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Trainer Brad Cox Lays Out Plans for Kentucky Derby Prospects
Tapit's Conquest (Coady Photography)

Trainer Brad Cox Lays Out Plans for Kentucky Derby Prospects

New Orleans, LA – Trainer Brad Cox reports that Lecomte Stakes (G3) winner Instant Coffee came back well and the team at Fair Grounds caught up with him at the barn this morning. Read below to see what’s next for many of his 3-year-old colts, including Instant Coffee, Tapit’s Conquest, Loggins, Corona Bolt, and more.

You opted for the allowance with Tapit’s Conquest. Do you think he was the best horse in the race or that he would have won with a better trip?

“I don’t know if he should have won or if he was the best horse in the race, but let’s put it this way, he ran well, he galloped out well, and I think there’s a lot of room for improvement. Mentally he’s not there yet and he hadn’t run in a while. He’s figuring things out and he’s going to be a lot better horse two months from now than he is right now.”

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When do you expect Loggins to join your string here in New Orleans and do you think he can make the Kentucky Derby?

“Hopefully February 1. We’re going to just see. It’s going to be tough to get to the Derby. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t look at the Preakness. We will nominate him to the Triple Crown and see. 

You have 11 of the 38 horses in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3. What challenges are involved in managing and maximizing so many good, young horses?

“The goal is to map out a plan to get as many of them into the Derby as possible. We’ve gotten off to a great start in these preps, but we need to keep it going. That can be challenging, but we’ve got a deep bench, and hopefully some of these horses can continue to improve. Let’s see where they take us.”

“I’m thinking with Instant Coffee, just leave him here. Risen Star then Louisiana Derby, or maybe skipping the Risen Star and just going straight into the Louisiana Derby. We’d just prefer a little more than four weeks (between starts). It’s just awfully demanding. You’ve got to be in these point races and the goal is to get to the Derby, and you’ve got to be fit and ready to run and doing well to accumulate points, but then you also have to have horse left over for the first Saturday in May. These are still young horses. They’re changing and developing and growing. It’s definitely an advantage to have multiples. You can get excited quick when you only have one or two. We’re in a great position. So far it’s been managed fairly well.” 

“We’ve got Jace’s Road, Hit Show and Corona Bolt pointed to the Southwest (at Oaklawn). We’re set up in New York. We had a horse break his maiden there pretty impressively yesterday (Slip Mahoney, also owned by Gold Square). He’s a nice horse. We will probably point him for the Gotham (March 4). That’s an avenue we can take and Florida is always an option as well.”

The record for most horses started in a Kentucky Derby is five. Todd Pletcher has done it twice (2013 – the first year of the points system & 2007) and Nick Zito (2005) and D. Wayne Lukas (1996) have each done it once.