By Dick Downey
Constitution will make his stakes debut in the Florida Derby, according to Todd Pletcher, who said he might enter a second horse in the race. Meanwhile, is Havana off the Kentucky Derby Trail?
“He’s doing very well and we’re planning to run him in the Florida Derby,” Pletcher said. “It was really just a matter of picking out which race we were going to run in. I think he’s been very impressive in both of his starts, so it was just a matter of trying to pick the correct Derby prep for him. This time of year they’re all competitive.”
Constitution didn't race last year. On Jan. 11, he won at first asking going seven furlongs after breaking slowly. He returned in an allowance race on Feb. 22 and won easily.
Among others pointing to the Florida Derby are Cairo Prince, Wildcat Red and General a Rod. Nominations to the race close on March 15.
“We just felt like he’s home, he’s two-for-two over the track, and even though it looks to be a very tough race with Cairo Prince pointing for it, we felt like it was the right spot for him,” Pletcher said. “He’s passed every test so far, but this will certainly be the biggest test he’s had.”
Pletcher may also enter Anchor Down in the Florida Derby. He's won both his starts this year, a six-furlong maiden event on the Holy Bull undercard Jan. 25 and a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance on March 1. Like Constitution, he didn't race in 2013.
“We’re in a similar position with Anchor Down,” Pletcher said. “He’s run twice, and he’s two-for-two. We’re looking to stretch him out in a Derby prep. We haven’t decided which one it’s going to be, but the Florida Derby is under consideration for him, as well.”
Havana Said to Be Progressing; But Off Derby Trail?
Havana, scratched the morning of the March 1 Swale Stakes with a quarter crack in his right front foot, is recuperating well, Pletcher said. His upcoming schedule doesn't look like one of a Kentucky Derby contender.
“His foot looks good. We’ve got him back under tack, and we hope to maybe be back on the worktab next week,” Pletcher said. “It healed up well; we just didn’t want to rush things and make sure we get it right. As far as quarter cracks go, it was a pretty minor one.”
Havana could make his next start in the seven-furlong Bay Shore at Aqueduct on April 5, Pletcher said. The Bay Shore carries no Kentucky Derby points and is four weeks before the first Saturday in May. Havana is unraced this year and has 14 Kentucky Derby points off a win in the Champagne Stakes and a second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.