Scully: Trying to beat imposing favorites in Florida and Louisiana

Profile Picture: James Scully

March 31st, 2017

Saturday’s $1 million Kentucky Derby preps, the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park and Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds, feature prohibitive favorites in Gunnevera and Girvin. I respect their chances but am going with Impressive Edge and Guest Suite.

When it comes to Dale Romans, my favorite betting angle is first-time at a route. A 15% overall trainer, Romans strikes at a 22% rate, with a positive ROI from nearly 100 starters, when stretching out to two turns. And whether it’s Shackleford, J Boys Echo, Not This Time or Sharp Humor, his stakes horses are known to move forward with much-improved BRIS Speed ratings in tow.

After a couple of winless juvenile starts in another barn, Impressive Edge captured his first start for Romans going 6-furlongs at Gulfstream in mid-January, romping by 4 ¾ lengths over runner-up Patch, who is 9-2 on the Louisiana Derby morning line. Impressive Edge jumped straight from maiden special weight to Grade 2 stakes company, gaining valuable seasoning finishing fourth behind Favorable Outcome and Three Rules in the Swale.

The dark bay colt came back to crush entry-level allowance foes at 7-furlongs on March 5, rallying from off the pace to score going away by eight lengths, and the Florida Derby could really set up well for his late kick. I don’t think he wants more ground than nine furlongs, but Impressive Edge promises to get first run on confirmed closer Gunnevera and I’ll look for him to finish up strongly for the upset.

Guest Suite figures to receive a better trip in the Louisiana Derby following a rough outing in the Risen Star (G2) in which he was too far back early and wide on both turns after starting slowly. He still managed to rally past more than half the field for fourth, netting the same 93 BRIS Speed rating he earned winning the Lecomte (G3) in his first outing this year, and I’m expecting big improvement.

Trainer Neil Howard has drilled his charge three times in the 35-day interim and with plenty of pace signed on, Guest Suite should make his presence in the stretch after registering a 108 BRIS Late Pace rating last time. is offering free Ultimate Past Performances for the Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby.

The final round of the $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet begin Saturday, April 1 for pre-qualified players from round 1. is offering a $5,000 Pick 4 Bonus at Fair Grounds Saturday. Make sure to “Opt In” and if you cash a winning ticket on any Pick 4, you’ll split $5,000 with all the other winners on TwinSpires