Weather Outlook: mid 80s, sunny
Gulfstream Park Race 11– Grade I Florida Derby ($1 Million) – 1 1/8th Miles – 5:40 (EDT) Post Time
Last year’s Derby favorite going into his final prep race was Uncle Mo in the Wood Memorial. This year it’s #6 UNION RAGS (6/5) in the Florida Derby. This colt has been very impressive in his brief racing career thus far and may very well win this race, albeit at much less than his 6/5 morning line odds.
I’m here to offer alternatives and #8 EL PADRINO (2-1) is UNION RAGS’ biggest threat. There’s some backstory involving these horses having to do with jockey Javier Castellano. Castellano was UNION RAGS’ regular rider, but jumped off the mount earlier in the year for another Derby contender (Algorithms) who’s now off the Derby trail due to a minor injury. Both UNION RAGS and EL PADRINO looked tremendous in their last races and should take most of the wagering action.
It’s tough to have much confidence with the other contenders in this race. #2 NEWS PENDING (8-1) ran second to UNION RAGS in the Fountain of Youth, but he set a relatively soft pace and had nothing left when the real running started. #3 TAKE CHARGE INDY (5-1) is another possible contender. He showed ability as a two-year old, but Calvin Borel in the saddle and odds around 5-1 do not excite me.
I expect UNION RAGS and EL PADRINO will sit just off the pace and be head and head coming down the stretch. I’ll give EL PADRINO a slight advantage as Castellano will be looking to make up for his past mistake and EL PADRINO should offer slightly more wagering value to boot.