The Florida Derby is a key prep for the Kentucky Derby with recent winners Orb, Always Dreaming & Maximum Security all crossing the finish line first in Kentucky in the past 10 years. This year the field seems a bit light with very little early speed signed on.
1. Nova Rags - Gets a C grade with $12 of value but is a little slow on ENERGY. Has excellent tactical speed from the rail and should not be far off the early lead while saving ground. This horse took 2nd in Sam Davis (beating Known Agenda) and should improve in 3rd start as a 3yo. Strong contender.
2. Quantum Leap - This horse was all out to win a MSW at GP in slow time. Now must drop LASIX for a trainer that doesn't do well in graded stakes. Easy toss.
3. Jirafales - Was badly beaten in both Florida triple crown preps by horses in this race at huge odds. Did close to pass 4 horses in the stretch in Fountain of Youth but doesn't get a good pace set-up today. Horse could improve in 3rd start as a 3yo so maybe could use in 4th. Otherwise toss.
4. Southern Passage - Heavily raced, slow and hasn't won a race since going one-turn mile on a sloppy track in maiden claiming. Over matched.
5. Known Agenda - Great connections so he will be over bet. After disappointing in Sam Davis he put LASIX back on to win an allowance race at 1-2 odds in okay time. He will need to run faster today without the LASIX against much tougher. Bold toss from the exacta.
6. Sigiloso - Turf horse with no dirt wins. Trainer very weak in graded stakes. Easy toss...prefer Jirafales underneath.
7. Greatest Honor - This horse makes sense (K grade on top of sheet) because of the race weakness and because he won both Gulfstream preps with explosive stretch runs. However, he regressed in Fountain of Youth winning in slower time and spinning wheels on the turn. He will need to make an earlier run today and has a longer stretch to finish his race but the pace set-up will be weaker. Appears automatic to hit the board today.
8. Soup and Sandwich - Undefeated and won allowance race at 1-5 with very slow pace. Now drops LASIX and must contend with Collaborate to outside. He did finish very strongly and his energy is 2nd best in race. Good long-shot.
9. Collaborate - Another undefeated Into Mischief colt in this race. Won fast one-turn mile race at Gulfstream with LASIX on and now tests the deeper waters. Should be on lead or stalking Soup & Sandwich with perfect trip either way and gets first run on Greatest Honor. Saffie is profitable in graded stakes. Major step up in class though and risky at short odds.
10. Spielburg - This $1M colt is making his 9th start in 8 months so he has limited upside. However, he is proven against tough competition and CA horses have done well when shipping. Ranks second in sheet with B+ grade and think he ends up 3rd choice in race. Very playable horse but draw is tough and figures to lose a little ground in the first turn.
11. Papetu - Gets a similar draw as he got in Fountain of Youth so figures to lose ground early and make a belated run. Certainly useable deep underneath. Not eligible to improve.
Bottom Line - The value in race comes from beating Greatest Honor with a slow pace up front. The horses to consider are Nova Rags & Collaborate with the better win bet being Nova Rags who should save ground and is proven in stakes company. Use both on top of exactas with Spielburg, Greatest Honor and Soup & Sandwich underneath. Good luck!