Gulfstream Racetrack: Union Rags Will Win the Grade 1 Florida Derby

Joseph CiracoCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2012

Kentucky Derby favorite Union Rags will win the Florida Derby
Kentucky Derby favorite Union Rags will win the Florida DerbyMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

Without question, the best two horses in the Grade One Florida Derby are Union Rags and El Padrino. Who finishes third is the only question.

At 6-5, Union Rags is still a great value. With four wins in five career starts, this Michael Matz-trained horse is coming off an easy win four weeks ago. This is his second race off a nice four-month layoff and appears ready to stalk the early pace and pull away in the stretch.

El Padrino is currently 2-1 and is trained by Todd Pletcher, who is winning just about every major race at the moment. Javier Castellano has won both starts and should be the main threat.

The rest of the field really doesn't impress me, so I'm going to use two turf horses to complete my trifecta wagering. Z Camelot is 50-1 and should have no problem with the nine-furlong distance. I would prefer to see this horse stalk as oppose to lead, but it might not matter in the end.

I also will use News Pending, another Dale Romans-trained horse. In his last race, News Pending was very close to the lead and faltered late. Prior to that race, News Pending closed well while finishing second at Gulfstream.

In the end, I think Take Charge Indy will set the early fractions with Calvin Borel aboard. Union Rags and El Padrino will be right behind Z Camelot and Reveron for the first six furlongs. Union Rags will win the $1 million Grade One Florida Derby over El Padrino and Z Camelot in 1:49.

The track is currently fast and despite a small chance of showers, my prediction will hold if it does rain, as both Union Rags and El Padrino are undefeated over wet tracks.