HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The Todd Pletcher-trained El Padrino stamped himself as a horse to watch on the road to the Kentucky Derby Saturday at Gulfstream Park with an emphatic two-length victory over a field of talented 3-year-olds in the seventh race.

The son of Pulpit ($7.20) settled in fourth under jockey Javier Castellano along the backstretch run of the 1 1/16mile allowance before kicking in through the stretch to win comfortably.

“He’s a nice colt. We thought a lot of him from Day One. He’s still figuring things out, but he’s a pretty talented horse who should continue to improve,” said Pletcher, noting that the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream on Feb. 26 is a possible target for Lets Go Stable’s colt.

Take Charge Indy, who finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in his last start, finished second after tracking early pacesetter Bartolome along the backstretch before opening a clear lead on the far turn. Argentine Tango finished another 13 ¾ lengths back in third. Casual Trick, the Gulfstream Park Derby runner-up and 9-5 favorite, faded to eighth in the field of nine.

El Padrino entered the race off a third-place finish in the Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 26 when he was beaten by less than a length by O’Prado Again.