Holy Bull hero Cairo Prince breezed over the fast dirt at Palm Meadows Saturday morning in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby on March 29. The son of Pioneerof the Nile covered a half-mile in :49 4/5 under the watchful eye of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who offered his thoughts on the Fountain of Youth later in the day at Gulfstream Park.
"It was a very good race," McLaughlin said. "I thought the two that were one-two all the way they ran great, and for Shug (McGaughey)'s horse, Top Billing, to break from way outside and come from last on a speed-biased track, he ran well also."
Cairo Prince recorded his second drill since his 5 3/4-length Holy Bull triumph going 8 1/2 furlongs.
"It was very hot (Saturday), muggy, but he ate up and he's happy and bright, and all is well," McLaughlin noted. "That's all we want to do is maintain his happiness.
"He worked very well. It was a little bit slower than last week, but the track was pretty dry and it was very, very hot. He got a little warm, but it was just hot. The humidity has been terrible.
"Next week we'll probably move his work earlier in the morning, maybe 7-7:30 (a.m. [EST]). They might start having two breaks, so that might help us work after the first break at 7:30. He went out after the first break this am, close to 9 o'clock. We'll keep him going every Saturday."
The Florida Derby, which provides Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 100-40-20-10 to the top four, will be run for the 63rd time on March 29. Last year's winner was Orb, who swept the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby on his way to bringing home the Kentucky Derby trophy for trainer McGaughey.
Cairo Prince could meet the top two from Saturday's Fountain of Youth in winner Wildcat Red and head second General a Rod, but he'll miss on facing rival and McGaughey trainee Honor Code.
That dark bay son of A.P. Indy handed Cairo Prince his only loss to date from four lifetime starts, holding him by a nose in the Remsen in the duo's juvenile finale. Honor Code is being pointed for his sophomore debut in the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel on March 15 at Oaklawn Park.