Floriday Derby Preview - 03/29/13
GI - Florida Derby
1 1/8 Miles, Gulfstream Park
This will most likely end up being a three horse race, at least that is the way it looks in the PP's. Shangahi Bobby will be trying to avenge his only career loss to Itsmyluckyday. Yet, both of them might be trying to hold off Orb, who is quickly climbing up several Kentucky Derby Watch lists. Orb has won three straight, including his maiden with increasing speed figures and certainly has the stuff to contend with the big two in here. He should be fresh as well. I expect him to settle in mid-pack down the backstretch and will start making his move around the far turn. Orb has shown he can win with a swift pace and a not-so-swift pace, which makes him intriguing. He has also run at 1 1/8 miles, winning by a length in an optional claimer back in January over the Gulfstream dirt.
As for Shanghai Bobby and Itsmyluckyday. Shanghai Bobby will set the tone early, it will just be a question if he can hold on down the stretch. He failed to do that last time out at 1 1/16 miles, so the jury is still out if he can do it with an extra half furlong. Itsmyluckyday has put in a string of average workouts since overtaking Shanghai Bobby in the Holly Bull. His numbers really jump off the page. He won that race convincingly and I suspect he'll do the same here.
Plenty of longshots have come in thus far in the run-up to the Kentucky Derby, so if things break down up front, I wouldn't be surprised to see Frac Daddy and Merit Man to make an appearance on the tote board. Frac Daddy has been a disappointment lately to say the least, but after taking a rest, I suspect he will run his best race in a while Saturday. He has no other choice, really. When it comes to Merit Man, he will be battling for the early lead with Shanghai Bobby and questions still remain about his stamina. He has excelled at sprints, hitting the board in all five of his starts, but can he handle the route distance remains to be seen. Both of them will offer decent value and might be worth a play.