We’re getting down to the most important of the Kentucky Derby 2018 prep races. The Blue Grass Stakes, Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby are Saturday, April 7. This Saturday, however, brings us the Florida Derby at Gulfstream.
Here’s a look at the entries:
Strike Power: Owned by Courtland Farms and trained by Mark Hennig, the son of champion sprinter Speightstown finished second in the Fountain of Youth ahead of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Good Magic, who ran third. He won the Grade 3 Swale Stakes on Feb. 3 at Gulfstream. Whether Strike Power can cover the increased distance is another matter, however. Hennig, who trained fourth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Personal Hope in 1993, has said he needs a second-or-better finish Saturday to continue on to Louisville. Morning Line odds: 4-1.
Millionaire Runner: Trained by Jaime Mejia and ridden by Jose Batista, Millionaire Runner has won just once in 10 starts. The win came seven races ago on Nov. 25. He ran seventh in the Grade 2 Remsen, won by Catholic Boy. Appears to be out of his league here. ML odds: 50-1.
Tip Sheet: Ran sixth in the Holy Bull, 20 lengths off the lead, then third in an allowance optional claiming race on March 4. Will give it another try here. Trained by Stanley Gold and ridden by Edgard Zayas, Tip Sheet has two wins in 10 starts. He has run in the money six times. ML odds: 30-1.
Promises Fulfilled: The Fountain of Youth winner will try for the Gulfstream sweep on Saturday. Promises Fulfilled triumphed by 2 1/4 lengths over Strike Power that day. Trained by Dale Romans, he has won three of four starts. His sire is Preakness winner Shackleford, also trained by Romans. Robby Albarado is the rider. ML odds: 3-1.
Storm Runner: Also trained by Romans, Storm Runner ran seventh in the Fountain of Youth. He had won an allowance optional claiming at Gulfstream on Feb. 4 and could improve here for jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Owned by Team Valor, which sent Animal Kingdom to the 2011 Kentucky Derby win. ML odds: 20-1.
Catholic Boy: Trainer Jonathan Thomas has taken an interesting path with Catholic Boy, who started as a turf horse, winning two races and finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Catholic Boy switched to the dirt and won the Grade 2 Remsen in December. The son of More Than Ready finished second in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis in his 2018 debut. Manny Ortiz is the jockey. ML odds: 7-2.
Hofburg: Trainer Bill Mott turned some heads by deciding to enter Hofburg, who has raced twice, winning once. He took a maiden special weight race at Gulfstream on March 3 by a half-length. Juddmonte Farms is the owner. Jose Ortiz is the jockey. ML odds: 20-1.
Audible: Trained by Todd Pletcher, Audible will try to build off his Grade 2 Holy Bull win at Gulfstream on Feb. 3. Owned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm, the son of Into Mischief has won three straight races after a third-place debut last September. Pletcher captured last year's Florida Derby with Always Dreaming, who also happened to win the Kentucky Derby. John Velazquez is the jockey. ML odds: 9-5.
Horse Racing Nation Kentucky Derby poll
My Boy Jack
Kentucky Derby prep races
Free Drop Billy
Racing Post Trophy
Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Kentucky Jockey Club
Los Alamitos Futurity
La Vent Se Leve
Sam F. Davis
Tampa Bay Downs
El Camino Real
Golden Gate Fields
My Boy Jack
Fountain of Youth
Tampa Bay Derby
Tampa Bay Downs
Jeff Ruby Steaks
Santa Anita Derby