It was a battle to the finish as Javier Castellano sent Constitution flying through a hole on the rail at the top of the stretch to challenge front-runner Wildcat Red to the wire during yesterday’s Florida Derby. In the end, it was Constitution by a neck at the wire, making him the 4th horse in 8 years to attempt a Florida Derby/Kentucky Derby double win two weeks from now. Past winners of both races include Orb (2013), preceded by Barbaro (2006) and Big Brown (2008).
“I’m very, very proud of him. It’s a testament to the quality of horse he is, “ stated Pletcher. “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.”
“I was fortunate. I didn’t want to go wide and lose ground so I took advantage and squeezed up along the rail. I took my shot and it worked out great,” exclaimed Castellano after capturing his 5th victory of the day. The win was also the 4th of the day at Gulfstream Park for Constitution’s trainer Todd Pletcher. The pair also teamed up to take the 1-1/8 mile Gulfstream Oaks with the filly In Tune, as well as the Grade III Skip Away Stakes with Micromanage. Both Constitution and In Tune are now 3 for 3 as they head to Lexington for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks respectively.