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Materiality Holds Off Upstart In The Florida Derby

Materiality holds off Upstart to win the Grade 1 Florida Derby (Photo: Kenny Martin, Coglianese)
Materiality holds off Upstart to win the Grade 1 Florida Derby (Photo: Kenny Martin, Coglianese)

Materiality Holds Off Upstart In The Florida Derby

In what ended up being a two horse race, it was Materiality that won the Grade 1 Florida Derby over Upstart by a length and a half.

Jack Tripp took the lead out of the gate with a good break, but was soon taken on by Materiality with Upstart a length back in third. Itsaknockout settled in fourth, Quimet was in fifth, My Point Exactly was in sixth, and Ami’s Flatter was seventh. Indianaughty was eighth and the trailer was Dekabrist by more than 11 lengths.

On the backstretch Jack Tripp was still prompted by Materiality and Upstart was three wide. Quimet was fourth, My Point Exactly was fifth, Ami’s Flatter was sixth, and Itsaknockout was back to seventh. The trailing duo remained Indianuaghty and Dekabrist.

On the far turn the race turned into a match race between Materiality and Upstart as the other horses failed to make up any ground.

Throughout the stretch it was Materiality on the inside who repelled every attack from Upstart. He eventually pulled away to win by a length and a half. It was over 12 lengths back to Ami’s Flatter in third and Itsaknockout finished fourth.

The rest of the field, in order of finish, was Dekabrist, Indianaughty, My Point Exactly, Quimet, and Jack Tripp. The results chart can be found here via Equibase.

Materiality is by Afleet Alex out of the Langfuhr mare Wildwood Flower. He was ridden by John Velazquez and is trained by Todd Pletcher. He ran the one mile and one eighth in 1:52.30 while paying $5.60 to win, $3.00 to place, and $2.40 to show.

Materiality went off as the second choice at 9-5 behind Upstart who was even money.

For the win, Materiality earned his first 100 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Upstart earned 40 points to bring his total to 76, Ami’s Flatter earned 20 points for a total of 40, and Itsaknockout earned 10 points for a total of 60.

The Florida Derby was the third Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race on Saturday. The first was the Group 2 UAE Derby and the other was the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues next week with the Grade 1 Wood Memorial from Aqueduct, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita, and the Grade 1 Blue Grass from Keeneland.

2015 Florida Derby Preview

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.

1. Upstart

2. Materiality

3. Itsaknockout

4. Ami’s Flatter

Check back on Saturday night for a recap of the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Metaboss Storms Home In El Camino

Metaboss was all alone at the finish line to win by 2 1/2 lengths (Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography)
Metaboss was all alone at the finish line to win by 2 1/2 lengths (Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography)

Metaboss Storms Home In El Camino

A fast closing finish put Metaboss in the winner’s circle of the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. The three year old won by 2 1/2 lengths over Cross the Line and Conquest Typhoon.

The race began with multiple horses going for the lead. Indianaughty and Ernest Shackleton both went for the lead and Conquest Typhoon only a length off those two while three wide. Donji was in fourth, Cross the line was in fifth, and Stand and Salute was sixth with those three about 2 lengths off the lead. Mischief Clem, Metaboss, Soul Driver, and Harmonic were the final quartet.

Despite the trio of horses battling for the lead, there was not much pace to the race. The opening quarter went in 25.29 while the half mile was timed in 49.25. The half mile was still the top three batting for the lead with Mischief Clem making a middle move into fourth. Stand and Salute was fifth, Cross the Line was sixth, Soul Driver was seventh, Metaboss was still in eighth, Donji was ninth (and dropping out), and Harmonic was in last by 7 lengths.

On the far turn the race was blown wide open with nearly every horse (save Donji) in contention with a chance to win. Conquest Typhoon was still battling for the lead as they turned for home with horses lining up seven across the track as they were approaching the final furlong.

Eventual winner Metaboss made a sweeping move that began on the started turn and ended with him in front by 2 1/2 lengths. Cross the Line had some trouble in the stretch, but got up for second by a head over Conquest Typhoon. Harmonic came from last to grab fourth as the second longest shot on the board.

The remaining order of finish was Soul Driver, Stand and Salute, Mischief Clem, Ernest Shackleton, Indianaughty, and Donji.

Metaboss is a three year old son of Street Boss out of the Free House mare Spinning Yarns. He was ridden by Alex Solis and is trained by Jeff Bonde. Metaboss paid $15.20 to win, $7.80 to place, and $4.80 to show. The final running time was 1:49.92 for the one and one eighth miles.

Metaboss earned 10 points for the victory, Cross the Line earned 4 points, Conquest Typhoon earned 2 points, and Harmonic earned one point. Only Conquest Typhoon had perviously earned points towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard and he now has 6 points total.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues on Monday with the grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

2015 El Camino Real Derby Preview

2015 El Camino Real Derby Preview

The Road to the 2015 Kentucky Derby continues on Saturday with the 2015 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley, California. A field of 10 horses is entered with the chance to earn up to 10 points towards the Kentucky Leaderboard.

The 10 horses will be going 1 mile and one eighth over Golden Gate’s main track (Tapeta synthetic surface). This is a grade 3 event with a purse of $200,000. Post time for the 2015 El Camino Real Derby is at 6:50 PM Eastern Time and is carded as the seventh of nine races.

A look at each of the ten entrants into the El Camino Real Derby is below. Free past performances can be found here.

1. Donji (30-1 Morning Line) – He sits as the longest shot on the morning line and for good reason. He is the only horse to have not broken his maiden. All 7 of those races took place at the maiden $30,000 level with two second place finishes and a third. Pass on his chances in this race.

2. Indianaughty (4-1 ML) – He began his career in Great Britain where he finished third and first in his first two races. After a 5 month break he was seen again at Gulfstream last time out and he got up to win by a head at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. He should be fitter after that last race and will be closing late. Will he be closing too late though?

3. Metaboss (8-1 ML) – He broke his maiden last time out with the switch to Rafael Bejarano as the jockey. That race was at this 1 1/8 miles distance where he had a strong surge in the stretch to win by a length and a half over the Santa Anita turf course. There is always the worry of how a horse will handle a new surface, but given his turf performances, this surface should not be too much of a problem. He is an intriguing horse in this spot, though Alex Solis will have the mount in this race.

4. Ernest Shackleton (12-1 ML) – He started his career in Ireland where it took him 4 starts to break his maiden in September and did so in a dead heat. After 3 months off, he was shipped to Santa Anita where he finished 7th of 11 in the Eddie Logan. He rebounded last time out to win by a half length in an optional claiming $80,000. The feeling here is that he is a step behind the top horses at this level.

5. Cross The Line (5-1 ML) – He has 4 starts and all have come here at Golden Gate. When stretched out to a mile on December 26, he crushed the maiden field by 4 1/2 lengths. He followed that up with another victory in the Cal Derby on January 17 where he beat horses that he will face on Saturday in Soul Driver and Stand and Salute. He is hard to ignore here in this spot.

6. Harmonic (20-1 ML) – He started his career in Southern California where he ran off the board to begin his career. His third start was a disaster when he clipped heels and fell. Unhurt, he returned a month later to finish third by 2 lengths. He broke his maiden here at Golden Gate by a length and three quarters under Russell Baze. He may outrun his odds, but he is still up against some of the top contenders in this race.

7. Soul Driver (6-1 ML) – His first start was an 11th place finish before a switch to turf and two turns woke him up in his second start. He won that start by a head before finishing fifth in the grade 3 Cecil B. Demille at Del Mar. His last 2 races have produced back-to-back second place finishes, including the Cal Derby at Golden Gate last time out. He is another in here with a chance to win.

8. Stand and Salute (6-1 ML) – He is another one who exits the Cal Derby. He finished third that day by 2 lengths and won the Gold Rush two starts back at one mile here. He will be in good position and should have a say in the outcome. Yet another horse who can win this race.

9. Conquest Typhoon (7-2 ML) – The tepid morning line favorite has done his running at Woodbine and Southern California. He started his career with back-to-back second place finishes before breaking his maiden in the grade 2 Summer. His final start at Woodbine was the grade 3 Grey Stakes in which he finished second by 2 1/4 lengths. Two starts back he was fourth in the grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf before winning the grade 3 Cecil B. Demille. He certainly has the class edge in this race and is a deserving morning line favorite.

10. Mischief Clem (9-2 ML) – He is 3 for 6 in his career with five of the starts coming against fellow California bred horses. His first route race was at Los Alamitos going a mile where he finished fourth that day. Last time out he was winning the Cal Cup Derby going a mile and a sixteenth against California breds by a head. The post position does him no favors, but he has some time to find a good spot by the first turn.



This is a tough race with many different ways to go. #9 Conquest Typhoon is the class of the race and will be tough in here. #5 Cross the Line has won his last two starts here at Golden Gate, both of which came at a mile or longer. #3 Metaboss is an intriguing last out maiden winner who could relish the longer distances. #7 Soul Driver will by rallying late while #2 Indianaughty, #8 Stand and Salute, and #10 Mischief Clem could also finish on the board, if not win outright.

1. Conquest Typhoon

2. Cross The Line

3. Metaboss

4. Soul Driver