Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Florida Derby Draw Scheduled for Today

Florida Derby Draw Scheduled for Today

By Jim Freer
Tuesday, March 24 -- At 5:00  p.m. this afternoon, Gulfstream Park will hold the post position  draw for this Saturday‘s $1 million Florida Derby (Grade 1).

The draw, with  announcement  of  entrants and post  positions, will be in Gulfstream’s walking ring. Gulfstream  officials expect a field of at least  eight horses for  the 1 1/8 mile dirt stakes  for 3-year-olds.  Gulfstream’s condition book shows the Florida Derby as Saturday’s  14th and final race.  The projected post time is 6:30 p.m.

Post time for the first  race is 12:00 p.m.  Gulfstream will have seven other stakes races. Throughout this week, we will have previews of those races and  of the Florida Derby.

Barring  any last-minute plan changes by trainers, the  Florida Derby will  be a rematch of three of the top four finishers from Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth Stakes (Grade 2) on Feb. 21. It  also will be the first stakes race for the highly touted Materiality, who has won  both his career starts.

Upstart, Itsaknockout and Frosted finished frst, second and fourth  in  the 1 1/16 mile Fountain  of Youth.

Upstart came in 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Itsaknockout. But stewards declared Itsaknockout the winner and put Upstart in second place for what they determined was interference in two incidents in the stretch run.

The decision was controversial. Many observers  felt that the first bumping was triggered by a tiring Frosted who forced Upstart  to change paths.  But stewards decided there was sufficient evidence that it  may have cost Itsaknockout the race.

On Jan.  24, Upstart beat second place finisher Frosted by 5 ½ lengths in the 1 1/16 mile Holy Bull (Grade 2) at Gulfstream.

Trainer-jockey combinations are: Upstart  (Rick Violette-Jose Ortiz), Itsaknockout (Todd  Pletchrer-Luis Saez) and Frosted (Kiaran McLaughlin-Irad Ortiz Jr.).

Materiality, also trained by Pletcher, was the impressive winner of a 1 18 mile allowance  at Gulfstream on  March 6. John Velazquez will ride on  Saturday
Eh  Cumpari, winner of  the Palm Beach  (Grade 3) on turf  at Gulfstream on March 7, also is likely for the Florida Derby.  So are Ami’s Flatter, My Point Exactly, Quimet and Dekabrist.

The Florida Derby is the first of seven ‘championship round” races in  qualifying  for the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on May 2.

The first four Florida Derby finishers will earn 100, 40, 20 and 10 qualifying  points, respectively. The winner and  runner up points will be enough  to make the 20-horse Kentucky  Derby field.

Latest standings show Itsaknockout in eighth place with 50 points and Upstart ninth with 36.  Frosted is 19th with 13 points. It will probably take at least 20 points to make the Kentucky Derby field.

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HorseRacing FLA staff