Were it not for the presence of more experienced Todd Pletcher stablemates in Saturda’s Florida Derby (G1), perhaps Money Moves would have been a fit for the level.
Instead, the son of Candy Ride landed in a consolation race of sorts, a loaded Friday allowance at Gulfstream Park that figured to produce a 2020 Kentucky Derby hopeful, and maybe two.
Off a local debut victory Feb. 15, Money Moves doubled down when stretching from six furlongs to a mile, absorbing pressure near the front end before prevailing with a rail-skimming ride.
Aside from the May 2 Arkansas Derby (G1), there isn’t a race on the calendar for an improving 3-year-old such as this one. But owners Robert LaPenta and Bortolazzo Stable need not be in a hurry now with the Kentucky Derby postponed until Sept. 5 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A $975,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in training, Money Moves was away well Friday and up to challenge for the lead inside of Ournationonparade, who clicked through opening fractions of 23.04 and 45.66 about a neck in front of the eventual winner.
Edge of Fire, an Ontario-bred first out winner who looks like a Queen’s Plate candidate, ranged up three-wide off the turn seeking the lead. But Money Moves had plenty in reserve once he cut the corner, showing a nice turn of foot to blast in front and finish up in 1:35.30, more than two lengths clear of Edge of Fire.
Indicating Money Moves partook in contentious pace, Ournationonparade faded to finish sixth.
Other well-regarded runners in the field were Pletcher’s Silver Ratio, trying winners for the second time; Bill Mott’s turf-to-dirt trainee Sprawl; and Soros, a local stakes winner who was actually entered in the Florida Derby before connections opted for this spot.
As for Pletcher’s chances Saturday, he has Gouverneur Morris and Candy Tycoon going in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby, a race he has won a record five times.