Kentucky Derby prospect report: Florida

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 11th, 2022

With less than three months until the running of the 148th Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, it seems like a great time to start lining up some top three-year-old prospects that will be aiming for a run beneath the Twin Spires on May 7. In this piece, I will put the focus on the Sunshine State-based horses that I have interest in long term, more so than on which sophomores have the most accomplishments to date.

Mo Donegal

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Mo Donegal (left) winning the Remsen S. (G2) at Aqueduct (Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 2021 Remsen S. (G2) winner kicked off his sophomore campaign with a solid third-place result in the Holy Bull S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The $250,000 son of Uncle Mo ran in spots in that endeavor, but the Kentucky-bred gives every impression of a colt who will thrive as the distances increase this season. I consider the bay to be one of the leading contenders for the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) on March 5.


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Emmanuel wins at Tampa Bay Downs (Photo by SV Photography)

The second on this list for Pletcher has yet to face stakes foes, but the son of More Than Ready has flashed huge potential from a pair of lifetime races to date. A fine debut winner going one mile at Gulfstream on debut, the colt led throughout in a facile allowance score at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 30 and posted a hefty 110 Late Pace number. The bay is a half-brother to both champion turf stayer Hawkbill and Grade 1 winner Free Drop Billy, and I think that the sky's the limit for the up-and-coming prospect.

In Due Time

The son of Not This Time was a smashing allowance winner at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 4 for conditioner Kelly Breen, topping a pair of highly-touted youngsters in the process. Chestnut colt is 2-for-3 in his young career, and I was impressed how he handled the stretch out to one mile in his second start of the season, where he registered a solid 95 Brisnet Late Pace figure. His pedigree shows a nice combination of speed and stamina, and he is surely one to watch going forward. 

White Abarrio

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White Abarrio winning the Holy Bull S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park (Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

The smashing Holy Bull star is 3-for-4 with a Grade-2 placing acting as his lone setback to date for trainer Saffie Joseph. By Race Day, the $40,000 bargain purchase hasn’t done much wrong in his career to this stage of his development, and his affinity for Gulfstream Park makes him an obvious major player for the pair of Derby preps to be hosted at the venue going forward. The gray did have a perfect trip last time out, and I do have some reservations about his ability to thrive at a classic distance, but he has to be on this list following four very good performances to date.