Grade 1 $1 million Florida Derby
Marathon card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday with 14 races scheduled, and the 14th of them is the Grade 1 $1 million Florida Derby. GUNNEVERA was the powerful winner of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, getting a great setup with brisk fractions early in the race. It was his best start as a three year old and just his second start of the year – he still may be able to move forward. THREE RULES will look to set the pace again, but may have a little easier time without many other true speedsters signed on. BATTALION RUNNER jumps up to stakes company for the first time following a pair of impressive scores. He has raced on the lead, but judging by the fractions he looks extremely rate able and should be sitting just off the front runners if he runs – with Pletcher having two, and this one drawing the 10 he may scratch and opt to race next weekend at Santa Anita, Aqueduct or Keeneland. Todd also sends out ALWAYS DREAMING who has gotten better since he was stretched out past a mile. He seems to have really blossomed since the calendar turned over to 2017 and could be any type. IMPRESSIVE EDGE earned his way back to the stakes level off a strong optional claimer victory by eight lengths.
The horse so beat is the favorite, and while he has paired up some high Beyers in his last two races, it looks like he may need the right setup. ALWAYS DREAMING is fresh and very impressive in his last two wins – let’s take a shot with the longer price and a horse who may not have hit his ceiling yet.
#4 ALWAYS DREAMING – #11 GUNNEVERA – #9 IMPRESSIVE EDGE
Grade 2 $1 million Louisiana Derby
Hopefully you got 8-1 on GIRVIN last time out, as he will be nowhere near that in this start. He got up to win his first start before trying turf and a mile in his second start, and was a great 2nd. The breakthrough came in his third trip to the track as he got through on the inside to win going away by two lengths in the Grade 2 Risen Star. With his tactical running style, a repeat is well within the cards. LOCAL HERO may have found out how far he wants to go, and it doesn’t look like the added ground will be up his alley. He will be prevalent early, but may just be a pace factor again. PATCH hasn’t run a bad race to date and took a leap forward in his last getting up to break his maiden going a mile. The inside post shouldn’t bother him as he is fast enough early to secure a good spot. He may loom the upsetter. GUEST SUITE was flat in the Risen Star behind GIRVIN and couldn’t cut into the deficit late. He may be worth another look is the price is better than the 4-1 morning line price. MONACO adds blinkers off his maiden score after racing greenly in the stretch – expect him to be near the front.
#8 GIRVIN – #1 PATCH – #6 GUEST SUITE