This Sat 30 March is the 54th running of the $1,000,000 Guaranteed Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park a race that has always been considered one of the top preps in the country for the Kentucky Derby.
It's hard to believe that we are just about five weeks away from the big race, especially if you live on the East Coast where the sun has been seen on [recious few occasions and the temperature is still stuck in the 30's.
How big is the Florida Derby? Well, besides its lofty purse and 100 points to the winner, the race has a long tradition linked to the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown. Twelve horses that won the Florida Derby have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. Most recently, Big Brown in 2008 and Barbaro in 2006 completed the magnificent double. There have been nine horses who ran in the Florida Derby that didn't win it but were able to find the winner's circle on the first Saturday in May.
Looking for a classic winner? Whether it's the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, or the Belmont Stakes, make sure to tune into the Florida Derby this weekend. In the previous 53 editions of this prestigious affair, 55 classic winners have exited the Florida Derby. Last year, Union Rags finished third in the Florida Derby and went onto to capture the Belmont Stakes, and in 2011, Shackleford finished second in the Florida Derby and visited the winner's circle in the Preakness Stakes.
Is there a classic winner in this year's Florida Derby? The top three contenders are Orb, winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes on 23 February; Itsmyluckyday, winner of the Holy Bull Stakes on 26 January; and Shanghai Bobby, the champion two-year-old from 2012 who finished second in the Holy Bull.
The picture will become clearer this weekend.