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2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Wildcat Red

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Wildcat Red has never finished worse than second in seven career races. Can he continue his excellent run of form in the 2014 Kentucky Derby?

Matthew Stockman

Wildcat Red

Wildcat_red_medium

Trainer: Jose Garoffalo
Owner: Honors Stable Corp.
Jockey: Luis Saez
Sire: D'wildcat
Dam: Racene (Miner's Mark)
Lifetime Record: 7-4-3-0
Lifetime Earnings: $690,850

Future Wager Odds: Pool 1 - 4/5 (Field); Pool 2 - 3/2 (Field); Pool 3 - 28/1; Pool 4 - 31/1

Notable Races: G1-Florida Derby (2nd); G2-Fountain of Youth (1st); G3-Hutcheson (1st); Gulfstream Park Derby (2nd); Gulfstream Juvenile Sprint (1st)

The Good

You can't knock the fighting spirit of this colt if you like horses that refuse to give up in race after race; Wildcat Red has never run a bad race in seven career starts. Sure, he hasn't won every race he's entered, but when the "worst" loss of your career in terms of beaten lengths is a head-bob to General A Rod in the Gulfstream Park Derby, you're doing something right.

The (maybe) Bad

One would think at some point this colt is going to get to a distance where he's unable to effectively carry his early speed. So far, that hasn't occurred. He stretched out from sprints to a one turn mile in the Gulfstream Park Derby and lost by a head to General A Rod. After cutting back to seven panels in the Hutcheson he went two-turns for the first time in the Fountain of Youth and beat General A Rod by a head. Then he stretches out to nine furlongs and again was right there fighting for the victory in the win photo, losing by just a neck to Constitution.

Can Wildcat Red  carry his speed an extra eighth of a mile on Derby day? I'm highly skeptical despite how well he's performed over the past three months. The possibility that Wildcat Red, General A Rod, and Vicar's in Trouble get into a pace brawl in the early stages (ignoring the fact that Chitu or Samraat or Uncle Sigh or California Chrome will likely be sniffing around the front of the pack) makes it hard for me to see this colt standing in the winner's circle at the end of his mile and a quarter journey.

Final Thoughts

Truth be told, I really like both Wildcat Red and General A Rod... but not as colts likely to win the Kentucky Derby. Or at least not as top win bets. Perhaps the Gulfstream pair will once again find themselves alone on the lead where they can re-create their dueling magic in the shadow of the wire. Unfortunately, I think any pace scenario that's soft enough to allow Wildcat Red to click off soft early splits will essentially set the table for California Chrome to waltz home as the winner.