The hype is starting to build for the Florida Derby (Grade 1) to be run on April 2 at Gulfstream Park, and a big question is "who will step up to face Mohaymen and Nyquist?"
The list of possibles is newly out.
Gulfstream on Wednesday afternoon released the names of 31 horses that are nominated for the $1 million stakes at 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds.
As expected, Mohaymen and Nyquist head the list. Both are unbeaten. Barring injuries or changes in plans by human connections, both are scheduled to run in the Florida Derby.
At Gulfstream this year, Mohaymen won the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth--both Grade 2 at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.
Nyquist's wins include last year's 1 1/16 mile Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade 1) at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., his home track.
Owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill are sending Nyquist east because the horse will receive a $1 million bonus if he wins the Florida Derby.
Fasig-Tipton and the Stronach Group, Gulfstream's parent, are paying that if a horse wins the Florida Derby after being put up for sale at the Fasig-Tipton Sale at Gulfstream in March 2015.
Reddam bought Nyquist for $400,000 at that sale. Information on whether any of the other Florida Derby nominees are eligible for the $1 million bonus is not readily available.
From Equibase, here are the Florida Derby nominees and their Past Performances:
Fellowship is listed as definite for the Florida Derby. Fellowship, trained by Stan Gold, finished third in both the Holy Bull on Jan. 30 and in the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 27.
On Wednesday evening the Gulfstream media office reported that Ifyousnoozeyoulose and Sawyers Mickey,
both owned by Ron Paolucci’s Loooch Racing Stables, and Majesto, owned by Grupo 7C Racing
Stable, are being pointed to the 65th running of
the Florida Derby/
It is likely that eight or more horses will run in the Florida Derby.
The winner will earn $600,000. Consider what else is available, including about $50,000 for finishing fourth and $30,000 for fifth.
The official payout is as follows: After payment of 1% to all owners of horses finishing sixth through last, 62% of the remaining purse shall be paid to the owner of the winner, 20% to second, 10% to third, 5% to fourth and 3% to fifth.
The winner of the Florida Derby will earn 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) to be run May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Second through fourth in the Florida Derby is worth 40, 20 and 10 Kentucky Derby points respectively.
A second place finish in the Florida Derby will undoubtedly earn enough points to make the Kentucky Derby field. A review of the latest standings indicates that between 25 and 30 points will be needed to get into that race this year.