Racing Spotlight: Caddo River, Flavien Prat, and Carlos David
Racing Spotlight is a weekly series that highlights a horse, jockey, and trainer with insightful information to help our players be informed.
This week, we look at Caddo River, who seeks to regain his early 2021 form in the Woody Stephens S. (G1); Flavien Prat, who is tied for second-most graded stakes wins in North America; and Carlos David, who is making a name for himself at Gulfstream Park.
Horse spotlight: Caddo River
Caddo River is one of the standout horses who will be rushing to glory in one of eight Grade 1 races on Saturday’s Belmont card. The Brad Cox trainee, who previously was a contender on the Kentucky Derby trail, returns to competition in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens and seeks to regain his late 2020/early 2021 form.
Finishing his two-year-old season with a 9 1/2 length win in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs, the dark brown colt raced exclusively in Arkansas during the first half of 2021, participating in three of Oaklawn Park’s signature races for Triple Crown contenders. In his sophomore debut, Caddo River bested his previous margin of victory, winning the Smarty Jones S. by a record-breaking 10 1/4 lengths.
This led to Caddo River being named the morning line favorite in the Rebel S. (G2), where he was a game second to winner Concert Tour throughout the race before fading to fifth in the homestretch. Then in the Arkansas Derby (G1), Caddo River and Concert Tour engaged in a speed duel. This time, Caddo River topped his rival, but 12-1 Super Stock rallied late for a shocking win.
John Ed Anthony, an Arkansas lumberman, bred and owns Caddo River under the banner of Shortleaf Stable.
Jockey spotlight: Flavien Prat
Last weekend, Flavien Prat won two graded stakes at Santa Anita: the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) aboard Country Grammer and the Daytona S. (G3) with Bombard. This pair brings his 2021 total of graded stakes victories to 16, and they tie him with Irad Ortiz Jr. for second among all North American jockeys. Joel Rosario leads with 21.
Prat, 28, could increase his standing in elite races this weekend. He is named to ride in nine graded stakes during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. In the Belmont itself, he retains the mount on Hot Rod Charlie, whom he rode to a third place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). In the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness S. (G1), Hot Rod Charlie sat out, and Prat piloted Rombauer (who is also entered in the Belmont) to victory.
Prat is currently ranked fourth among all North American jockeys by purse earnings (over $8.4 million) and sixth by wins (114). This year, he has won at a 28% rate and finished in the trifecta 66% of the time. He is at the top of the leaderboard at the Santa Anita meet.
Born in France to a father who was a trainer, Prat was the leading apprentice there in 2013. Before his first full season in America (2015), Prat rode in France, Italy, and Germany, and he earned his 1,000th North American win in February. Prat has won multiple leading rider titles at Santa Anita and Del Mar, and he also rode Country House in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, where they were famously elevated to victory upon the disqualification of Maximum Security.
Trainer spotlight: Carlos David
Carlos David continues to grow his presence at Gulfstream Park since going out on his own at the end of 2018. He currently ranks third by both wins and earnings in the trainer standings at the Hallendale Beach oval. Since the beginning of his career, David has won at a 20% rate and finished in the money 48% of the time, and a lot of his success has come at the claiming levels of the game.
David came to the U.S. from Columbia when he was 16, living with his uncle near Belmont Park. He got a job at the track as a hotwalker and a groom for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott while he was getting his GED. David went on to work for a variety of people, including Seth Benzel and Jason Servis. He became a U.S. citizen, and now owns a home in south Florida.
A filly named Alta Bambina gave David his first win on his own in Nov. 2018, and it was a decisive victory: she blew the field away 10 1/4 lengths. David had four horses in his barn at the time.
On March 27, David experienced triumph and tragedy seconds apart when 50-1 longshot Zenden won the $1.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1), breaking a track record and giving David his first Grade 1 win, but the horse took a bad step after the race and was fatally injured.
David's cousin is trainer John Ortiz, who is currently competing at Churchill Downs after spending the winter at Oaklawn Park.