The Morning Line: Florida Derby & Swale Stakes

The Jump & Position Can Make the Difference

Back to the Miami, Florida for the most intriguing Kentucky Derby prep of the year.  However, we are not going for the typical South Beach fare of tattoos, over-priced drinks, steroids,  club-goers and the plethora of Jersey Shore lookalikes.  We will be posting up at Gulfstream Park to watch the finest collection of 3-year-olds to date run in the $1 million Florida Derby.

The Florida Derby caps the biggest raceday in the state of Florida and has provided a stepping stone for many Kentucky Derby winners the last few years.  The champions of the last ten years who have gone on to wear the roses are Monarchos (2001), Barbaro (2006), Big Brown (2008).  This list does not even include pre-race favorites like Empire Maker (2003) and Quality Road (2009).  With 8 stakes races this weekend including 3 graded stakes for 3-year-old fillies and colts, you will want to circle these winners on your program come May.

$150,000 Swale (gr. II, Race 3, 1:55 p.m.), 3YOs, 7 Furlongs (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Black N Beauty (ON), P Lopez, 117, D L Romans 5-1
2. Razmataz (KY), J Castellano, 117, T A Pletcher 12-1
3. Little Drama (FL), J Bravo, 121, D Fawkes 8-1
4. Indiano (KY), J R Leparoux, 123, M D Wolfson 3-1
5. Megalith (FL), R Maragh, 121, R B Spatz 8-1
6. Travelin Man (KY), J R Velazquez, 115, T A Pletcher 4-5

The Swale looks to be a wide open race with the defection of the speedy Flashpoint to the main event.  That being said, I think that Travelin Man will be tough to beat especially when he is getting 6-8 pounds from all rivals.

The Pick: #6 Travelin Man – #4 Indiano – #2 Razmataz

Live Longshot: Razmataz

$1 million Florida Derby (gr. I, Race 10, 5:42 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, Trainer, Odds
1. Soldat, 122, Garcia, McLaughlin, K, 9-5
2. To Honor and Serve, 122, Gomez, Mott, W, 4-1
3. Arch Traveler, 122, Lezcano, Jerkens, J, 20-1
4. Bowman’s Causeway, 122, Lopez, Biancone, P, 20-1
5. Shackleford, 122, Castanon, Romans, D, 20-1
6. Stay Thirsty, 122, R. A. Dominguez, Pletcher, T, 8-1
7. Dialed In, 122, Leparoux, R Zito, N, 2-1
8. Flashpoint, 122, Velasquez, Dutrow, R., 6-1

Now that Flashpoint made his decision to run in the Florida Derby in place of the Swale Stakes on the same day, he will undoubtedly provide the pace on Sunday.  Closely in pursuit will be To Honor and Serve, Arch Traveler and Soldat.  I think that Soldat will be a little further back as Alan Garcia tries to get him to relax behind the pace and show the turn of foot he exhibited early in his career on grass.  Dialed In, Stay Thirsty and Bowman’s Causeway will likely bring up the rear and hope that the others set a torrid pace from the start.

Once they near the top of the stretch, Flashpoint will be in everyone’s sight and coming around the final bend all will be ready to go.  At the end of the day, I think Soldat will stamp himself as the solid #2 choice behind Uncle Mo and he will be battle tested, something that Mo will not be able to say.  As far as the others are concerned, Dialed In will make a late run that will enhance bettor’s  interest on Derby Day and To Honor and Serve will hold off Stay Thirsty and Flashpoint for third.  If I had to take a chance on a longshot, I would look at Arch Traveler as he won a tough allowance at 1 1/8 but seemed to relax once he got to the lead.  Obviously, he cannot do that with this bunch; in fact, I don’t think that he will get the chance.

The Pick: #1 Soldat – #7 Dialed In – #2 To Honor and Serve

Live Longshot: Arch Traveler

Written By: Fundanichols

Miami Sightseeing: If you happen to be in the Miami area for the race, I recommend a trip to Dania Beach Jai-Alai for a little out of the norm evening entertainment.  You can wet your whistle with a little wagering and hang with some of the areas shadiest characters.  Great place.

Final Note: Enjoy the Final Four this weekend.  You know who I will be pulling for but let’s hope that they are all great games.  Safe travels to those of you that will be in Houston.


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