Breaking alertly from the two-hole, El Padrino was quick into stride but content to let the one-horse, Bartolome, through to take control of the early pace. Settling comfortably in 4th, jockey Javier Castellano appeared to have El Padrino in a good spot, just two lengths behind the leader.
After 1/2 mile in :47 flat, Bartolome began to fade and the three-horse, Take Charge Indy, assumed control of the race. With Calvin Borel aboard, Take Charge Indy opened up a commanding three length lead and looked like a winner after 3/4 of a mile in 1:10.95. However, El Padrino had other plans. Castellano gave El Padrino his cue and our son of Pulpit uncorked an explosive turn of foot.
As he rounded the far turn and drew even with Take Charge Indy, it was apparent that we were watching a special horse thundering home. Just as quickly as he drew along side Take Charge Indy, he spurted clear to a visually impressive two-lengths victory.
His final time of 1:42.68 was the fastest running time of the meet at that distance, making his win all the more impressive. He earned a lofty 100 Beyer speed figure for his effort and stamped himself as one of the top Derby contenders in the country.
We're extremely proud of both his effort and Todd’s exceptional training which fully prepared him for the race. We believe the proverbial 'light bulb' finally went on and he ran a complete race in yesterday's win.
He appears to have come out of the race in good order and we'll watch him train over the next 7-10 days before deciding what's next. The obvious choices are: the Grade 2 $300,000 Risen Star on 2/25 at Fair Grounds, the Grade 2 $400,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, or the Grade 3 $400,000 Gotham on 3/3 at Aqueduct. All of these races are run at 1 1/16 miles.