Brandon A. Quick | Sat 31/03/2018 - 03:20 EDT

Florida Derby 2018 Odds, Predictions

Florida Derby 2018 Odds, Predictions

Handicapping The Field

This group may lack the depth of recent years, but the top contenders are certainly candidates to emerge as horses to be taken seriously on the first Saturday in May. Strike Power (4/1) and Promises Fulfilled (3/1) were the 1-2 finishers in the March 3 Fountain of Youth Stakes and figure to hook up on the early lead in the 1 1/8-mile race with Catholic Boy (7/2) and Audible (9/5) the most prominent pursuers. 

Hofburg (20/1) and Mississippi (12/1) will both need improvement, but this pair of lightly-raced horses add longshot appeal. The remaining runners - Millionaire Runner (50/1), Tip Sheet (30/1), and Storm Runner (20/1) - would be a major surprise. 

  1. Strike Power 4/1
  2. Millionaire Runner (50/1)
  3. Tip Sheet (30/1)
  4. Promises Fulfilled (3/1)
  5. Storm Runner (20/1)
  6. Catholic Boy (7/2)
  7. Hofburg (20/1)
  8. Audible (9/5)
  9. Mississippi (12/1)

The Skinny

  • Catholic Boy is the only runner in the field who has won at the mile and an eighth distance and just one of two horses who has attempted it. His natural closing style should play well against this group.
  • Promises Fulfilled is a vulnerable favorite in this spot after going gate-to-wire in the Fountain of Youth Stakes as an 18/1 longshot. His Beyer Speed Figure of 96 for that effort was 20 points higher than his previous best.  
  • Audible has the best two-turn Beyer of any runner in the field, recording a 99 while winning the Holy Bull Stakes by over five lengths 
  • Strike Power draws a tough post and could be induced into quick early fractions by Promises Fulfilled 

The Picks

Like most horse races pace will play a prominent role in the Florida Derby. While it's difficult to gauge exactly how fast they'll be going early, it's safe to assume that the early fractions will be swift. I don't buy Promises Fulfilled or Strike Power as serious Kentucky Derby contenders and I'm betting that their distance limitations will be exposed in the Florida Derby. Either could hang on for a slice, but this race will be about which horse can finish. 

Catholic Boy has worked well over the Gulfstream dirt in preparation for this race and may be available at a fair price after finishing second in the Sam F. Davis February 10 at Tampa in a race he figured to win. He hasn't run particularly fast yet in his career (92 Beyer), but he appears capable of stepping forward in this spot. 

All things considered, Audible is perhaps the most talented horse in this field. Trainer Todd Pletcher won this race and the KY Derby last year with Always Dreaming and appears to have another good one here. This colt has a high cruising speed and figures to get the first run on the speed horses. I'll look for a battle to the wire with Audible attempting to hold off a determined Catholic Boy. 

  • 1st: Audible 
  • 2nd: Catholic Boy
  • 3rd: Strike Power
  • 4th: Hofburg 


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