Gulfstream Park Derby winner General a Rod will make his next start in the $1 million Florida Derby on March 29, trainer Mike Maker confirmed Friday morning.
Runner-up by a head to Wildcat Red in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth on February 22, General a Rod will have his first work since the race on Saturday morning over the main track.
"He's doing fine. We just want a slow, easy half-mile," Maker said. "Everything's on go for the Florida Derby. The timing is good, and he obviously likes the track."
General a Rod is stabled at Gulfstream where he made his three-year-old debut with a head victory over Wildcat Red in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Derby on January 1. Maker had considered several options for the Roman Ruler colt before settling on the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby.
"Everything was in play," Maker said. "There were pros and cons that weighed into it, but he's right here, he can run right out of his own stall, and he's run well here."
General a Rod has had a different jockey in each of his four career starts, including Joel Rosario in the Gulfstream Park Derby and Javier Castellano in the Fountain of Youth.
Rosario rode Top Billing in the Fountain of Youth and Castellano has been the regular rider for Constitution, and with both horses pointing to the Florida Derby it remains uncertain who will be aboard General a Rod. "I'm still waiting to hear on that," Maker said.
Lecomte winner Vicar's in Trouble, who had been stabled with Maker's string at Fair Grounds, joined the trainer at Gulfstream last week. In his most recent start, the son of Into Mischief rallied to be third from post 14 in the Risen Star on February 22.
"He's doing well," Maker said. "He had a bad post position, but I still think he ran well. I'm still undecided on his next start."