was a vertical chip instead of horizontal so it was more painful than normal," McLaughlin said. "He's supposed to have five weeks of down time ... so it's the best-case scenario.

"We're very lucky it wasn't more serious. They think the surgery will go well and we'll have him back."

Cairo Prince won the Grade II Nashua Stakes in just his second career start last November and then was beaten a nose by Honor Code in the Grade II Remsen to cap his juvenile season. After stamping himself as a leading Kentucky Derby contender with his 53/4-length win in the Holy Bull, Cairo Prince finished fourth in the Grade I Florida Derby.

"We still have one of the best 3-year-olds in the country, I think. It's just bad timing," McLaughlin said. "At least he's going to be fine."

Room Service to bypass Oaks

Trainer Wayne Catalano said Thursday he will not send Room Service — dead-heat winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland — on to start in the Kentucky Oaks on May 2.

Room Service worked 7 furlongs in 1:28.60 over the main track at Churchilll Downs on Thursday morning. However, Room Service has never started on the dirt in her six-race career.

"She worked good but she just didn't kick on perfectly like I wanted," Catalano said. "I honestly think she is better on the turf."

With Room Service not going forward, Doug O'Neill-trainee Empress of Midway would crack the 14-horse Oaks field.

Decision pending on Vinceremos

WinStar Farm President Elliott Walden said Thursday a decision on whether Grade III winner Vinceremos would start in the Kentucky Derby would likely come after the colt works over the Churchill track on Sunday.

"We'll weigh it out when we work him, but most likely as long as he works good he is going to run," said Walden, who added no decision on a jockey for Vinceremos has been made.

Owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing, Vinceremos won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes and was second in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby before running last in a field of 14 in the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

"It certainly was out of character for him. I can't tell you exactly what happened," Walden said of the Blue Grass. "We are throwing it out and taking that leap of faith."

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.

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