Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Florida Derby champ Constitution
set the pace and held off defending race winner Lea to win Saturday’s $500,000
Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
Constitution, trained by Todd Pletcher, went off as the 5-2 second pick in the
nine-horse field going 1 1/8 miles. Lea, ridden by Joel Rosario, was the 6-5
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Constitution left from the inside post and moved
to the lead with stablemate Commissioner right with him. Lea started from post
4 and was racing a close up fourth.
On the final turn, Constitution, Commissioner and Lea had moved away from the
field. At the top of the stretch Constitution and Lea were alone on the lead.
Constitution edged past the defending winner and posted a three-quarters
“Coming back to Gulfstream on a track that he’s perfect on, we were optimistic
but it was a very good field with the last year’s Donn winner who had a very
impressive prep over the track. We were excited about him and happy he ran to
“I’m not really sure (where Constitution will run next). We’ll talk to
Elliott (Walden, WinStar Farm’s President, CEO and Racing Manager) and figure
it out. It’s only February.”
Prayer for Relief finished third followed by East Hall, Commissioner, Blue
Tone and Catholic Cowboy. Protonico was eased and Sloane Avenue was an early
The time for the 60th Donn Handicap was 1:49.51 on a fast track.
Constitution, owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stable, notched his
first win of the year as he made his 2015 debut. The victory was worth
$297,600 to push the 4-year-old’s earnings over $1 million with four wins from
six career starts.
The colt won last year’s Florida Derby but missed the Triple Crown races with
an injury. He came back in October with a fourth in an allowance race at
Belmont Park and was third to Hoppertunity in the Clark Handicap at Churchill
Constitution returned $7.60, $3.60 and $2.80. Lea paid $2.80 and $2.40, and
Elnaawi paid $6.40 to show.