HALLANDALE BEACH, FL-- Everything went to script for Revolutionary in his 2014 bow when he posted an off-the-pace score in Saturday’s second race at Gulfstream Park, and the allowance win will serve as his prep for the $500,000 Donn Handicap on February 9. As expected, the 2-5 chalk broke a beat slowly from the rail and was content to rate several lengths off the pace. Jockey Javier Castellano guided him to the outside passing the half-mile pole and Revolutionary responded by picking off the front-runners under minimal urging. He edged pacesetter Falling Sky by a half-length at the wire and stopped the clock in 1:35.
“I had a lot of fun,” Castellano said. “I enjoyed the trip and the way he did it. I give all the credit to [trainer] Todd Pletcher, because he brought the horse off a [seven-month] layoff and the way he performed today, it was amazing. Now he’s a more mature horse, a stronger horse, and I think we’re looking for the big races.” Revolutionary had posted dramatic victories last season in the Withers Stakes (G3) and Louisiana Derby (G2). After finishing third in the Kentucky Derby (G1), the War Pass colt ran fifth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) in June, and he had been freshened up since by owner WinStar Farm.
“That was pretty much what we were hoping for, to get a good race in him that would hopefully set us up for the Donn,” Pletcher confirmed. “I hate to talk about future plans in the paddock before a race, but I did mention to Javier that we were hoping to come back in the Donn and to try to win, but to keep that in mind, too.”
CONSTITUTION MAKES WINNING DEBUT
Constitution was bet down to even-money for his eagerly awaited debut in Gulfstream’s fourth race, but showed plenty of grit and determination to come through for his many backers. The Tapit colt had been training up a storm at Palm Meadows in the mornings and scratched out of a maiden special weight at Gulfstream a week ago after drawing the rail. However, when the gates were sprung, Constitution gave his rivals a bit of a head start before rushing up the inside and was in contention despite a :44 4/5 opening half. He got the better of pacesetter Juba and edged ahead late to win by a half-length.
“Sometimes, with first-time starters you never know how they’re going to break,” jockey Javier Castellano offered. “He’s been showing speed in the morning. Today he was the second horse loaded in the gate in a big field of horses, and I think he waited too long. When they opened the gate, he was surprised. After that, when he saw the daylight he ran off. He wanted to run today and he wanted to put on a good show. I would have liked to cover up a little more behind horses, but I couldn’t find it because half of the rest of the field was outside. “He didn’t get panicked because he went really tight on the rail,” the meet-leading rider added. “I really like him because he’s got good heart, good courage and he never gave up. You could see with those very fast fractions, he never gave up. He just kept going and I let him gallop out. I think this is a special horse.”
Constitution’s final time for the seven-furlong test was 1:23 2/5. Purchased for $400,000 as a yearling at Saratoga, the bay colt races for WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing. WinStar President Elliott Walden admitted that he was a bit worried at the outset.
“He didn’t break well and he’s been a free-running colt, so that did concern us,” Walden remarked. “But he is very athletic, and he showed that in the first eighth of a mile when he got back into the race again and into position. It was nice to see him overcome that down the stretch. It was a really, really good effort and you don’t see them do that very often. You might see them get back into it, but then they back up and finish third or fourth. It was pretty impressive.”
The speedy 3-year-old might not be on the Kentucky Derby trail just yet, but that could change after his next appearance.
“He’s very fast, so I’m not sure that we would go right to two turns with him,” Walden added. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Trujillo Rides First Win Since Injury: Jockey Elvis Trujillo recorded his first winner since being sidelined for three months due to a fractured collarbone. The Panama native guided first-time starter City Squire to a 38-1 upset of Saturday’s fifth race.
“I feel very happy and I thank God that I am back,” Trujillo said. “I feel 100 per cent. I’ve been working out at the gym, but it is good to win.”
WHO’S HOT: Trainer Todd Pletcher saddled three consecutive favorites to win with Revolutionary in the second, Charming Kitten ($6.60) in the third and Constitution in the fourth. Jockey Joel Rosario also recorded a hat trick, winning the first with Hardtap ($5.80), the third aboard Charming Kitten and the seventh with Elnaawi ($4.00).
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $14,023.34
Super Hi 5 Paid: $14,730.60