Florida Derby winner Constitution nears return
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

By David Grening
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ELMONT, N.Y. – Constitution, the undefeated Grade 1 Florida Derby winner, is working steadily toward a return to the races, which could occur within the next three weeks, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.

On Monday, Constitution worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 over the Belmont Park training track, breezing in company with the 4-year-old Unitarian, who has not run since winning the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland in April. The work was the seventh since Constitution resumed training in August and his second at five furlongs.

Constitution was forced to miss the Triple Crown races after being diagnosed with a slight fracture to his right shin in April. Pletcher said Constitution is nominated to the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso, a one-turn, one-mile race at Belmont on Sept. 27, and will be nominated to the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles around two turns Oct. 4.

“Don’t have a firm plan, just kind of waiting for him to tell us when he’s ready,” Pletcher said. “He’s always been a good-training horse; thought he worked well this morning. His gallop-out was pretty solid. It’s just going to be a work-by-work situation.”

Constitution, a son of Tapit owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing, won all three of his career starts at Gulfstream Park, taking a seven-furlong maiden race Jan. 11 and a 1 1/16-mile allowance race Feb. 22 in which he defeated Tonalist, the eventual Belmont Stakes winner, and Wicked Strong, the eventual Wood Memorial and Jim Dandy Stakes winner.

After winning the Florida Derby by a neck over Wildcat Red, Constitution was diagnosed with a hairline fracture while working toward a potential start in the Kentucky Derby.



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