Florida Derby 2013: Breaking Down Favorites to Win at Gulfstream Park

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2013

November 3, 2012; Arcadia, CA, USA; Rosie Napravnik aboard Shanghai Bobby leads the field during race eight at the 2012 Breeders' Cup Championships at Santa Anita Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo

Although most of the sports world's attention will be on March Madness this weekend, one of the year's top horse racing events, the Florida Derby, is set to go down on Saturday.

With the Triple Crown less than two months away, Saturday's event—which features a $1 million purse—will offer up a tremendous look at some of the top horses set to race in this spring's Kentucky Derby.

Past winners of the one-and-an-eighth mile Florida Derby include Take Charge Indy (2012), Big Brown (2008) and Barbaro (2006).

Here we'll breakdown the biggest favorites to watch for in the field of 10 at Gulfstream Park this weekend.

*Odds via The Courier-Journal's Jennie Rees.


Itsmyluckyday, Post No. 3

The odds-on favorite at this weekend's Florida Derby is Itsmyluckyday, who won the Holy Bull Stakes back on Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

The Holy Bull is the top race leading in to the Florida Derby, and Itsmyluckyday certainly deserves the top odds given how he was able to hang around and roar past Shanghai Bobby late in January's race.

Trainer Edward Plesa Jr.'s horse has two wins already this year and five career wins dating back to last June. Itsmyluckyday will start from an ideal post on Saturday, four spots closer to the rail and two spots away from fellow favorite Shanghai Bobby.

It's definitely hard to argue with Itsmyluckyday being the horse to beat this weekend.

Odds: 2-1


Shanghai Bobby, Post No. 1

2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Shanghai Bobby has drawn the rail at this Saturday's event, which will make him the target of nine other horses in the Florida Derby. 

Owner Jack Wolf and well-known trainer Todd Pletcher aren't happy about Shanghai Bobby's starting position and rightfully so. He started in post No. 1 at the Holy Bull Stakes two months ago and despite leading for a majority of the race, wound up getting passed by Itsmyluckyday late and placing second.

Shanghai Bobby's only start in 2013 came in last January's Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, but he recorded five first-place finishes in 2012, proving to be one of the top horses in this weekend's field.

Although the concerns about Shanghai Bobby's starting post are legitimate, he's more than capable of outlasting the field on Saturday.

Odds: 5-2


Orb, Post No. 6

Orb, who won the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park last month, will start from post No. 6 on Saturday. Although Orb's victorious performance was a bit of a surprise, his ability to fight from behind and take the lead late is encouraging.

John Velazquez will jockey Orb at the Florida Derby this weekend—the same jockey that rode Union Rags to first place at the Belmont Stakes a year ago.

With Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby receiving most of the attention this weekend, don't be surprised if Orb—winner of three straight events—shows up late and pulls off another upset at Gulfstream Park.

Although Orb has the third-best odds to win, you can't go wrong with either of these three favorites.

Odds: 3-1


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