The odds say Cairo Prince will be royalty in Florida, but there are a few other horses to keep an eye on in Saturday's Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
The event is one of the most important preliminary races leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Along with the Louisiana Derby—which also takes place this weekend—the Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial, the results of each help dictate a portion of the field at Churchill Downs.
The post time for the Florida Derby is 6:48 p.m. ET, per BloodHorse.com. Here's a look at the post positions, horse, jockey and trainer information, as well as the morning-line odds, per Jerry Bossert of the New York Daily News.
|Post Position||Horse||Jockey||Trainer||Morning Line Odds|
|1||Wildcat Red||John R. Velazquez||Jose Garoffalo||3-1|
|2||Matador||Julien R. Leparoux||Mark Casse||15-1|
|3||Cairo Prince||Luis Saez||Kiaran McLaughlin||9-5|
|4||Constitution||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||4-1|
|5||East Hall||Juan C. Leyva||William Kaplan||20-1|
|6||General a Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||7-2|
|7||Allstar||Orlando Bocachica||Marcus J. Vitali||30-1|
|8||Spot||Corey J. Lanerica||Nick Zito||8-1|
Per Bossert, Cairo Prince is the "top-ranking Triple Crown prospect," but it's hard not to see some similarities in him and last year's Florida Derby winner, Orb.
Coming up on the 2013 Florida Derby and through the Kentucky Derby, Orb looked unstoppable. He won both events and appeared poised to be a legitimate Triple Crown threat. Unfortunately, he disappointed in the Belmont and Preakness Stakes.
Could Cairo Prince be headed for a similar season coming into the Florida Derby with so much hype? Even worse, could he fail to win at Gulfstream Park even? Obviously, you never know for sure until he or another horse crosses the finish line as the victor.
Cairo Prince's trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, sounded confident in his team and training methods, per Bossert. McLaughlin said: “We have a great team of help. But more importantly, I’m going to say it’s more about the horses. Every day of training is important."
On Saturday, it'll be time to show and prove.
Other Horses to Watch
Per Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form, the 50 points in the Kentucky Derby standings that Wildcat Red acquired from winning the Fountain of Youth has assured the horse a spot in the field at Churchill Downs, but he may not be done.
Despite drawing a rail position in Saturday's race, Wildcat Red's dogged pace may wear down the inside horses and allow him to come away with the win.
Veteran and accomplished 42-year-old jockey John R. Velasquez will ride Wildcat Red. Under his command, the horse might be able to pull the slight upset and win in Florida.
How much does a trainer's past success in an event matter? Nick Zito is hoping it matters a lot.
Zito's horses have won the Florida Derby three times (2005, 2010 and 2011).
This year, his horse in the race is Spot and will start on the far outside. Spot is another pace-pushing horse that could find some success off the rail. Zito told Tim Reynolds of NewsObserver.com: "I would have preferred the 1."
However, this is probably the next best spot for his horse. We'll soon find out if the two horses on the rails can make some noise.