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Prep for the run for the roses

Florida Derby is a Thoroughbred horse race that is held annually at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. It is one of the premier horse races in the United States and is considered a major stepping stone on the road to the Kentucky Derby. This race is a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds, and it is run over a distance of 1 1/8 miles on dirt. The race typically takes place in late March or early April and has a purse of $1 million. The winner of the Florida Derby earns 100 points toward qualification for the Kentucky Derby, which is the most prestigious race in American horse racing. As such, the Florida Derby is seen as a key race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds hoping to compete in the Kentucky Derby and beyond.


History of the Florida Derby

The Florida Derby has a long and rich history that dates back to 1952, when the first running of the race took place at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. The race was created by Gulfstream Park’s founder, James Donn, Sr., as a way to promote the track and attract top horses and jockeys. Over the years, the Florida Derby has become one of the premier horse races in the United States and has produced many memorable moments and champions. Some of the most famous horses to have won the race include Tim Tam (1958), Carry Back (1961), Northern Dancer (1964), Spectacular Bid (1979), Swale (1984), Unbridled (1990), Holy Bull (1994), and Barbaro (2006). The Florida Derby has also been the site of several track records over the years, including a time of 1:46.86 set by Quality Road in 2009, which is the current record for the race. In addition to producing top horses and exciting races, the Florida Derby has also had an important impact on the sport of horse racing. The race has helped to launch the careers of many top trainers, jockeys, and owners, and it has played a key role in establishing Gulfstream Park as one of the premier Thoroughbred racetracks in the United States.

The Florida Derby is considered one of the most important horse races in the United States for several reasons:

  1. Road to the Kentucky Derby: The Florida Derby is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series of prep races for the Kentucky Derby, which is the most prestigious horse race in the United States. The Florida Derby awards 100 points to the winner, which is usually enough to qualify for a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

  2. High Stakes: The Florida Derby has a purse of $1 million, making it one of the richest races for three-year-old Thoroughbreds in the United States.

  3. Historic Racetrack: The Florida Derby takes place at Gulfstream Park, one of the most historic and prestigious Thoroughbred racetracks in the United States. The track has hosted many important races throughout its history and is known for its luxurious amenities and beautiful surroundings.

  4. Competitive Field: The Florida Derby attracts the top three-year-old Thoroughbreds from around the country and the world, making it a highly competitive and exciting race to watch.

  5. Past Contenders: The Florida Derby in recent years has included horses like Tiz the Law, who won the race in 2020 before going on to win the Belmont Stakes and the Travers Stakes, and Maximum Security, who won the race in 2019 before going on to win the Kentucky Derby (although he was later disqualified). Other notable horses to have won the Florida Derby in recent years include Always Dreaming, Nyquist, Orb, and Barbaro.

Florida Derby

2023 Florida Derby top contender

Horse Silk Forte


Sire: Violence – Mare: Queen Carolina, by Blame

Owner: Repole Stables an St. Elias Stable

Tranier: Todd Pletcher

Career Stats: 6-5-0-0 $1,833,230

Forte has won his last 4 races, those races include Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, Grade 1 wins in Breeders Cup Juvenile, Breeders Futurity, and Hopeful Stakes.


Horse Silk Cyclone Mischief

Cyclone Mischief

Sire: Into Mischief – Mare: Areyoucominghere, by Bernardini

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Castleton Lyons

Trainer: Dale Romans

Career Stats: 6-2-0-2 $153,350

Cyclone Mischief has 1 win in his last 3 starts in 2023. He won at Gulfstream Park an allowance race on Jan. 8th but finish 7th in the Grade 3 Holy Bull and 3rd in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth over the same surface.


Horse Silk Dubyuhnell


Sire: Good Magic – Mare: Wild Games, by Forest Wildcat

Owner: West Paces Racing LLC and Stonestreet Stables LLC

Tranier: Danny Gargan

Career Stats: 4-2-0-0 $196,050

Dubyuhnell has only 1 start in 2023 an 8th-place finish in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay downs. He has a stakes win in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct.


Horse Silk West Coast Cowboy

West Coast Cowboy

Sire: West Coast – Mare: Coco’s Sweetie, by Tenpins

Owner: Gentry Farms

Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

Career Stats: 3-1-0-1 $50,450

West Coast Cowboy has raced all 3 of the starts at Gulfstream Park. He broke his maiden in his 1st career start at Gulfstream Park. His only start in 2023 was the Grade 3 Holy Bull and he finished 3rd.


Horse Silk Mage


Sire: Good Magic – Mare: Puca, by Big Brown

Owner: OGMA Investments LLC, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing LLC, CMNWLTH

Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

Career Stats: 2-1-0-0 $61,200

Mage is a lightly raced 3-year-old with all 2 of their starts coming at Gulfstream Park. In his 1st career start, he broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park. He finished 4th in the Fountain of Youth last time out.


Saturday, April 1st, Gulfstream Park, NBC

It is a thrilling race to watch: The Florida Derby is a high-stakes, high-energy race that often features close finishes and unexpected upsets. Watching the race can be a thrilling experience, whether you are a seasoned horse racing fan or just someone who enjoys exciting sporting events. Overall, the Florida Derby is a must-watch event for horse racing fans and anyone who enjoys watching sports.


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