2017 Louisiana and Florida Derby Previews

2017 Kentucky Derby Logo

March 29th 2017 – Updated April 1st 2017 12:30 PM EST

Another huge weekend on the Derby trail is coming up this Saturday with the Louisiana Derby and Florida Derby. Both races offer 170 Kentucky Derby points each.  Points are awarded as follows: 1st=100 points; 2nd=40 points; 3rd=20 points; 4th=10 points. Race favorites Gunnevera (64) and Girvin (50) have both clinched a spot in the 2017 Kentucky Derby field.  

Kentucky Derby Bubble Watch

The horses below are on the bubble. I have put the finish they will need this Saturday in order in order to get into the Kentucky Derby field.

Needs a 3rd place finish or better: State of Honor (22), Guest Suite (15)

Needs a 2nd place finish or better:  Three Rules (10), Local Hero (10), Talk Logistics (6) and any other horse in the Louisiana and Florida Derby fields that are not named above as they have scored zero Derby points.

Sub 1:50 Time

What you are really looking for in these two races is a winning time of less than 1:50 as seven out of the last ten Kentucky Derby winners posted a sub 1:50 in their final 9 furlong prep race. Nine out of ten had a sub 1:51 time.

Below are the starting fields and odds.

The Louisiana Derby  – 1 1/8th Mile – Race #11 at Fair Grounds – Post-Time: 5:21 PM CST. Televised by TVG

1. Patch – Gaffliaone/Pletcher – 9/2 
2. Hollywood Handsome  – Torres/Stewart -12/1
3. Local Hero  – Geroux/Asmussen – 7/2 
4. Senior Investment  – Hill/McPeek – 12/1 
5. Monaco – Maragh/Pletcher – 12/1 
6. Guest Suite – Albarado/Howard – 4/1 
7. Sorry Erik – Desormeaux/Desormeaux – 30/1 
8. Girvin – Hernandez Jr/Sharp – 8/5
9. Hotfoot – Stevens/Van Berg – 30/1

Race Commentary: Girvin was the surprise winner of the Risen Star Stakes. I don’t think he is a fluke as he demonstrated excellent closing speed in that race. I like him again in this race. However, as we have seen thus far on the Derby trail, inconsistency has reigned supreme. Todd Pletcher’s has entered Patch and Monaco in the field. Overall, I feel that Patch is his best horse in this field. Pletcher has been a very hot trainer of late on the Derby trail. Patch’s sire Union Rags who won the 2012 Fountain of Youth Stakes and finished 3rd in the Florida Derby as a 3-year-old. I am not sure how good Patch is. However, I had the same questions about One Liner and Malagacy that were answered in the Southwest and Rebel Stakes.

My Prediction: 1) Girvin, 2) Patch, 3) Guest Suite, 4) Local Hero. However, I would probably key Girvin to win over Patch, Guest Suite, Local Hero and Senior Investment in a Superfecta bet. That is 8 over 1, 3, 4, 6 over 1, 3, 4, 6 over 1, 3, 4, 6.  A 50 cent bet of this type would cost $12.

The Florida Derby  – 1 1/8th Mile – Race #14 at Gulfstream Park – Post-Time: 5:40 PM CST. Televised by TVG

1. State of Honor – Leparoux/Casse – 8/1  
2. Talk Logistics  – Bravo/Plesa – 30/1  
3. Charlie The Greek –  Reyes/Yanakov – 50/1 
4. Always Dreaming – Velazquez/Pletcher – 4/1 
5. Quinientos – Montalvo/Sanchez – 50/1
6. Coleman Rocky – Ortiz/Delgado – 30/1
7. Unbridled Holiday – Juarez/Biancone – 30/1 
8. Impressive Edge – Lanerie/Romans – 12/1 
9. Battalion Runner – Velazquez/Pletcher – 3/1  SCRATCHED
10. Three Rules – Saez/Pinchin – 8/1
11. Gunnevera – Castellano/Sano – 9/5

Race Commentary: Gunnevera is the most talented colt in this disappointing field. However, he will have to overcome the far outside post. Trainer Todd Pletcher will scratch either Always Dreaming or Battalion Runner and run one of them in another Derby prep race. The rumor mill says Battalion Runner was entered as a backup to Always Dreaming. However, I like Battalion Runner’s chances of winning better than Always Dreaming.

My Prediction:  With Battalion Runner getting scratched, I would key Gunnevera to win over State of Honor, Three Rules, Always Dreaming and Talk Logistics. That is #11 over, 1, 2, 4 and 10. A 50 cent bet of this type would cost $12. 

On the docket…

My next blog will include updated Kentucky Derby contender rankings which I will post by Monday evening.