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Constitution, above winning an allowance race on Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park, has a strong chance to pull a mild upset in the Florida Derby on Saturday. (Bob Coglianese/Gulfstream Park photo)

The 63rd edition of the Florida Derby will take place at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. on Saturday, and the race has a storied tradition and rich recent history.

Last year’s Florida Derby winner, Orb, went on to capture the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Since 2000, Florida Derby winners who went on to win the first jewel of the Triple Crown also include 2001 winner Monarchos, 2006 winner Barbaro and 2008 victor Big Brown.

Miami can be an expensive town to run around in, so let’s see if we can’t score big on a $20 budget in this year’s Florida Derby:

All eyes have clearly been on Cairo Prince since his dominant victory in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 25.  He is one of the leading contenders for this year’s Kentucky Derby in the eyes of almost everyone.  

However, I am honestly not a big fan of playing the favorite under any circumstances, and it has been made quite clear that the main desire of co-owner Godolphin Racing is to see their blue silks in the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs on May 3, not necessarily at Gulfstream Park on March 29. 

BE THERE: Grab an Official Kentucky Derby Ticket Package with elevated views, celebrity meet & greets, exclusive access to the inaugural Fillies and Lilies Party and more.

Cairo Prince might simply be the best horse in the race, but I also do not think anyone in his camp would be too bothered with a hard-trying second or third-place finish in this race that punches his ticket to Louisville.

Wildcat Red and General a Rod slugged it out for 1 1/16 miles in the Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 22, where they ran 1-2 every step of the way on an extremely speed-biased racetrack. 

While Gulfstream will always tend to favor horses with speed, the bias is not as pronounced as it was five weeks ago, and both Wildcat Red and General a Rod will have to extend their speed another sixteenth of a mile on Saturday. 

The average winning distance for offspring of D’wildcat, Wildcat Red’s sire, is 6.4 furlongs and the average winning distance for offspring of Roman Ruler (General a Rod’s sire) is 6.7 furlongs. I will be playing against both of these horses in the Florida Derby.

My pick is Constitution.

It doesn’t take rocket science to come up with a horse trained by the meet’s leading trainer, Todd Pletcher, and ridden by the meet’s leading rider, Javier Castellano, in the biggest race of the meet. However, what I like most about Constitution is that he needs to run well in the Florida Derby in order to assure a spot in the Kentucky Derby; he currently has zero qualifying points. 

Constitution showed ability to rate off the pace in his debut after hesitating at the start. He then rode the aforementioned Fountain of Youth day speed bias to an allowance win on the Feb. 22 undercard against a talented field of 3-year-olds.

Strategy A: $20 win on Constitution (4).

Strategy B: Cairo Prince can obviously beat Constitution, but you can always save with some exacta boxes. I also think Spot may have a sneaky chance for Nick Zito (who is tied for the most wins in this race), so I would like a saver exacta using him as well: $8 exacta box of Cairo Prince (3) and Constitution (4), $2 exacta box of Spot (8) and Constitution (4).

CONSTITUTION WINNING ON FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH UNDERCARD

Constitution Inside Coglianese

Bob Coglianese/Gulfstream Park photo

$1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby

Saturday, Gulfstream Park, Race 14, 6:48 p.m. ET

3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles (dirt)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

Odds

1

Wildcat Red

John Velazquez

Jose Garoffalo

3-1

2

Matador

Julien Leparoux

Mark Casse

15-1

3

Cairo Prince

Luis Saez

Kiaran McLaughlin

9-5

4

Constitution

Javier Castellano

Todd Pletcher

4-1

5

East Hall

Juan Leyva

Bill Kaplan

20-1

6

General a Rod

Joel Rosario

Mike Maker

7-2

7

Allstar

Orlando Bocachica

Marcus Vitali

30-1

8

Spot

Corey Lanerie

Nick Zito

8-1

All runners carry 122 pounds

red white blue Bar

También en Español

Apostando en el Florida Derby con $20 de Presupuesto - Traducción por Michael Burns 

La edición 63ra. del Florida Derby tendrá lugar en Gulfstream Park en Hallandale Beach, Florida. este Sábado y la carrera tiene una tradición digna de ser contada así como una muy rica historia reciente.

Orb, el ganador del Florida Derby del año pasado, fue luego a capturar el Kentucky Derby del primer sábado de Mayo. Desde el 2000, ganadores del Florida Derby que luego consiguieron la primera joya de la Triple Corona también incluyen al ganador del 2001, Monarchos, al ganador del 2006, Bárbaro, y al triunfador en el 2008, Big Brown.

Miami puede ser una ciudad muy cara como para estar perdiendo el tiempo, así que veamos si podemos hacer algo grande con un presupuesto de $20 en el Florida Derby de este año:

Todas las miradas han estado puestas claramente en Cairo Prince desde su dominante victoria en el Grado 2 Holy Bull Stakes del 25 de Enero.  Es uno de los principales aspirantes al Kentucky Derby de este año, en los ojos de casi todos. 

Sin  embargo, honestamente yo no soy muy aficionado de jugar al favorito bajo cualquier circunstancia, y ha quedado bien claro que el principal deseo del co-propietario Godolphin Racing es ver sus sedas azules en el círculo de ganadores de Churchill Downs el 3 de Mayo,  y no necesariamente en Gulfstream Park el 29 de Marzo.

Cairo Prince puede ser simplemente el mejor caballo de la carrera, pero también no creo que alguno de sus allegados se molestaría con un laborioso segundo o tercer lugar en la prueba, con el que pudiese conseguir su boleto a Louisville.

Wildcat Red y General a Rod no se dieron cuartel en los 1 1/16 de milla del Fountain of Youth Stakes del 22 de Febrero, donde corrieron 1-2 en cada tramo de la prueba, sobre una pista extremadamente liviana.

Aunque Gulfstream siempre favorecerá a los caballos veloces, la tendencia no será tan pronunciada como lo fue hace cinco semanas, y ambos, Wildcat Red and General a Rod, tendrán que alargar su velocidad cien metros más este Sábado.

El promedio de distancia ganadora para los hijos de D’wildcat, el padre de Wildcat Red, es de 6.4 furlones y el promedio de distancia ganadora para los hijos de Roman Ruler (padre de General a Rod) es de 6.7 furlones. Estaré apostando en contra de estos caballos en el Florida Derby.

Mi pronóstico es Constitution.

Constitution Inside Coglianese

No se necesita ser un gran científico para simpatizar con un caballo entrenado por el entrenador líder del mitin, Todd Pletcher,  conducido por el jinete líder del mitin, Javier Castellano, en la carrera más importante del circuito. No obstante, lo que más me gusta de Constitution es que él necesita correr bien en el Florida Derby con la finalidad de asegurar un lugar en el Kentucky Derby; actualmente tiene cero puntos en la clasificación.

Constitution mostró habilidad para graduar su velocidad en su debut, después de una salida bastante indecisa. Corrió luego en la pista liviana del antes mencionado Fountain of Youth, ganando una condicional en el programa del 22 de Febrero en contra de un talentoso grupo de tres añeros.

Estrategia A: $20 a ganador en Constitution (4).

Estrategia B: Cairo Prince puede ganarle obviamente a Constitution, así que siempre puedes cubrirte con unas exactas en box. Pienso también que Spot puede ser una posibilidad de lance para Nick Zito (quien está empatado en el máximo de victorias en esta carrera), así que me gustaría una exacta usándolo también a él: $8 exacta box de Cairo Prince (3) y Constitution (4), $2 exacta box de Spot (8) y Constitution (4).

Image Description

Vince Mathews

Vince Mathews is a lifelong handicapper and horseplayer who lives in Miami Beach and the foundation of his passion for racing was paved on family trips when visiting Saratoga Race Course and Oaklawn Park. That love of racing was cultivated during his teenage years spent at Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park. Since his graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010, Matthews has worked for Premier Events in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Image Description

Vince Mathews

Vince Mathews is a lifelong handicapper and horseplayer who lives in Miami Beach and the foundation of his passion for racing was paved on family trips when visiting Saratoga Race Course and Oaklawn Park. That love of racing was cultivated during his teenage years spent at Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park. Since his graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010, Matthews has worked for Premier Events in Pompano Beach, Fla.

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