The Grade I, $1 million Florida Derby brings down the curtain on Gulfstream’s road to the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. The 1 1/8-mile heat offers 170 total points toward “the Run for the Roses,” with the winner receiving 100. A field of nine will compete in the Florida Derby, which goes as the finale on a stakes-heavy 14-race program. Estimated post time is 6:30 p.m. EST. With so many elite jockeys racing at Gulfstream on Saturday, studying their card will be crucial toward success in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#8 AUDIBLE (9-5, morning-line favorite) improved dramatically in his first start at three to win Gulfstream’s Holy Bull by open lengths back in February. Rested since then, AUDIBLE will be asked to go just another 1/16th of a mile. His pedigree doesn’t suggest he wants to go this far, but his effortless Holy Bull indicates he’ll negotiate the distance. He should get another ideal setup racing just off the lead set by Fountain of Youth winner PROMISES FULFILLED. Look for AUDIBLE to edge clear close to home under John Velazquez for Todd Pletcher, who seeks his fourth Florida Derby win in five years.
#7 HOFBURG (20-1) is ambitiously-spotted off a maiden win but there’s reason to suspect significant improvement. He didn’t offer much in his first start at two and was put on the shelf for over six months. Stretching out to 1 1/16th-miles, HOFBURG overcame an extremely wide draw and a little greenness to break his maiden over this course. He shows a bullet work in preparation for this and retains Jose Ortiz. HOFBURG might be in too deep in the Florida Derby, but his odds are too tantalizing to resist.
#6 CATHOLIC BOY (7-2) switches to Irad Ortiz Jr. off a second-place finish in the Sam F. Davis, his first start at three. His effort that day wasn’t horrible (beaten just a half-length for the win) but more was expected of him. He’ll have a good shot to atone picking up a 1/16th, but he’s not expected to get a fast pace to close into.
The play: $2 exacta box 6/7/8, $3 exacta 8/6,7, $2 win 7 ($20)
DFJ analysis: You can’t really go wrong picking up an Ortiz brother or two every Saturday, so if you can afford them both, take them. If you can only pick one, Jose is probably the best choice. He has a mount in 12 different races and will be on three of the likeliest winners of the day at Gulfstream in Speed Franco (6-5 in the Cutler Bay), Best Performance (8-5 in the Sanibel Island) and Lull (5-2 in the Honey Fox). HOFBURG gives Ortiz a good chance to at least hit the board in the Florida Derby at solid odds.
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