When 2014 Kentucky Derby betting begins Wildcat Red will go off as a 15/1 morning line choice. He’s got a lot of enthusiastic backers in the American horse racing community but has also become a point of national pride in, of all places, Venezuela. Wildcat Red’s trainer, Jose Garoffalo, is a native of Venezuela and his journey to the Kentucky Derby is getting a lot of media attention back home.
Garroffalo says it’s a welcome diversion from all of the bad news that Venezuelans have to deal with on a daily basis:
“It’s very important because we are struggling now with a lot of problems, the economy and violence there. In my country we have fanatics for horse racing. They follow this horse like he is a baseball star. It’s good for the country because they’re going to have something different to see in the news, some good news among all that bad news.”
Wildcat Red won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth before finishing a close second in the Florida Derby. There are still questions about his stamina with some suggesting that his true calling is as a sprinter. Garroffalo says that he’s been working on improving his horse’s stamina:
“The horse has changed. Before when he had those bullet works, the horse was very anxious, he was very immature. Now the horse can relax and go steady for more distance. So I’m not worried about that.”
Wildcat Red will start from the #10 post position for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. He’s never finished lower than second in seven career starts but as noted above there are concerns about his ability to step up not only in competitive class but about his ability to deal with the Derby distance of a mile and a quarter. The Kentucky Derby is the sport’s premier race for three year old thoroughbreds and will be held at Louisville’s Churchill Downs race track. It is the first of three legs that comprise the ‘Triple Crown’ to be followed by the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland and Belmont Stakes at New York’s Belmont Park. Approximate post time for Saturday is 6:00 PM Eastern Time.