Today it finally feels like Spring as nine hopeful 3YO’s attempting to stamp their ticket for the Kentucky Derby. The Florida Derby is a major step and certainly key Kentucky Derby prep. The KD winner has come from this prep on many occasions. In post-position order:
- 4-1 Strike Power: Marching pattern. Solid Marching pattern, as he improved to a 5.7 Best in a solid first time trying a route after two fast sprints and matching the figure of #4 Promises Fulfilled as he was 2-3 wide and finished fast at the finish. Any further improvement and he can beat this field. Very dangerous and my upset pick!
- 50-1 Millionaire Run: Circle Back pattern. He posted his modest 17.7 Best while finishing a 4th in an optional claimer a ½ length behind #3 Tip Sheet. His connections have modest stats and he doesn’t appear classy enough. Needs a huge step forward.
- 30-1 Tip Sheet: Slight Circle Back pattern. He had to alter course in his last and closed for 3rd in an optional claimer. Was soundly trounced by #8 Audible by 20 lengths in the Holy Bull. He ran a 13.1 Best in January finishing one placing behind #9 Mississippi. Would need major improvement today.
- 3-1 Promises Fulfilled: Rest Then Best. He ran a 5.7 Best (like #1 Strike Power) going wire to wire and that’s the best in the field in this race. If not challenged today he could repeat but it’s unlikely #8 Audible will let him get away to an easy lead for long. He doesn’t need to do too much to make the Kentucky Derby field, if anything, so he may not be cranked for this one. Major contender.
- 20-1 Storm Runner: Slight regression in last. He ran a 13.4 Best two races back beating #9 Mississippi in an optional claimer and barely regressed to a 13.8 in his last in the Fountain of Youth. While he should be on the improve he would need an incredible race today. He has no Derby points and need a top finish but unlikely.
- 7-2 Catholic Boy: Solid Marching Pattern. This three-time winner has improved every time he has run and it has been on grass three times then dirt the last two running a 10.9 Best in his last finishing 2nd in the Grade 3 SF Davis at Tampa. A fast pace could set him up for the win as he can close brilliantly. Major contender.
- 20-1 Hofburg: Marching pattern. He’s only run twice and broke his maiden in his last running a 13.0 Best at 1 1/16 miles at this track. Bill Mott trains and he is great at getting a young horse ready. Could be anything. Keep your eye on him before the race to see any signs of nerves. Use in exotics.
- 9-5 Audible: Solid Marching pattern. Coming off three straight wins and a 6.9 Best, I have him in the Kentucky Derby future pool and he needs the points. He is a major contender and most likely favorite. No knocks.
- 12-1 Mississippi: Regression in last. Ran a 13.5 in last after a solid 10.9 Best in the race prior to that one. He has tactical speed and if he relaxes behind the front runners he could run well and hit the board.
My pick is Strike Power who has improved with each try and increased distance.