Well-regarded as a 2-year-old, El Padrino stamped himself a top candidate for the 2012 classics with a hard-fought victory by a nose over Mark Valeski in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on February 25. He finished fourth in the Florida Derby before an unplaced finish following a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby five weeks later.
Let's Go Stable purchased the son of Pulpit for $210,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale. The colt ran well in his debut at Saratoga in August 2011 and finished second by three-quarters of a length. He was a decisive winner in his next start in September and was a very competitive third as the favorite in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes on November 26. In his return to action as a 3-year-old on January 29, he prepped for his win in the Risen Star with a 2-length allowance victory at Gulfstream.