Florida Derby 2017

The road to the Kentucky Derby runs through Gulfstream Park and the Florida Derby has developed into one of the most important prep races for the Run for the Roses. The race is traditionally held towards the end of March or in early April and it is run at a distance of a mile and an eighth on the dirt main track. The race holds Grade 1 status, a purse of $1 million and is a top tier prep race in the Kentucky Derby points system.

The Florida Derby was inaugurated in 1952 and is one of the most prestigious and most anticipated races held every year at Gulfstream Park.

Florida Derby Odds

Even if you cannot make it to the races at Gulfstream Park to watch and wager on the Florida Derby in person, you can take advantage of exclusive promotions, rebates and wagering incentives to make sure you get the best odds through one of these online racebooks and not miss a moment of the excitement. 

 

Florida Derby Past Performances

Florida Derby Past Performances

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Florida Derby Past Performances

The Florida Derby has one of the richest histories of any Kentucky Derby prep race and has become one of the most important stepping stones on the Triple Crown trail. In addition to producing numerous Kentucky Derby winners, the race has also showcased some of the best three-year-olds of the year even if they did not wind up having success in the Triple Crown. For any racing fan, the Florida Derby is a race that cannot be missed on the calendar.

The stakes record was set in 1957 by Gen. Duke and has withstood the test of time – the Florida Derby record time of 1:46.80 stands to this day.

There have been six jockeys to win three editions of the Florida Derby – Bill Shoemaker (1954, 1963, 1964), Bill Hartack (1957, 1958, 1959), Jerry Bailey (1992, 2003, 2005), Mike Smith (1994, 1995, 1996), Edgar Prado (2002, 2006, 2007) and John Velazquez (2009, 2013, 2015). Of these riders, Smith, Prado and Velazquez are still actively competing and could still add to their totals.

There are three trainers who have saddled three winners – John Veitch (1978, 1985, 1988), Nick Zito (2005, 2010, 2011) and Todd Pletcher (2007, 2014, 2015). Both Zito and Pletcher are still active and often have competitive strings of horses in Florida so could certainly add to their record.

Future Kentucky Derby Winners

Since the first running of the Florida Derby, the race has produced fourteen winners who have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. In total, there have been nineteen horses who have finished in the trifecta in the Florida Derby who have then won the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

Some of the recent Kentucky Derby champions who also won the Florida Derby include Barbaro (2006), Big Brown (2008), Orb (2013) and Nyquist (2015). In the 2015 Florida Derby, the reigning Breeders’ Cup winner and Eclipse Award winning two-year-old Nyquist silenced his critics after shipping outside of California and remained undefeated with a strong victory over the highly-regarded Mohaymen. He went on to win the Kentucky Derby impressively before losing the Preakness and retiring at the end of the year.

One of the most impressive winners of the Florida Derby did not actually go on to win the Kentucky Derby. Holy Bull, arguably the greatest Florida-bred horse of all time, was a Grade 1 winning juvenile and returned to his home state to prepare for the Triple Crown. After winning the Hutcheson Stakes, he faltered and threw in an uncharacteristically poor performance in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. He rebounded to demolish a full field in the Florida Derby, cementing himself as a favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

He won the Blue Grass Stakes in his next start and ultimately finished twelfth in the Run for the Roses. However, he won the remainder of his starts that year four of which were Grade 1 events – the Met Mile, the Travers, the Haskell Invitational and the Woodward. That was enough to earn the Eclipse Award for three-year-old male and take home Horse of the Year honors. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.