2015 Florida Derby Preview
The final Road to the Kentucky Derby race on Saturday, March 28 will the Grade 1 Florida Derby. The other two races, the Group 2 UAE Derby and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, will have been settled by the time the Florida Derby goes off.
The Florida Derby will be at a mile and an eighth with 9 three year olds racing for a purse of $1,000,000. As with the other 2 Derby Preps on Saturday, the top four finishers will receive points towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. The winner will receive 100 points, second place will receive 40 points, third place will receive 20 points, and 10 points will be awarded to the fourth place finisher.
The Grade 1 Florida Derby is carded as the 14th and last race on the Gulfstream Park card on Saturday with a scheduled post time of 6:48 PM Eastern Time. Free past performances can be found here.
1. Ami’s Flatter (8-1 Morning Line) – He started his career late in 2014 with a win in his debut at Woodbine going 7 furlongs. A move down south to Gulfstream saw him enter the Mucho Macho Man and finish second by 1 3/4 lengths. He was then shipped to Tampa for the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis, but he ran an even fourth. Despite that fourth place finish, he was sent back to Tampa for the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby where he ran a solid second behind runaway winner Carpe Diem. If the track is playing kind to off the pace types, he could sneak into the exacta.
2. Jack Tripp (20-1 ML) – He started his career on turf, but the turf career was short-lived after he finished sixth beaten 5 3/4 lengths. He then went to dirt for his next two races at Keeneland where he was second and then broke his maiden in his third start by 5 lengths. Since then he has been entered in four straight optional claiming races, but he has yet to finish better than third. Pass on his chances in this race.
3. Indianaughty (20-1 ML) – He started his career across the Atlantic in Great Britain with a third place finish over the polytrack at Kempton Park. He won his second start by 5 lengths at Linfield, again on polytrack. He was subsequently sent to South Florida and he made his turf debut a winning one by a head. Buoyed by that good performance, he was entered in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby and he failed to make an impact after battling for the lead. It is hard to endorse him here after that last race.
4. Itsaknockout (2-1 ML) – He has stayed here in South Florida for his first three races. He won his debut by a nose and then won an optional claiming event by 5 1/4 lengths. After those two wins, he went into the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and finished second by 2 3/4 lengths. However, he was awarded the victory controversially after Upstart was disqualified and placed second. He will be sitting just off the pace in this race once again is one of the obvious choices to win.
5. Quimet (20-1 ML) – He started his career with back-to-back turf races, but failed to do much in those events and was given a nearly three month break. He came back to run on dirt at Gulfstream and won his comeback race by half a length in a $50,000 maiden claiming event and then finished second by 1 1/2 lengths in an optional claiming going a mile and an eighth. He then ran in the Islamorada Handicap, but was decimated by 16 lengths while finishing fourth. It is hard to like his chances in this spot unless all the favorites do not fire.
6. My Point Exactly (30-1 ML) – His first race came here at Gulfstream with a 5 furlong dash. He finished seventh by 6 1/4 lengths and then was switched to dirt where he was sixth by 7 1/2 lengths. He broke through in his third start when he was given a route of ground. He won the mile race by 10 lengths and was then shipped to Louisiana Downs for the listed Sunday Silence Stakes. That race was on turf and he prevailed by a neck. He has not been seen since that race on September 6 and will probably need this race.
7. Materiality (7-2 ML) – The second Todd Pletcher entrant comes in this race undefeated, just as his other horse Itsaknockout. He broke his maiden by 4 1/4 lengths on January 11 going six furlongs in the slop and was then given nearly two months off. The short break did not adversely affect him as he won the Islamorada Handicap by 5 3/4 lengths. He did that in his first start around two turns as well and is a serious threat to the top two choices.
8. Dekabrist (30-1 ML) – The most experienced runner in this race with 13 starts, he has gotten plenty of experience in stakes races. He was entered in the Grade 3 Lecomte on January 17, but finished eighth by 12 lengths and was then entered three more times between January 23 and February 28. He did not hit the board in those three races and he will probably be lucky to finish in the top half of the field in the Florida Derby.
9. Upstart (8-5 ML) – The morning line favorite has six career starts to his resume and he won his first two in New York bred races. He then entered the Grade 1 Champagne and finished second by 2 1/2 lengths. He parlayed that into a start in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he finished third. Since then, he was moved to Gulfstream and he won the Grade 2 Holy Bull by 5 1/2 lengths. He won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth over Itsaknockout, but the stewards judged Upstart to have bothered him in the stretch and placed him second. He is a deserving favorite and must be included in any tickets.
This is a three horse race for the win and place. #9 Upstart has been ultra consistent in his career (6 starts, 3 wins, 2 seconds, and a third) while #4 Itsaknockout and #7 Materiality are both undefeated. It is hard to envision any of these three not winning and two of these horses not getting in the exacta. The only other real threat is #1 Ami’s Flatter if the pace is hot and the track is playing fair or kind to closers.
4. Ami’s Flatter
Check back on Saturday night for a recap of the Grade 1 Florida Derby.