The 66th version of the Florida Derby takes place this Saturday and Mother Nature is going to cooperate in fine fashion with sunny weather and temperatures in the lower 80’s. – What more could you ask for except some free selections and pick-four with a guaranteed pool of $750,000. Looks like a solid race card on tap, and this is the best time of year to be a horse player ! – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !
The Florida Derby is on a pretty good run of producing Kentucky Derby winners in recent years. Four of the last 11 Florida Derby winners have gone on to wear the roses. Barbaro started the stretch of success in 2006 before tragedy struck in the Preakness. Two years later Big Brown dominated the Derby and Preakness before forgetting to show up for the Belmont. There was a break until 2013 when Orb was a somewhat surprising Kentucky Derby winner. And last year Nyquist pulled off the Florida-Kentucky double before bombing in the Preakness. He was the first undefeated Derby winner since Big Brown. – With $1 million dollars on the line in this 1 1/8 test, you can bet the three-year-olds will have their mind on business.
Race #10 – The G-2 Honey Fox Stakes – 1 mile on the turf – 4:25 pm EST
#5 – Celestine = Jose Ortiz in the irons for Christophe Clement and they are winning 60% and 80% ITM the past two months. She has been vacationing at Palm Meadows and this daughter of Scat Daddy is making her second off the shelf where the barn wins at a (19%) clip. She is 7/7 ITM over the GP oval and 7/7 ITM at the distance. Ortiz is one of the best turf riders in the nation winning (28%) and should sit close to keep an eye on the pace setters.
#6 – Mississippi Delta = Jose Lezcano is the reinsman for Mark Casse and this daughter of Giant’s Causeway is 3/3 ITM with two wins. She is making her second off the shelf and won her coming out party for 2017.
#7 – Linda = Julien Leparoux in the saddle for Ian Wilkes and she comes in off a 4 month layoff after a win at CD in the G-2 Ms. Revere. She has the look of a nice closer and if the pace is hot she’ll come running late in the lane under a (19%) winning turf rider.
Race #11 – The G-2 Gulfstream Oaks – 1 1/16 – 4:57 pm EST
#7 – Nonna Bella = John Velasquez has the call aboard a speedy daughter of Stay Thirsty. She hails from the Todd Pletcher barn and rider and trainer are winning at a red-hot (37%) as a team. Catch her if you can as she enjoys the added distance today.
#3 – Summer Luck = Patrick Husbands in the saddle for Mark Casse and she ran into problems last out in the G-2 Davona Dale. She looks to want more ground and will come stalking after the action.
#6 – Salty = Joel Rosario in the driver’s seat for Mark Casse and she gets second time lasix and stretches out in distance. Her works are impressive and she will come calling when the pace starts to take a toll.
Race #12 – The $100,000 Cutler Bay – 1 mile on the turf – 5:32 pm EST
#3 – Shiraz = Javier Castellano in the saddle for Mike Maker and the New York-bred goes from dirt-to-turf (20%) and ships back from a sprint at Aqueduct.
#6 – Inheritthewind = Leparoux for Casse and this son of Tapit won his only start on the GP weeds and looks to take it up the ladder.
#7 – Sir Sebastian = Paco Lopez is the pilot and is a very talented turf rider winning (18%) and (47%) ITM. He is 3/4 ITM over the oval and looks to be a versatile sort.
#8 – Dover Cliffs = Jose Ortiz in the irons for Clement and the rider is the most versatile rider in the saddle dictating the pace or closing like the wind. This son of English Channel cuts back from a 1 1/16, and should be a dangerous factor.
Race #13 – The G-2 Pan American Stakes – 1 1/2 – 6:06 pm EST
#2 – Sadler’s Joy = Julien Leparoux for Tom Albertrani. The son of Kitten’s Joy has been off for two months and his strong finish in the G-3 McKnight gives good vibes he’ll be a player.
#3 – Taghleeb= Jose Ortiz in the irons for Mike Maker and he is 6/7 ITM over the oval. He’s been off for a couple months and he fires well right off the bench.
#5 – Patterson Cross = Jose Lezcano in the driver’s seat for Bill Mott and this son of Arch is 4/4 ITM over the strip. Lezcano is a solid turf rider and he and Mr. Mott can spring up and score at any asking.
Race #14 – The G-1 Florida Derby – 1 1/8 – 6:40 pm EST
#11 – Gunnevera = This son of Dialed In is the one to beat. Javier Castellano in the saddle for Antonio Sano. He was ultra impressive winning the Fountain of Youth and looks to stamp his ticket for Louisville. He is 4/4 ITM over the course and looks to notch another win but will have to overcome the #11 post.
#9 – Battalion Runner = John Velasquez for Todd Pletcher and this son of Unbridled’s Song is 2/2 with wins over the strip. He was a $700,000 Keeneland sales purchase and has a versatile style. He gets the acid test today and if he is half as good as last out he’ll be a player.
A great day of wagering is just ahead and Winning Ponies will be locked and loaded for the big day. There is a $750,000 guaranteed pick-four and a late pick-five with a $500,000 guarantee. The Florida Derby carries a $1 million purse and 170 Kentucky Derby points with 100 to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth. – This weekend is sure to clear up some of the murkiness of the Kentucky Derby picture. Use these as an appetizer for the big day and be sure to download your Winning Ponies E-Z Win Forms for the complete picture on how the races will take shape.