By Dick Downey
El Padrino, the heavy morning line favorite in Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes, comes into the race off a strong allowance win on a wet track at Gulfstream Park.
On a sealed track rated good -- it looked a little wetter than that, perhaps -- El Padrino defeated Take Charge Indy by two lengths. Argentine Tango, the third finisher, was beaten 15 3/4 lengths by El Padrino.
El Padrino's time, 1:42.68, was the fastest at the distance thus far in the meet, and it was more than two seconds faster than Revron’s win of the Gulfstream Park Derby going 1 1/16 mile on Jan. 1.
El Padrino was ridden by Javier Castellano, who returns on Saturday in the Risen Star. He's set to ride Algorithms the next day in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream.
The Risen Star won't be El Padrino's first stakes effort. He was beaten less than a length in the Grade II Remsen Stakes last Fall.
“He’s a talented colt that we’ve thought a lot about from the very beginning," trainer Todd Pletcher said a few days after that allowance win. "We felt in the allowance race he really put it all together. He’s maturing at the right time. He’s a strong, well-minded colt, so we’re keen on him."
Pletcher has been pointing El Padrino to the Risen Star since the win. El Padrino breezed four furlongs in :48.80 (23/40) at Palm Meadows on Sunday, his second workout since Jan. 29. On Feb. 13, he breezed four furlongs in :48.20 (8/71). El Padrino is expected in New Orleans in a couple of days.
The name of the Let's Go Stable charge is imposing. The English translation of El Padrino is "The Godfather."