Florida Derby 2024


Fun Florida Derby card with 10 stakes races culminating with the Grade 1 Florida Derby.  The pace of this race looks legit with Hades, Le Dom Bro, Fierceness and maybe Seminole Chief all prominent early but I don't think it will be so fast as to be a major factor in the handicapping process.  The race also features a short run into the first turn.  While I think too much is made of the disadvantage of running wide in 9F races at Gulfstream (especially if horse is a closer or front runner), the preferred post position is 3-6.  5 of the 8 races run at this distance since 1/1/23 were run by horses in those post positions.

1. Frankie's Empire - This colt has a sprinter's pedigree and all wins have been in sprint races.  Horse raced evenly in a 5 horse field with a slow early pace.  Horse figures to get shuffled back early into the first turn with his running style and should finish out of the trifecta.

2. Hades - This undefeated colt ran an impressive race beating Domestic Product and Fierceness wire 2 wire with a rail draw going 8.5F with an early finish line.  Will be forced to go to lead in this one from post #2 and will likely get over bet off that win.  I bet this horse to win the Holy Bull but prefer others in here.

3. Bail Us Out - $700K colt with nice pedigree is being rushed into this race hoping to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.  Comes into this with a synthetic victory (strange placement) using Lasix.  Irad gets on board replacing his brother who stays on Conquest Warrior.  I have to let this one beat me but this one is very hard to handicap.

4. Grand Mo The First - Wheels back in 3rd start of the year after a game effort in the Tampa Bay Derby narrowly losing to Domestic Product while being 4 wide the entire race.  Ranks 2nd on the chart with $13 of value.  Horse should get a good trip from post #4 at long odds.  Best horse to use underneath Fierceness and a solid long-shot.

5. Real Macho - Beaten badly in Fountain of Youth with no break in racing since October.  An easy toss.

6. Le Dom Bro - Ran a solid 2nd to Dornoch against scratched down and depleted field in Fountain of Youth.  Horse does have tactical speed and should get a good trip sitting 2nd or 3rd early.  Not without a shot at hitting the trifecta.

7. Catalytic - Never been further than 6.5F with a sprinter pedigree.  Another being rushed into the race to get Kentucky Derby points but this one is an easy toss.

8. Seminole Chief - Comes into this off a synthetic victory and appears to be outclassed and too slow.  I respect the trainer but will be tossing this one.  Might be an inconvenience to Fierceness if breaks well out of the gate.

9. Conquest Warrior - Wide draw for a horse with a pressing running style.  Figures to get shuffled back into first turn.  At 3-1 Morning Line this is an awful wager.  Hades is a much better wager at similar odds.  Late Speed is average and will be playing against.

10. Fierceness - Deserving favorite with sK+ letter grade.  The PFDS/BEST Odds are too low and the ENERGY is too high all being driven by his BC Juvenile win.  With that said, he is the most likely winner and deserving favorite.  With a big field and several others in here that can take action you should get 6-5 or better odds to win.  Horse should get a good position into first turn (if he outbreaks Seminole Chief).  Horse did get beat by Hades in last but that was first start of the year and has a fast bullet work to prepare him for his 2nd start.

11. Iris's Dream - Exits maiden turf win with wide draw for a pressing running style.  No shot.

Bottom Line - Fierceness probably wins but Grand Mo the First is a great win wager and must use underneath.  I would use those 2 and Hades in serial wagers.  Le Dom Bro is another horse that could be used in vertical wagers.  Good luck folks #CHV