Player Quick Pick: Florida Derby 3/27/2015

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

March 28th, 2015

Saturday figures to be one of the best days of racing so far in 2015. Not only is California Chrome taking on Lea in the Dubai World Cup, but the Fair Grounds offers the Louisiana Derby while Gulfstream Park offers the Florida Derby. The Florida Derby appears to set up perfectly for a late-blooming Run for the Roses candidate.

Gulfstream Park Race 14 at 6:48 pm ET



G1 Florida Derby for 3yo going 1-1/8 mi.

7– Materiality – 7/2 – The $400,000 Fasig-Tipton grad trained by Todd Pletcher was absolutely brilliant when beating Stanford and Tradesman in a 1 1/8 mile $60,000 stakes race at Gulfstream Park in his last. Sure, it’s difficult to jump from a $60,000 stakes race to a Grade 1, but he’s a three-year-old and three-year-olds have the ability to mature quickly during this time of the year. Materiality was on top of a pace that yielded six furlongs in 1:11.3. He took off in the stretch when John Velasquez asked him to. Not only that, but his father is Afleet Alex, who’s turning into an awesome sire. Oh yes, Todd Pletcher trains. Materiality should get the perfect trip behind the speed. Don’t be surprised if he stamps himself a serious contender for the First Saturday in May with a victory in the Florida Derby.

4 - Itsaknockout – 2/1 – Oh, sure, he got lucky when the stewards took Upstart down in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. But, Itsaknockout figures to improve off of the effort. The Lemon Drop Kid sired Todd Pletcher trainee was going around two turns for the first time. Most horses don’t handle two turns the first time as well as Materiality did. Itsaknockout got carried out in the Fountain of Youth and after he had to check at the 1/16 pole, the race was over for him. Any improvement could put him ahead of Upstart in this, but beating a monster like Materiality is another thing altogether.

9 – Upstart – 8/5 – He glided to the lead in the Fountain of Youth and he’s obviously got a lot of talent. But, I’m not so sure that if he hadn’t gone out on Itsaknockout that Itsaknockout wouldn’t have passed him. The truth is that even though Upstart looked stronger in the stretch, there’s no telling what might have happened if Itsaknockout had gotten a clear path. The odds are going to be extremely short because a lot of horseplayers feel that he shouldn’t have been taken down in the Fountain of Youth. Could he win this?  He absolutely could, but short odds and facing a horse like Materiality means that you can’t use him in the win slot unless you’re playing verticals.