El Kabeir Derby plans coming into focus following Wood Memorial (G1)

Posted to: El Kabeir Monday, April 6, 2015
El Kabeir Derby plans coming into focus following Wood Memorial (G1)
El Kabeir’s third-place finish in Saturday’s Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct may have not been the result that his connections wanted, but the solid effort showed owner Ahmed Zayat and trainer John Terranova that the 3-year-old colt has what it takes to compete in the May 2 Kentucky Derby (G1).

Zayat posted a string of Tweets on Sunday as he contemplated plans the next few weeks.

"Pace was insanely slow. Jock misjudged the pace. We had too much to do. (Trainer) John (Terranova) was very happy...with his finish and gallop out ahead of everyone. Some questions have been answered to me. Not concerned about distance no longer.

"John and (Zayat's son) justin want to move forward to give him a chance in the Derby. We will see how he trains the next week. Came out great. We are getting millions of calls for replacement jocks. Haven't made a decision yet if we will replace CC or who will be the new pilot.

"To sleep on it a couple days before making a call...I have learned in my life that good decisions are not made in haste. Even though I am an emotional guy I am a methodical thinker."

Terranova also saw plenty of positives as he reflected on the outcome.

"He was running at the end," said Terranova. "I watched him gallop out and he passed everybody. He was finishing really well but there wasn't any pace to soften up the front runners. We'll see how he is and figure it out from there. If he comes back out of this well, I think we'll get a lot stronger pace in a race like the Derby, and he can sit back and close. He's done that twice. I thought he made up a lot of ground there in the stretch."

With a trio of graded stakes wins to his credit, El Kabeir sits seventh on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and is assured to have a spot in the starting gate if Zayat chooses to run.