Florida Derby Preview and Odds
The 2017 winner of the Kentucky Derby, Always Dreaming, qualified for that race last year by winning the Florida Derby, and it's entirly possible the 2018 winner will come out of the Florida Derby again. The race offers Derby qualifying points on a 100-40-20-10 scale, and several horses have a chance to clinch a Derby spot with a top three finish. They'll be racing 1 1/8 miles on the Gulfstream dirt.
Always Dreaming was trained by Todd Pletcher, and Pletcher has the morning line favorite on Saturday with Audible (9-5) who is following a similar path as his stablemate did last year. He ran three times in 2017, with a pair of wins, and then made his 2018 stakes debut by winning the (G2) Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream in early February.
Loaded with natural speed, he sat just off an honest pace in the Holy Bull to the half-mile mark and then picked up the tempo, moving to the lead with ease by the six-furlong mark before pulling away down the lane to win by 5 1/2 lengths over a solid field. The competititon keeps getting bettter, however, and he'll need to run as good or better to boost his record to two-for-two in stakes races. The Holy Bull win was only worth 10 points, and he likely needs to run first or second here to book his ticket to Churchill Downs.
Speed Burner Promises Fulfilled Presents a Challenge
He's probably going to get plenty of pace to run at here, and one he is going to have to try and catch is Promises Fulfilled (3-1) who went wire-to-wire to win the (G2) Fountain of Youth Stakes four weeks ago at odds of 18-1. With hindsight, he was a huge overlay in a race that featured a heavy favorite in 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic, who finished third, 4 1/2 lengths back of Promises Fulfilled on that day.
Prior to the FOY he capped off his two-year-old season by running third in the (G2) Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, a race that included six horses that are currently sitting in the top 11 on the 2018 Derby leaderboard. With that win, he has enough points to get into the Derby already, but he's a serious threat to add to his points total here.
The wildcard in the race is Catholic Boy, third choice in the ML at 7-2. He started his career racing on turf - he was fourth in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf - but put himself into the Derby conversation when he made his first start in dirt a winning one, taking the (G2) Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct last December.
He made his 2018 debut running second in the (G2) Tampa Bay Derby, and while he put up a good performance, there is some concern that he had every chance to get past the winner, Flameaway, who is considered to in the second tier of Kentucky Derby contenders and couldn't do it. However, that may have simply been a case of Catholic Boy needing to get back to racing form after a long layoff, and he remains a solid top-three choice.
Along with Promises Fulfilled, another that has shown lots of early speed is Strike Power (4-1) who will be coming running at the break from the inside gate. He won his first two races, including the (G3) Swale Stakes at Gulfstream by leading all the way, but he couldn't get to Promises Fulfilled in the FOY, finishing second. His sire was a champion sprinter, and he faces a big challenge as the distance increases.
The Florida Derby goes Saturday, March 31 from Gulfstream Park in Florida. It's race number 14 of 14 on a card that is loaded with excellent stakes races, and follows the (G2) Florida Oaks, which is a qualifying race for the 2018 Kentucky Oaks. Post time for the Florida Derby is 6:36 PM Pacific.
Entries w/ ML Odds
- Strike Power (4-1)
- Millionaire Runner (50-1)
- Tip Sheet (30-1)
- Promises Fulfilled (3-1)
- Storm Runner (20-1)
- Catholic Boy (7-2)
- Hofburg (20-1)
- Audible (9-5)
- Mississippi (12-1)
Florida Derby Picks
- 1) #4 - Promises Fulfilled
- 2) #8 - Audible
- 3) #6 - Catholic Boy
- 4) #1 - Strike Power
You can bet the Florida Derby and Florida Oaks and all the excellent Kentucky Derby and Oaks qualifying races coming up over the next four weeks with an account at Bovada's top-rated online racebook.
Category : Betting Picks
Tag : Horse Racing
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