Great card today at Gulfstream Park, with the Florida Derby being the feature.
$150,000 Grade 3 Rampart
I really like Ciao Bella, the Todd Pletcher-trained filly. Ciao Bella is undefeated over the main track at Gulfstream Park, which includes a dominant five length win on February 18th in 1:34.4 for the mile. Authenticity is my second choice and could be at least 7-1. Go Unbridled and Successful Song will fight it out for third.
$300,000 Grade 2 Oaks
Live Lively appears the horse to beat but I won't be shocked if she's pushed early by Original Script or Cue the Moon. Live Lively is coming off a nice win in the Grade Two Davona Dale, where she went wire-to-wire. Dreaming of Julia has disappointed in her last two, losing both. John Velazquez will have her just off the lead and should be the stretch threat. Emollient is a long shot threat trained by Bill Mott.
$150,000 Grade 3 Orchid
Aigue Marine, the four-year-old Great Britain shipper trained by Christophe Clement, is going to be tough to beat. In her last start, she won easily over the firm turf at Gulfstream. Jose Lezcano keeps the mount and appears poised to repeat. Starformer is looking for her third win in a row for trainer Bill Mott. I love two long shots to make the trifecta and superfecta lucrative—Angegreen and Anjaz. The faster the early pace, the better it is for deep closer Angegreen.
$100,000 Grade 3 Skip Away
Cigar Street, with John Velazquez should prevail in this 1 3/16 mile race. Undefeated in both races over the main track at Gulfstream, this talented four-year-old colt should have no issue with the added distance in today's race. Where's the Baby has run poorly in his last three—all turf races and should welcome a return to the dirt, where he won convincingly by more than three lengths in his last start at Gulfstream Park. Golden Ticket looms a threat, as his 59.3 work for five furlongs confirms his solid form.
$100,000 Grade 3 Appleton
This is the toughest race on the entire card, by far. I'm going to use Beau Choix, 6-1 in the Daily Racing Form and Upgrade, 8-1 in the Daily Racing Form as the top two horses in my wagering. Beau Choix is trained by Barclay Tagg and should be flying in the stretch. Upgrade should be in prime position to stalk the early speed and pounce. Za Approval, the 7-2 morning line favorite in the Daily Racing Form will need to show more than he did in his last, when he finished fourth.
$1,000,000 Grade 1 Florida Derby
Pick of the Litter is the pick, despite having just two career starts. In his last race, Pick of the Litter won by more than seven lengths in 1:49.1 for a 1 1/8 mile. I see no reason why this Dale Romans-trained colt can't win again, especially after his 59 flat work on March 20. Shanghai Bobby and Itsmyluckyday are both talented and dangerous, but I'm not picking either. Instead, I'll use Narvaez and Orb behind Pick of the Litter and all for third. Narvaez will be far behind early and if he can repeat his last performance, he'll be charging late.