Las Vegas, NV - Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida will be the scene of six graded stakes races on a busy Saturday, March 30. This biggest of which is the Grade 1 Florida Derby - a 1 1/8 mile race for three year olds looking for the winner's share of the generous $1 million purse and the valuable 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in May.
A field of 10 Kentucky Derby hopefuls will line up in the Florida Derby in race 12 on Gulfstream's stacked Saturday schedule. Post time is 6:19 PM. Here is a look at the past performances of all 10 entries for this most important, points gathering Grade 1 Derby. The top 3 have garnered most of the attention ahead of this big race - will an underdog emerge?
2013 Florida Derby Race Favorites
Itsmyluckyday - has four stakes wins in nine career starts for trainer Edward Plesa but is coming off his most impressive - a win over Shanghai Bobby by two lengths last time out in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes here January 26. His other stakes wins include the minor Gulfstream Park Derby by 6 3/4 lengths here on January 1, the Foolish Pleasure Stakes and the Tipton Turf Dash Stakes. He had a fourth in the Dania Beach Stakes December 15 and a sixth in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot in November. Itsmyluckyday has two straight wins on this track heading into this weekend, has posted some impressive workouts recently and is the morning line favorite for the Florida Derby.
Shanghai Bobby - Eclipse Award winner for two year old males, Todd Pletcher's Shanghai Bobby looks to get back to the winner's circle after his only career loss - a second place finish last time out in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes behind Itsmyluckyday. He had five starts and five impressive wins before the Holy Bull including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a pair of stakes - the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champaign in October and the Grade 2 Three Chimney's Hopeful. Shanghai Bobby is expected to be a name in the forefront in the Kentucky Derby and a win Saturday will go a long way in establishing himself as a solid favorite for the Run for the Roses. Distance however is a major question mark heading into this weekend.
Orb - Claude R. McGaughey III trained colt enters the Florida Derby on a three race win streak - an impressive score last time out in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes (largely because of the omissions of Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby for that race) here February 23 followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this track January 26 and a MSW win at Aqueduct November 24. He has those three wins and a third place finish in his six career starts and enters in some superb form. John Velazquez will get the mount.
Florida Derby 2013 | Remaining Field Entries
Pick Of The Litter - Dale Romans colt broke maiden last time out in his second career start - on this track February 27 after a ninth in a MSW race here in his debut February 2 by 7 1/2 lengths. He is 6-1 on the morning line despite his lack of experience.
Merit Man - was two-for-two to start his career -the Tim Conway Stakes October 6 by 5 1/2 lengths and a maiden score in his debut at Del Mar in September. Since then he has been equally as good - a nice second by a nose as 1-2 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint was followed by yet another win in the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream January 1. Last time out was his worst career performance - a fourth in the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes here February 2. Merit Man has three wins, a second by a nose and a fourth place finish in five career starts - he will be looking for a strong bounce back this week.
Florida Derby betting at Gulfstream Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Are You Kidding Me - has seven career starts for trainer Roger Attfield. After a pedestrian start to his career Are You Kidding Me won two straight before an impressive second in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine September 15. Last time out was a second in an Allowance by a nose to the solid Noble Tune at Tampa Bay Downs March 9 after an unflattering fifth in the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity October 6 at Keeneland.
Frac Daddy - Kenneth McPeek trained colt has four career starts with a win in a Maiden Special Weight by 9 3/4 lengths at Churchill Downs in November and two second place finishes - a MSW in his debut in October and a very close second to Uncaptured in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes November 24. Last time out was a disappointing sixth in the Grade 3 Holy Bull here January 26 maybe due to the throat ulcer he had in that race.
Narvaez - will race in stakes company for the first time Saturday and has four wins in five career starts. Last time out was one of those wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming score here March 9.
Indy's Illusion - Barclay Tagg trained colt started his career with three MSW races in New York where he registered a win in his third start and one second place finish. He followed that with a fifth in his stakes debut - the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct in November and has raced two Allowance Optional Claiming races at this track in 2013. Last time out was a second March 2 after a third place finish January 26.
Pontiff - Dale Romans pupil has raced just twice in his career - both MSW races here. Last time out was a second February 16 to follow a ninth in his debut January 5.