The Grade 1 $1 million Florida Derby brings together a field of ten seeking a $600,000 pay day and 100 points, and the question handicappers have to ask is whether a longshot has a chance for a lucky day.
All the talk this week has been about “the big three.” Itsmyluckyday is the 2-1 morning line favorite and is coming off a sharp score in the Grade 2 Holy Bull on Jan. 26. Shanghai Bobby is the 2012 juvenile champion and is the 5-2 second choice. Grade 2 Fountain of Youth winner Orb is the third choice at 3-1.
It is pretty tough to get past those three talented three-year-olds, but finding value might be tough, so I am going to swing for the fences with Frac Daddy as you can see below.
Gulfstream Park has a stellar card on tap this afternoon, with seven stakes on the 13-race card. In addition, Fair Grounds offers up the Grade 2 $1 million Louisiana Derby, also with 100 points up for grabs for the winner. There are six supporting stakes on the 13-race card.
The action starts early this morning with the Dubai World Cup card, the richest night in racing featuring the Group 1 $10 million Dubai World Cup.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot Aqueduct is running today too. Not to be outdone, the Big A carded the $75,000 Broadway for state breds that drew an overflowing field of five. Well, okay the Big A is badly overshadowed this afternoon.
The action starts early with the Dubai card getting underway at 9:10 ET, with the Dubai World Cups set to go at 2:10 ET.
The Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby will be telecast live on the NBC Sport Network. The one-hour telecast gets underway at 6:00 ET.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday features my selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for 15 races today including the UAE Derby, Dubai World Cup, Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby and my strongest plays from aqueduct, Gulfstream park, and Fair Grounds.
I also have my full card reports available for both Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.
Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 12 The Florida Derby G1 (Post time 6:19 ET)
5 Frac Daddy 20-1
6 Orb 3-1
3 Itsmyluckyday 2-1
1 Shanghai Bobby 5-2
Analysis: Frac Daddy is going to get overlooked here after checking in a distant sixth in the Holy Bull (G3) behind a couple of these more highly regarded foes her faces again today. The Ken McPeek trainee showed plenty of promise as a juvenile with a good looking maiden win at Churchill Downs last fall in his second career start, and then was beaten just a neck in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) in his first go against winners. The winner of that race was Uncaptured, who ran well in a runner up finish in the Spiral (G3) in his last outing. The colt has been working sharply in the mornings and I am willing to give this guy another look here at generous odds. By Scat Daddy out of a Skip Away mare, he should be able to handle nine furlongs and should get a good pace set up.
Orb made a good late rally to win the Fountain of Youth (G2) last out to punch his ticket to Louisville. Unlike Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby, this guy does not need to earn any more points. His win last out was one of the sharpest wins by a Derby contender and he should get a good pace to close into. The colt is in good hands with the Shug barn and is one of two in here that already has a win at nine furlongs and is bred to go long, by Malibu Moon out of an Unbridled mare.
Itsmyluckyday owns the top last out speed fig in his good looking win in the Holy Bull (G3), showing his big fig in the Gulfstream Park Derby was no fluke. The third place finisher in the race was Clearly Now, who came back to win the Swale (G3) in his next outing on March 2 with a 96 Beyer. The way the colt finished indicated he looks as if he will be able to handle the extra ground here. The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and should get a good trip sitting just off the pace. We are going to need to see more than the 2-1 morning line; the price is on the light side.
Shanghai Bobby set the early fractions in the Holy Bull and could not hold off the winner in the stretch. The colt won all five of his starts as a juvenile including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) where he was aided by an inside speed bias. He could get cooked here as there is some early zip in here to go with him. He will be there inside the final furlong but I just do not think he really wants nine furlongs and will have to settle for a minor share and the 5-2 morning line sure looks like an underlay.
WIN: #5 to win at 10-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 1,3,5,6
TRI: 5,6 / 1,3,5,6 / 1,3,5,6,8
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