The inaugural running of the Gulfstream Park Derby at Gulfstream Park drew a tough, evenly matched field. Normally when handicapping races for two-year olds (three-year olds by race day), there are some factors that set a couple of entrants ahead of the rest of the field. This time, however, it would seem that the colts that stand out are the ones who are likely to be the long shots in Sunday’s field. The mile and a sixteenth race drew eleven entrants:
2.Reveron—3/C—F. Jara—A. Bezara—116
Silver Menace (Silver Wagon—Catmaker, by Magic Cat) headlines the field. In two starts, the gray colt is undefeated and already proven at the Derby distance of 1 1/16 mile. Despite being perfect in two starts, the Silver Wagon colt has the disadvantage of never having raced at Gulfstream, though he appears to have been training well over the track’s surface. Silver Menace has also proven versatile in his two starts. In his debut race, he stalked the leaders before taking over in the stretch to draw away and win by five. His second race saw him take the lead and wire the field.
Others already proven at the distance are Gold Megillah, Nachas and Joy, Politicallycorrect, and Ravelo’s Boy. Gold Megillah (Purim—Touch Me Once, by Touch Gold) broke his maiden last out but also finished 7th in the G3 Bourbon Stakes. The grandson of Touch Gold prefers to race in mid-field or further back. If he shows up in the same form as his last race, he will be one to contend with. In his only victory, he drew off to win by an astonishing 18 ½ lengths. More impressive than the margin of victory was the fact that he did it in the slop. Nachas and Joy (Lion Heart—Competent Sort, by Cahill Road) has not finished worse than second in his three starts. In his last start, the Lion Heart colt closed from last to first but raced on or near the lead in his first two starts. The change in running style obviously worked, but, like Silver Menace, the the DiVito trainee has not raced at Gulfstream. Politicallycorrect (Kitten’s Joy—Exceedexpecations, by Tale of the Cat) has only finished off the board once in four starts and is one for one at Gulfstream. The dark bay Kitten’s Joy colt likes to be near the lead, but almost wired the field in his last start. Second place finisher Big Screen managed to poke his head in front in the stretch, but Politcallycorrect managed to poke his nose by in front just in time for the win. Ravelo’s Boy (Lawyer Ron—Dance Tune, by French Deputy) is one of the most experienced of the field. In ten career starts, he has won two and finished third twice. In his two wins, he has won by closing once and running near the lead once, but he prefers to close. Like Politicallycorrect, the Lawyer Ron colt is one for one at Gulfstream.
Other entrants of notable interest are King Kid and Ancient Rome. Like Politicallycorrect and Ravelo’s Boy, both King Kid and Ancient Rome are one for one at Gulfstream. King Kid (Lemon Drop Kid—Very Very, by Royal Academy) has only one race under his belt but made the best of it. He raced in mid-field well within striking distance and drove home to win by two. Ancient Rome (Roman Ruler—Wish It Were, by Is It True) has never finished worse than 2nd in three career starts. Like much of the rest of the field, he prefers to be on or near the lead. Trainer Anthony Dutrow is stretching his charge out for the first time in hopes of determining whether or not the colt can get the distance. Ancient Rome has distance in his pedigree, but he has the looks of a sprinter. In the Spectacular Bid stakes, he just lasted to win by a nose.
Reveron, Casual Trick, Rex’s Last Tour, and Yourhonorandglory round out the field. Reveron (Songandaprayer—Carolina Sunrise, by Awesome Again) has not finished off the board in four starts. He has not raced at Gulfstream but enters Sunday’s race on a two race win streak and likes to be near the lead. Casual Trick (Bernardini—Casual Look, by Red Ransom) has one win in two starts and likes to be up near the lead. Rex’s Last Tour (First Tour—Dr Rexsonshope, by Rexson’s Hope), like Ravelo’s Boy, is one of the more experienced entrants in the field with 10 career starts. He has only one win and that was at 5 ½ furlongs, so distance may be an issue for him. Yourhonorandglory (Lawyer Ron—Glory of Love, by Not For Love) has only finished off the board once in four starts and has wins at one mile and one mile and 70 yards. The chestnut Lawyer Ron colt has shown a tendency to set the pace and will likely be the speed of the race if he can outrun his rivals to the lead.
With so many entrants preferring to be on or near the lead, the pace in the Gulfstream Park Derby looks to be hot. The main track surface has proved to be speed favoring so far in the meet, but if a hot pace is set, look for the race to be set up for a closer such as Gold Megillah, Nachas and Joy, or King Kid. For this race, I like Silver Menace. The colt has proven he can get the distance, and he is not a colt that has to have the race go his way. Gold Megillah has been steadily improving, and his poor performance in the Bourbon Stakes was likely due to being bumped by Burn the Mortgage. This was the same race that saw Here Comes Frazier crash into the railing during the stretch run. After his eye popping last race, he looks to be one to contend with. I also like Nachas and Joy. I do not expect Rex’s Last Tour to be a factor, and Ancient Rome could go either way. At this point, I do not think he will get the distance and is likely to fade near the end.