all in Tips

The Florida Derby stands as one of the best steppingstone preps for the Kentucky Derby.

In the last 11 runnings, four winners of the Florida Derby have advanced and triumphed in the run for the roses at Churchill Downs.

There are races and there are workouts. The two are usually two distinct entities.

Except when a race turns out to be a workout.

A prime example of that can be found in Wolf Dance. A 4-year-old gelding owned by Stronach Stables, Wolf Dance made his 2017 debut on Feb. 10. It was his first race in four months and only his second start on dirt in nine career starts. He was second in that lone start on dirt.

In the seven other starts, he raced four times on turf, three times on synthetics, and posted his lone win on turf.

In recent years an increasing number of tracks have offered days geared around races patterned after the Claiming Crown. In other words, they put together a card filled with races for horses that have competed in claiming races which offer purses similar to stakes races. Quite naturally, they attract a top shelf collection of claiming horses and can be quite tricky to handicap.

Yet they can also point out some intriguing horses to play – in their next race or two.

Take Class and Cash.

If you wagered on the first race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 22, once the horses crossed the finish line you were either jumping for joy or scratching your head in disbelief.

The winner was Grand Lord, who was sent off at 83-1 and paid $169.80.

The runner-up was Discreet Manner, who was 58-1 on the toteboard.

Together, in a relatively small field of seven competing with a $6,250 claiming tag, they formed a $2,044.40 exacta for a $2 wager.

History can be an important asset in handicapping for some rather logical reasons.

If something happened once before on a racetrack, why can’t it happen twice?

After all, we’re not talking about lightning. It’s a horse race, and when you can find an instance when the present starts to replicate the past, it’s usually a good time to reach into your wallet for a few dollars and head to the betting windows.

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