Stable’s Eskendereya, 8 ½ lengths winner of the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth
Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 20, is among 92 3-year-olds nominated
for the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on Sat., Mar. 20,
and trainer Todd Pletcher has confirmed it is the next logical start for his
edition of the Florida Derby will highlight the biggest day of racing annually
on the South Florida calendar and will also include renewals of the $150,000
Swale Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, $200,000 Bonnie Miss
Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles, $150,000 Rampart Stakes (G2)
for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles and $100,000 Appleton Stakes (G3) for
3-year-olds and up at 7 ½ furlongs on turf.
tour de force victory in the Fountain of Youth under regular rider John
Velazquez sent him soaring in most Top 10 Kentucky Derby contender rankings
nationwide and will be a solid favorite if he goes to the post. The son of Giant’s Causeway is one
of more than a dozen of the nominees from the Pletcher arsenal and had won a
one-mile allowance over the track prior to the Fountain of Youth.
addition to Eskendereya, the probable/possible field for the Florida Derby
currently includes IEAH Stables and partners’ Radiohead, Flying Zee Stables and
partners’ Pulsion, Robert LaPenta’s Ice Box, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Pleasant
Prince, Donald Dizney’s First Dude and Kuehne Stable’s Game On Dude.
Bonnie Miss is the filly companion event to the Florida Derby that often yields
leading contenders for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) run the day before the Derby
at Churchill Downs. Leading prospects include IEAH Stable’s Amen Hallelujah, 6
¼ lengths winner of the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) here on Feb. 27 for trainer
Rick Dutrow; and Michael Imperio’s impressive allowance winner Christine Daae,
trained by Patrick Biancone.
contenders listed for the Swale include Paul Pompa, Jr.’s D’Funnybone, winner
of the Saratoga Special (G2) and The Futurity (G2) at Belmont Park last year
and the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) over the track and distance earlier this meet for
trainer Rick Dutrow; and Edward P. Evans’ A Little Warm, winner of the
Spectacular Bid Stakes in early January and runner-up in the Hutcheson for
trainer Anthony Dutrow.
Rampart is the biggest prize of the winter season for older fillies and mares
on the main track with nominees including Donver Stable’s Careless Jewel,
winner of five straight last year including the Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga
by 11 lengths for trainer Josie Carroll; and West Point Thoroughbreds’
Justwhistledixie, winner of the Bonnie Miss over the track and distance last
the stakes line-up for Florida Derby day will be the Appleton with J. Mack
Robinson’s Cherokee Artist and Farnsworth Stable’s Jet Propulsion prominent on
the roster after finishing second and third last out, respectively, behind
Dubai-bound Courageous Cat in the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) here on Feb. 20.
Forgotten Dynasty Takes Next Step
in Promising Career Friday
Farm’s 4-year-old colt Forgotten Dynasty has only run twice, one year apart at
Gulfsteam Park, but has shown enough to likely earn the favorite’s role in
Friday’s ‘a other than’ allowance feature going one mile on turf with jockey
John Velazquez named to ride for trainer Seth Benzel.
Dynasty is a son of Dynaformer purchased for $150,000 at the Keeneland
September yearling sales. He finished a close-up third in his career debut over
the Gulfstream course on Feb. 13 last year for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and
almost exactly a year later on Feb. 11, broke his maiden going a mile with
Velazquez aboard in his first start for Benzel.
contender that will attract support in Friday’s feature is Santa Cruz Ranch’s 4-year-old
homebred colt Stay Red, who ran well in four turf starts before breaking his
maiden at Calder on the main track last out at Calder on May 30 for trainer
Juan Rizo. The son of Red Bullet is out of Stay Forever, a multiple
stakes-winner whose victories included the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare
Turf here in 2003.
race attracted a field of 12 older horses, three of them entered for ‘main
track only’ by their connections, notably Estate of Edmund Gann’s 4-year-old
Causeway Kin with Elvis Trujillo named to ride for trainer Marty Wolfson. The
son of Giant’s Causeway
is a half-brother to Graded stakes-placed stablemate You and I Forever and was
impressive breaking his maiden going a mile here on Jan. 16 last out.