The centerpiece race of Gulfstream Park’s championship meet, the Grade I, $750,000 Florida Derby, is set for Saturday. A field of 12 (plus one also-eligible) will contest this 1 1/8-mile heat worth 170 total Kentucky Derby points (paid 100-40-20-10). The Florida Derby, which goes as the 14th and final race on a card loaded with additional stakes, has an approximate post time of 6:36 p.m. ET.
#7 TIZ THE LAW (6-5, morning-line favorite) posted a convincing victory in the Holy Bull Stakes over this course last time out despite some early traffic trouble. However, once clear, he pulled away from ETE INDIEN with relative ease, earning the field’s best last-out speed figure. TIZ THE LAW’s perfect record on fast dirt (3-for-3) is quite intimidating on paper, so he’s a deserving favorite. Manny Franco maintains the assignment for trainer Barclay Tagg.
#5 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS (8-1) intrigues stepping back up to the stakes ranks for five-time Florida Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. He was last seen beating four others in a February allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs. Prior to that, GOUVERNEUR MORRIS placed second in the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes during Keeneland’s fall meet. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS will need to move forward in the speed figure department in order to win the Florida Derby, but he has every right to. John Velazquez has the call.
#3 DISC JOCKEY (20-1) could hit the ticket at a big price in Saturday’s Florida Derby. He was an easy winner in each of his first two starts before suffering a wide trip in a minor stake in his most recent effort. DISC JOCKEY should continue his forward progression in the speed figure department for trainer Saffie Joseph, who is winning at a 27 percent clip with horses going from sprints to routes. Tyler Gaffalione gets the leg-up once more.
#12 ETE INDIEN (4-1) was last seen crushing the competition in the Fountain of Youth in gate-to-wire style. He may not get such an easy lead while going longer in the Florida Derby, but he may last for a share nonetheless. Florent Geroux rides.
#9 INDEPENDENCE HALL (9-2) will be looking to shake off his first career loss, a runner-up effort in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, in this heat. Joel Rosario is the jockey.
The play: $4 exacta 7/3,5,9,12, $4 win 5, $2 win 3 ($22)