A full field of a dozen will line up in Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) led by the 6-5 morning line favorite Tiz the Law for trainer Barclay Tagg.
Despite the Coronavirus crisis racing has gone on at the Hallandale Beach racetrack despite calls from the Vice Mayor to close down.
The list of tracks still running, all spectator free is shrinking. Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Fonner Park, Will Rogers Downs, Los Alamitos, Remington Park and Oaklawn Park are still in action.
With Gulfstream Park announcing a mandatory payout of the Jackpot 6 for Saturday, speculation is that could be their final day of racing. The championship meeting was scheduled to close on Sunday but racing at the track was to continue.
Jockey Javier Castellano has tested positive for Covid-19 according to a tweet on Thursday morning posted by his agent John Panagot. The tweet was then deleted, and he reposted an edited version an hour later. The jockey has not had a mount at Gulfstream Park since March 15. He will be off his mounts this weekend.
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The Florida Derby is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race and has been a key prep for the Run for the Roses.
Among the recent Kentucky Derby winners that used the Florida Derby as a final prep include Always Dreaming (2017), Nyquist (2016), Orb (2013), Big Brown (2008) and Barbaro (2006).
Last year Maximum Security used the Florida Derby as a prep but was disqualified for interference after crossing the wire in front in the first jewel of the Triple Crown.
The 14-race card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday features six supporting stakes. The action will be televised on FS1 and possibly on the NBC Sports Network as well as TVG.
Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 14 The Florida Derby (G1) Post time 6:36 ET
5 Gouverneur Morris 8-1
9 Independence Hall 9-2
12 Ete Indien 4-1
7 Tiz the Law 6-5
The Pletcher trainee makes his second start off a 4 ½ month break here after a sharp win versus Alw-1 optional claimers last out at Tampa Bay Downs going one mile and 40 yards. The colt rolled to a nine-length maiden win in his debut in the slop at Saratoga last September. He then shipped to Keeneland where he ran well in a runner up finish to Maxfield in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1). The third-place finisher in that race was Enforceable who won the Lecomte (G3) and was second in the Risen Star (G2) before running fifth in the Louisiana Derby (G2). Our top pick should be tighter second off the bench for Pletcher who has won this race a record five times. In addition, five of the last nine winners of this race exited allowance races. He is bred to handle nine furlongs, by Constitution out of a stakes placed Unbridled’s Song mare that has dropped one other foal to race, stakes winner Final Jeopardy ($219,833). Looks as if we should get a square price on this colt.
This colt suffered his first career loss last out in a runner up finish in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs behind Sole Volante. That foe came back to run a good second in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his next outing on March 7. The colt was really good going a one turn mile, winning the Nashua (G3) by 12 ¼ lengths and the Jerome by four lengths. The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and has the look and pedigree of a runner that can go nine furlongs. He is by Constitution out of a Cape Town mare that has dropped seven other winners including two other stakes winners, top earner Black Onyx ($418,860). The Trombetta trainee should work out a good trip forwardly placed and that is where you want to be going nine furlongs over this surface.
The 10 post was not a problem last out in the Fountain of Youth (G2) as he broke sharply, took command and went gate to wire in a good looking effort, drawing away to win by 8 ½ lengths. He set the early fractions and was no match for Tiz the Law two back in the Holy Bull (G3). The Biancone trainee has moved forward in each start and now goes nine furlongs for the first time drawing an even worse post today. He is by Summer Front out of a Mizzen Mast mare, her first foal to race. I am not too worried about the pedigree but there is some other early zip in here and the early pace should be honest.
WIN: Gouverneur Morris to win at 5-1 or better.
EXACTA: 5,9 / 5,7,9,12
TRIFECTA: 5,9 / 5,7,9,12 / 5,6,7,9,12