Player Quick Pick: G1 Florida Derby

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

March 29th, 2014

by Ryan Dickey

Gulfstream 14 | 6:48 pm ET G1 Florida Derby for 3 yo going 1-1/8 mi.

The most likely winner of this race isn’t necessarily the best Kentucky Derby contender running at Gulfstream today.


General a Rod is a warrior.  He has already dueled with Wildcat Red in his last two starts, winning by a head in the Gulfstream Derby, and losing by a head in the Fountain of Youth.  This will be their third, but hopefully not final tussle of their 3-year old campaigns.  Although Wildcat Red gets the rail, and will MOST CERTAINLY be asked to get out front early, General a Rod has already proven he will join his rival stride for stride.  The General has been a monster in workouts leading up to this race, and he represents Michael Maker’s best shot at a Derby horse. Although I feel General a Rod is the winner here, the three big long-distance duels may be too much to come back from on the first Saturday in May.  This may be the General’s high-water mark for the year.

VALUE HORSE:  4-Constitution

Although listed as 4-1 on the morning line, I feel Constitution will be overlooked for two reasons: first, he did not race as a two-year old, and second, he hasn’t raced in a graded stakes race.  Both of those facts should deter the general public.  He has two big things going for him, as well.  First, it’s a Pletcher horse, and he will have this Tapit colt ready to perform on race day.  And, he has been performing better and better in his workouts, a sign that he’s “sitting on a big performance”.  Speed-figure and Thorograph rating-wise, he’s right up there with the big boys, so his lack of class in his debut and second race can be excused.  He wouldn’t be here if Pletcher didn’t think he could win.  I have him finishing second.  This will be the edge of his “comfort zone” distance-wise, however.

OTHERS TO CONSIDER:  3-Cairo Prince & 1-Wildcat Red

Of the horses running in this particular race, I think the best Kentucky Derby contender will be Cairo Prince.  I like the strategy of giving him a long break before this race.  If he hits the board, he’s assured of a Derby gate.  He will be one of the freshest colts on May 2.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that this is an elite racehorse.  The only horse to beat him in his career is Honor Code.  No other horse in this race has the resume.  He’s the best of the group, but the layoff hurts him HERE.  He will probably not get off to a hot start, should gain ground as his ability shows itself ¾ through the race, but I don’t think running 1-⅛ miles off this layoff screams victory.  Let the other bettors put him on top.  A must in exotics.

Wildcat Red is simply the horse that I think will lose the battle of General a Rod vs Wildcat Red.  Yes, he will most probably hit the board (second or third), but my money to win is on his rival.  He’s better than more than half of this field.  Bet him as such.

WAGERING OPTIONS FOR $20 PLAYERS $8 WIN 6 ($8) $2 Trifecta 6 over 1,3,4 over 1,3,4 ($12--$20 total)

WAGERING OPTIONS FOR $50 PLAYERS $20 WIN 6 ($20) $2 Exacta 1,3,4 over 6 ($6) $1 Trifecta box 1,3,4,6 ($24--total $50)

MULTI-RACE BETS GULFSTREAM R11 $1 Pick-4 2,4 with ALL with 1,5 with 6 ($44) GULFSTREAM R13 $6 Daily Double 1 with 6 ($6)