Things are starting to heat up on the Kentucky Derby trail and this week we’ll take a look at the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. We’ll see some MAJOR players on the road to the Kentucky Derby including a rematch between Fountain of Youth participants: Hidden Scroll, Code of Honor and Bourbon War. In addition to the Florida Derby, there’s a fun racing card on tap at Gulfstream Park. Let’s get started!
Gulfstream Park – Race 4 – The Gulfstream Park Mile (Grade 2)
This is a particularly weak running of the Gulfstream Park Mile with the main contenders having just faced one another in the Hal’s Hope and Prince Lucky (our 2-5 morning line favorite) winning off by 6 lengths. Having said that, I’m going to look to spring the upset with Tale of Silence. Tale of Silence did just finish 8 lengths behind Prince Lucky but that was his first race back after a ten-month layoff, so he probably needed to shake off some rust. Prior to that he ran numbers that were slightly better than our morning line favorite whose trainer doesn’t excel with horses firing second off a layoff.
Gulfstream Park – Race 6 – The Sanibel Island
The sixth race at Gulfstream is for 3-year-old-fillies on the turf getting started and our morning line favorite is A Bit Special (GB) at 9-5 trained by Patrick Biancone who brings a 4 for 5 win record to the table. A Big Special (GB) has run well in her starts but I like a few contenders here with similar figures that offer more value.
My pick is Positive Skew (7-2) who’s trained by Chad Brown for Klaravich Stables Inc. Chad Brown has made a habit of winning these turf races with young horses and this one is lightly raced and improving. I think she’ll run down Trenchtown Cat (6-1) who appears to have the best speed in the race and will be stretching out for the first time.
Gulfstream Park – Race 13 – The Pan American (Grade 2)
The Pan American is run at 1 ½ miles on the turf and our luke-warm morning line favorite is: Soglio (3-1) from the barn of Mike Maker who does well in turf races. Soglio recently ran second in the WL McKnight and has been first of second in his last four races.
I’m going with Focus Group here who is offering more value at 4-1 for leading trainer Chad Brown with leading jockey Irad Ortiz. Focus Group hasn’t been seen since October when he finished a closing third in the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine. Chad Brown has taken his time with Focus Group and he should be primed for a big effort here. He actually owns a win over morning line favorite Soglio from last July at Saratoga. Village King owns the best early speed and is the only committed front-runner and may prove tough to run down in the lane.
Gulfstream Park – Race -14 – The Florida Derby
This year’s running of the Florida Derby is a CORKER and features a rematch between Hidden Scroll, Bourbon War and Code of Honor who last faced off in the Fountain of Youth with Code of Honor getting the victory after Hidden Scroll was forced to run a punishing early pace. I think Hidden Scroll will be put on the lead again and this time I think he’ll hang on for a bigger share, but I think Code of Honor will run him down once again and head to Louisville as the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
Hidden Scroll has tremendous early speed, but I like Code of Honor’s closing kick to seal the day. Harvey Wallbanger is my price play for trifectas and superfectas as he should be closing in from well off the pace.