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Florida Derby Preview

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 3/27/2014 9:44:15 PM

About the Race and Track

The $1 Million Grade 1 9-furlong Florida Derby goes Saturday in the sunshine at Gulfstream Park and a sweet cast of 8 will pit skills with 100 points on the line for the winner to move toward eligibility to the Kentucky Derby.

Spectacular Bid won this race in 1979 and other that made the Florida Derby/Kentucky Derby double include Swale, Unbridled, Barbaro, Big Brown and last year’s winner Orb.

Speed has been playing very well of late at Gulfstream so expect the winner of this race to maintain contact with the leaders at all times.

A Longshot With Some Value:  Constitution

Constitution is giving away a lot of experience but he ran just as fast as some of the other logical contenders in here. He may have to come from a bit farther off the pace this time, but if he moves forward, he could upset the apple cart.

The Pick: Cairo Prince (Win)

Wildcat Red drew the rail and looms the speed of the speed in the Florida Derby. And with the quick run to the first turn, he should be able to get the lead. Four of 6 so far, he was taken down after finishing first once, and his only real beat was by a head but it came at the hands of archrival General A Rod. His sire D’Wildcat won at a mile on grass, his dam did take on route and half brother Bootem won at a mile and 70 yards against non-winners of 2 claimers when extending the winning margin to nearly 6 lengths. He has been training like a sharp cookie and blew out last Saturday in :34 and change.

General a Rod went tooth and nail in the Fountain of Youth but Red got the money. He has a shot to get the trip as his sire won at this very 9-furlong distance in a Grade 1. His positional speed is a plus and it will give him first run on the deep closers. Trainer Mike Maker has put him through his motions in the a.m. and the Beyer Speed Figures are escalating with every race.

Cairo Prince has never run a bad race. Professional in his debut, he won a Grade 2 in his second start and lost a heart breaker in his 2013 closer when beaten a nose in the Remsen. He has trained like the proverbial Swiss clock for this race and figures to be a handful.

Constitution was rolling too late in his debut at the shore but he was game in the maiden breaker winning by a head. His race over this track should only help as he was sitting in an ideal spot early and again proved his grit. The blood is there for this runner to thrive as half brother Laugh Track was Grade 1 place, successful in a Grade 3 and an earner of over $550,000.

Spot took awhile to figure it out and he my not have cared for the rail in his Gulfstream debut. The race over the track really helped as he won the 7-furlong Swale last time inching away late with an 87 Beyer. His dam is a non- winner but she is kin to Grade 2 winner Night in Reno.

Matador’s lone win came on the grass by a nostril. He was only beaten a length in his Florida debut but regressed last time in the Tampa Derby.

The way this race may unfold, Cairo Prince should have an advantage. The pace will be honest, Prince has proven he can rate and get the drop done and would expect him to get a similar trip as he did in the Holy Bull, sitting 3 or so off the pace early before powering home.

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