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2014 Florida Derby

Florida Derby at Gulfstream

OrbIt’s a HUGE weekend in racing as we kick-off the final leg of the Kentucky Derby Championship. This weekend the Derby points have increased and we are that much closer to this year’s Kentucky Derby. Now winners of these races will receive 100 points towards their chances of entering the Derby instead of 50. If you are unfamiliar with the Kentucky Derby Points System, catch up with all the info and leaderboard here- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System. There are 2 points races for Saturday, starting with the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. The Florida Derby has seen more than its fair share of racing legends in its winner circle including Nashua, Northern Dancer, Spectacular Bid, Swale, Unbridled, Holy Bull, Thunder Gulch, Barbaro, Big Brown, Take Charge Indy and last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Orb. This year’s event promises to be a thrilling ride, so let’s dig in and find us some contenders!

Gulfstream’s Florida Derby

Cairo PrinceThe $1,000,000 Grade 1 Florida Derby is the 14th race on the card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday and will feature a field of 8 three year olds traveling 1 1/8 mile. The 9/5 morning line favorite is Cairo Prince. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by regular rider, Luis Saez, Cairo Prince looks like a super-star on paper and with good reason. This colt is a beast! He picked up his first win in his maiden debut in a straight maiden 70k at Belmont back in October by 2 ¾ lengths. He followed that up with a 2 ½ length win in the Grade 2 Nashua at Aqueduct in November. Later that month in the Grade 2 Remsen, he fell short by a nose and ran second. Then in January, he came back with a solid 5 ¾ length romp in the Grade 2 Holy Bull. After taking some time off and skipping the Fountain of Youth, he is back for the Florida Derby and looks good going in. I like Cairo Prince, and I would not be surprised to see him take this one, but I really hate touting the favorite, so let’s see what else is in this race and capable of bringing us in a little better pay. There’s no doubt that there will be a hard fought battle for the early lead between rivals Wildcat Red and General a Rod and I think this blistering speed duel could provide us with some options. In the Gulfstream Derby, General a Rod edged out Wildcat Red by a head, but Wildcat Red returned the favor in the Fountain of Youth and beat General a Rod by head. These two are evenly matched and they are going to go at it hard and heavy. SpotIn the meantime, I see Cairo Prince stalking the pace which will make him dangerous, no doubt about it. For a touch of value, I’m going with Wildcat Red at 3/1 on the morning line. He’s training like a champ and if brutal speed is going to win here, I think Wildcat Red can pull it off. But there is a very good chance that Todd Pletcher’s Constitution will be up in the battle for the frontend early, and that could cause some problems. Because of this, my longshot play will be Spot at 8/1 on the ML. He recently won the Grade 2 Swale at Gulfstream by 2 ½ lengths and I look for him to make a mid-pack run and quite possibly bring home the upset. Good luck everybody!

 

 

 

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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