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Apr 04, 2014

Constitution lays down the law to win Florida Derby


Hallandale Beach, FL ( - Lightly raced Constitution out fought Wildcat Red down the stretch to win Saturday's 63rd edition of the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

In winning his first stakes in just his third career start, Constitution qualified for the Kentucky Derby by gaining 100 points in the Kentucky Derby points system.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Constitution was sent off as the 3-1 second pick in the eight-horse field. Holy Bull Stakes winner Cairo Prince was the 6-5 favorite with Fountain of Youth champ Wildcat Red at 7-2 and Fountain of Youth runner-up General a Rod at 9-2.

Ridden by Javier Castellano, Constitution was racing third behind pacesetter Wildcat Red with General a Rod in second and Cairo Prince running fifth.

Constitution, owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing, advanced into second behind Wildcat Red on the final turn with General a Rod in third and Cairo Prince racing fourth.

At the top of the stretch, Constitution was even with Wildcat Red on the lead as General a Rod failed to keep up and Cairo Prince was unable to move forward. Constitution and Wildcat Red battled through the stretch until Constitution edged past nearing the wire.

Constitution registered a neck victory over Wildcat Red with General a Rod in third and Cairo Prince in fourth. Finishing fifth was East Hall followed by Matador, Spot and Allstar.

The time for the 1 1/8-miles was 1:49.16 on a fast track.

"I'm very, very proud of him," Pletcher said. "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 picked up his third win in as many starts and added $600,000 with the victory. The colt has now banked $649,350.

The 3-year-old did not make his racing debut until Jan. 11 when he won his maiden race by a length at Gulfstream. His second start was on Feb. 22 at Gulfstream when he captured an optional claiming race by 3 1/4 lengths.

Constitution returned $8.60, $4.20 and $3.60. Wildcat Red paid $4.80 and $3.40, and General a Rod paid $3.40 to show.

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