Skip to comments.2021 Florida Derby LIVE THREAD (Purse $750,000) (Kentucky Derby on Sat, May 1st)
Posted on 03/27/2021 8:07:50 AM PDT by ETL
Greatest Honour, here training Thursday at Gulfstream, tries to pair wins in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby – just like Orb.
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Eight years after Orb took no prisoners marching through South Florida en route to victory in the 2013 Kentucky Derby, trainer Shug McGaughey will look to duplicate those exploits when he sends out Greatest Honour as the solid favorite over 10 other 3-year-olds in Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
The Grade 1 Florida Derby, arguably the most productive of all Derby preps over the years, will offer 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to be distributed on a 100-40-20-10 basis from first through fourth place. It is the finale on an outstanding 14-race program that includes nine other stakes, five of them graded. First post is 11:30 a.m. The card will also feature a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool that will begin with a carryover of approximately $1 million if not hit Thursday or Friday.
Orb won a 1 1/8-mile allowance race and the Fountain of Youth here to kick off his 3-year-old campaign as stepping-stones to a convincing 2 3/4-length triumph in the 2013 Florida Derby. Greatest Honour has done him one better, entering the Florida Derby with three consecutive local wins, including victories in the Grade 3 Holy Bull and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.
“They’re two different horses that have the same running style,” said McGaughey while making note of Greatest Honour’s more imposing physical stature. “They may look the same, but it’s just on paper.”
McGaughey has maintained all along that Greatest Honour will get even better the farther he goes, and has been looking forward to stretching him out to a mile and one-eighth in the Florida Derby after three straight starts here this winter at a mile and one-sixteenth. Those races end at an auxiliary finish line that make an already abbreviated stretch run even shorter, putting late-striding horses like Greatest Honour, and Orb before him, at a distinct disadvantage.
“His pedigree says he’ll run as far as you want him to run,” said McGaughey. “I think he had to do three times what he wasn’t wanting to do, go a mile and one-sixteenth over a speed-favoring track. And he was able to catch up all three times against pretty good company.”
Greatest Honour has had two maintenance-like and certainly unspectacular-looking breezes since his hard-fought 1 1/2-length victory over Drain the Clock in the Fountain of Youth.
“The first work he went off a little quicker than I wanted,” said McGaughey. “The second time he eased away a little more and finished well. He’s not a real good work horse, but I thought the last work was a lot like his work before the Fountain of Youth, maybe better.”
Greatest Honour will break from post position 7 under regular rider Jose Ortiz.
Trainer Bob Baffert will send out his first Florida Derby starter in Spielberg, a Grade 2 winner at 2 who exits a troubled second-place finish in the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park behind reigning juvenile champion and Daily Racing Form Derby Watch leader Essential Quality. Although Spielberg is the most experienced member of the field, the Florida Derby will be the first time he’s gone as far as 1 1/8 miles.
“He’s doing well and I think he’ll like the mile and one-eighth,” Baffert said. “He’s got to break well. He can’t break like he did last time.”
Collaborate shares the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the lineup along with Spielberg, a 90 earned for his convincing maiden win going a mile on the Fountain of Youth undercard four weeks earlier. But unlike Spielberg, he is lacking in experience coming into the race, with only two starts.
“The inexperience factor crosses your mind,” said trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. “We’re kind of using Drain the Clock as a gauge because I think Collaborate is a better horse, even at this stage. The ability is there, but we know we’re giving him a tall task, although I think if he can get the right trip and he runs his race, he is good enough to pull it off.”
Distance won’t be an issue for Known Agenda, who defeated Greatest Honour going 1 1/8 miles in a maiden special weight race at Aqueduct in November and who exits an 11-length allowance victory at the same distance here on Feb. 26 when racing on Lasix and equipped with blinkers for the first time.
“I think the blinkers certainly helped,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who will seek a record sixth Florida Derby win on Saturday. “He needed a little bit of early focus. It put his mind in the game, and hopefully will do the same again this time.”
Soup and Sandwich has also started just twice. He earned an 89 Beyer capturing a statebred maiden special weight event going 6 1/2 furlongs here to launch his career on Jan. 28, and won a mile and 40-yard allowance race as the prohibitive favorite four weeks later at Tampa Bay Downs.
Papetu came from last down the backstretch to finish third in the Fountain of Youth after making a menacing bid outside horses on the final turn. He will have to overcome the disadvantageous outside post with a short run to the opening turn.
Nova Rags has been idle since finishing second, beaten a length by stablemate Candy Man Rocket, in the Sam Davis at Tampa on Feb. 6. He’ll break from the rail in a lineup that also includes Quantum Leap, Jirafales, Southern Passage, and Sigiloso.
Thanks for the reminder. Gulfstream (when things are normal) is a great time.
im gonna put 50 to win on Known Agenda...he’ll be a healthy 5 or 6 to 1 at post time...and hes got the hottest jockey in the world on him, Irad Ortiz jr...
Is it televised?
“The Florida Derby will be televised by NBC Sports as part of their “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series during a program airing on NBCSN and beginning at 6 p.m. ET. The broadcast will feature NBC Sports’ award-winning horse racing team including analysts Randy Moss and retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey.”
Randy Moss doing horse racing? Didn’t see that one coming.
Actually Randy seems to be a completely different person now than in his playing days.
>>>Is it televised?
Try here at about 6PM or so...
Gulfstream Park: Road to the Derby Live! Florida Derby Live Stream - Saturday, March 27
Scheduled for 3/27/21, 6:00 PM
I had thought the regular NBC channel would be carrying it.
Appears to be setting up to be a somewhat unusual race, with only 3 horses. 9, 8, and maybe 5 or 2, previously displaying early speed (see post 4).
I’ll take a Soup and Sandwich to go, go, go!
I love race horse names and minor-league baseball team names.
Last horse I bet on was so good, it took 10 other horses to beat him.
I was never at Gulfstream Park. But in my teens during the 70s I worked the winter season as a horse walker at Hialeah and Calder racetracks. I went to Florida in 76 with then number 2 trainer in the standings, Belmont NY-based PG Johnson. Got into some arguments with the Mexican grooms while there and was fired.
Did you make that up yourself?
Sounds like an old Henny Youngman or Abbott & Costello joke.
In any case, it’s a good one!
I’ll confess that I only watch tapes of the races. It is too nerve-wracking to worry about a catastrophe. Barbaro’s final race at the Preakness fixed my little red wagon forever.
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