21 GP The FL Derby (GI) [KYD]
$1,000.000 3yo 1 1/8m Dirt 122lbs
The track is currently listed as Sloppy/Soft which could throw a wrench in the festivities. I do not see where a “mudder” rises to the top, so this could be a day where the tote board is lit up like a Christmas tree. Hold on to your hats, it might get interesting.
Down to Hallandale FL for a big weekend of racing and none bigger than The FL Derby (GI), a huge rung on the ladder to Louisville for that first Saturday in May and the run for the roses. These races are always fun yet challenging as it draws the best horses, the best trainers… and that’s just what we have.
I landed on Uranus as the top choice and he’s a horse that has been running big on the left coast, most of his races coming at the SA venue. He won on/near the pace and just missed closing from well back, so he seems to know how to get the job done no matter what it takes to get there. Let’s go right next door and put Sunshine Scooter in the mix. He came from the skies to take the FofY (GII) over this surface last out, and anything like that race should put him in the picture when the money is on the line. Tiz Chai is lightly raced but he proved to be all anyone wants when second in the Davis (GIII) at TAM last out. He looks like a horse that in on the improve and could be any type.
You can give a bunch of these a solid recommendation, but let’s go with this and see how we do. Best of luck to all the combatants.
Here’s The Field –
Only a maiden win from this one but he never really runs a bad race including a fourth in the Southwest (GIII) and a third in the Risen Star (GII), both closing efforts. He also had a pair of runner-up finishes, after changing barns, both of those were ungraded stakes with nice purses. I think you have to give him a puncher’s chance in this one.
He was second three back in the Remsen (GII) but his last three races have shown a steady fall-off, a fourth in the Jerome, a fifth in the Southwest (GIII) then a tiring effort in the Battaglia Mem at TP, where he beat one horse. Obviously, he needs to turn that form around.
He was rolling along making a good living taking on NY-bred types, but they kicked him up to graded stakes and it’s been tough going, tiring in both of those races. He was sixth in the Lecomte (GIII) after setting the pace, then pressed the pace in the San Felipe (GII) only to once again fade when the money was on the line. He has to improve or it will be another long day at the office.
Won the Jerome to kick-off the 22 season, then came right back to take the Withers (GIII), both of those at AQU, but tired late in the Rebel (GII), his most recent trip to the gate. That OP track can be tough on a horse, with the tight turns, so look for him to bounce back in this one and give a good account of himself.
Lightly race, this being his sixth trip to the starting gate, and he looked good breaking maiden over this track, two race back. He just missed last out closing to be the runner-up in the Davis (GIII) at TAM, and I think he’s a horse that is still finding his best stride – can he deliver today?
Only one back race on his recent form, but it was the only time he faced graded foes, an eleventh in the Remsen (GII). Other than that, he’s been right in the hunt in all of his starts, I’m just not sure he likes it quite this salty. I guess we find out.
He broke maiden then was a deleivered a nice runner-up (DH) effort in the KY Jockey Club (GII), but he closed out 21 with a lack-luster effort in the Gun Runner, and both of his 22 races have been off the board efforts vs. graded company.
He was running out of this world (see what I did there?) winning a high-end Alw race, then coming back to take the Lewis (GIII). He just missed when closing late to be the runner up in the San Felipe (GII) so he looks ready to run another big one today. I think you have to use him on all tickets.
He’s won three of his last five starts, and also had a third in the Holy Bull (GIII), but that last out win in the FofY (GII) over this track certainly makes him a big horse to watch today. The barn knows how, so watch out.
Three consecutive fourth place finishes, so this one is just a length or so from setting the world on fire. He won a NY-bred stakes on a wet track, so the big barn may be hoping for a thunder storm over the weekend.
He won a couple of big races as a 2yo, but his sophomore season has left a bit to be desired. He closed in both seasonal races, a third in the Lewis (GIII) at SA and a sixth in the Gotham Mile (GIII) in his most recent – he was only three-quarters of a length back in that last out effort so the extra distance may be just what he wants.
Another that was putting good money in the bank on the NY-bred circuit, and won over this track last out taking down open OptAlw types, closing like a freight train to get the win. Can he take that form up the ladder to the graded types?
Only four starts for this one, and he was his first two, taking down NY-bred MSW types, then a big purse vs. NY-bred stakes horses. The good news stops there as he was a tiring sixth in the Southwest, and didn’t lift a hoof when eighth in the Gotham (GIII). He needs to find more.
He was rolling along, breaking maiden at CD, taking down OptAlw types over this track and was the runner up in the Lews (GIII) at SA. He threw a clunker last out when eighth in the San Felipe (GII) and his late closing style will call on some traffic avoidance if he wants to be part of this one.
Broke maiden at first asking and won last out taking down Alw types at TAM. He will need some luck to get in, and I’m not sure he wants to do that.
COZMAN 8 / 9 / 5 Willie’s Green Card 12 / 9 / 8
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES, TC 2021-2022, THE TRIPLE CROWN