03/29/2014 12:27PM

Florida Derby Day


1:20 pm: It's a cloudy Florida Derby Day here at Gulfstream Park, with black clouds rolling over the ocean but so far only a few sprinkles of the "spotty showers" in the forecast. The latest meteorological entrail-reading calls for some mid-day rain, but the dirt is fast and the grass firm, with three races in the books and 11 to go, culminating with the $1 million Florida Derby slated to go as the 14th race at 6:48 pm. Here's the lineup, and I'll be filling in results as the afternoon goes on, and on:

This is a strong card for the premier day of Florida winter racing, including eight stakes races, seven of them graded. The stakes action begins in about 10 minutes with the G3 Rampart.

Two good performnces already in a pair of seven-furlong maiden races for 3-year-olds. Viva Majorca ($9.40) took the opener for Marylou Whitney and trainer Ian Wilkes in a snappy 1:21.85. The Tiago colt got Lasix today after middle-moving and faltering in his debut.

In the 3rd, McGaughey-trained firster La Madrina won her debut from far back in 1:22.98, a good performance from a filly making her debut. La Madrina, by Tapit, is the third foal from the Giant's Causeway mare Enchanted Rock, whose first two were the stakes-winners (and onetime early Derby favorites) El Padrino and Verrazano. 


1:50 pm: The stewards ruled there was "insufficient evidence for a disqualification" after a bumpy stretch run in the G3 Rampart that saw Gamay Noir pay $100.20 for a one-length victory over 2-1 Unlimited Budget and 1-to-2 fave Devil's Cave. Marty Wolfson trains both the 49-1 winner and the losing odds-on favorite.

Devil's Cave went right to the lead and John Velazquez sent Unlimited Budget uncharacteristically right up after her, perhaps fearing she would get as loose as she did setting a track record winning the Sabin last time out. The two raced as a team until upper stretch as Gamay Noir and Private Ensign began to close in. Then things got crowded, with Devil's Cave moving out at the rail and Gamay Noir moving in just a bit from the outside, and Private Ensign was stopped cold between them.

Gamay Noir, a 4-year-old Harlan's Holiday filly, was claimed by Wolfson three starts back and was beaten 11 1/2 length by barnmate Devil's Cave in the Sabin.

The final furlong was run in almost 14 seconds, from a mile in 1:36.04 to a final time of 1:49.84. It doesn't appear that this crew will give Beholder, Princess of Sylmar and Close Hatches much to worry about later this spring and summer.


2:10 pm: Race 5, third of the four maiden-specials on the card, went to 5-2 WinStar/Mott second-timer Charge Now over 9-5 Legend in 1:43.66 for 8.5 fulongs. Charge Now, second on turf in his debut here Feb. 15, is by Tiznow out of Supercharger, the dam of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.

Charge Now ($7.80) completed an early pick-4 that paid $49,299.40 for $2.


2:45 pm: In Tune, Wertheimer/Pletcher filly by Unbridled's Song, ran her record to 3 for 3 with a game victory over House Rules in the G2 $300k G,ulfstream Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, the second richest race on today's card.

In Tune stalked early leader Whomping Willow, took over turning for home, but then House Rules made a strng bid outsde her that appeared to be a winning move. In Tune, however, fough back at the inside under Castellano and prevailed in a long drive. In Tune paid $4.00 as the day's first winning favorite and the final time for the nine furlongs was 1:50.19.

Oh, and they ran the richest horse race in the world a little while ago and a 7-year-old gelding owned by host Godolphin named African Story won the $10 million Dubai World Cup by 2 3/4 lengths. No word yet on whether he'll be racing at Golden Gate Fields or Presque Isle Downs, which have the same unusual Tapeta surface over which the DWC was conducted.  


3:30 pm: The rightfully popular Ribo Bobo, a winner of 12 of his last 13 starts, found 6.5 furlongs a bit too far and settled for third behind Happy My Way and Dad'z Laugh in the ungraded $100k Sir Shackleton Stakes. Happy My Way, a 4-year-old Wilko gelding trained by Joe Orseno who ran second to Ribo Bobo in the Sunshine Million Sprint earlier in the meet, ran off and hid in a sharp 1:14.66, just a fifth off the track record.

The Rainbow Six (wth its $4.6 million carryover if there is only one winning ticket) starts with the upcoming 9th, a baffling turf allowance. The pic-5 starts with the 10th, the late pick-4 with the 11th. All three bets conclude with the Florida Derby.

4:08 pm: The Rainbow Six began with a 9-1 winner in Daring Kathy, with Hillhouse High second, marking the third time in five career starts she has been beaten as the favorite.

I'll play the pick-5 that starts with the upcoming Orchid, then reloading in the pick-4 if the first leg doesn't turn out too well. Here's the play:

(Sorry for the spreadsheet graphics. There's nothing wrong with Ticketmaker today, but I'm having trouble posting screenshots and photos.)

4:45 pm: Anjaz, unraced since running second to Qushchi in the Waya at Saratoga last Aug. 5, led every step of the way to win the G3 Orchid over Viva Rafaela and Clearbrook. Anjaz, a 5-year-old Street Cry mare owned by Godolphin, was 4th in last year's Orchid in her U.S. debut.

Hats off to trainer Tom Albertrani for getting her ready to go a mile and a half off a nearly eight-month layoff. She acted up a bit at the gate and looked like she might be too eager as she went to the lead for the first time in her carer, but she settled nicely under Ray Maragh and was timed in 2:24.70.

5:15 pm: Hey Leroy, a former $20k claimer emerging from a victory in a first-level allowane race, ran don a looe Mr. Online nearnthe wire to win the G3 Appleton. The winner was "only" 11-1 but was the7th choice in a field of nine. If you used him, unlike me, you're in good shape in your pick-whatevers.

Mr Online seemed to be in the garden spot as he went to the lead absent expected early pressure from Tetradrachm, who was wrestled back early. If the Gulfstream fractions can be believed, always a dicey proposition, Mr, Online got away with moderate early fractions of 23.81 and 46.69 and still was run down late as the winner was timed in 1:32.49 for the mile after swinging wide turning for home.

5:50 pm: Micromanage scored his first victory in seven starts since last summer's Long Branch with a strong performance winning the G3 Skip Away over Norumbega and Sr. Quisqueyano. The 4-year-old Repole/Pletcher colt by Medaglia d'Oro raced with blinkers for the first time and I'd bet they're staying on after a career-best performance. He was in the game earlier than usual, stalking early leaders Csaba and Sr. Quisqueyano, then swopped by them on the stretch turn and drew off in 1:55.36 for the mile and three-sixteenths.

6:30 pm: Newsdad successfully defended his Pan American title, closing strongly to run down Slumber and hold off Vertiformer to win the G2 race for the second straight year. The 6-year-old by Arch is a James Karp homebred trained by Bill Mott.

Thirteen down, one to go. Cairo Prince has opened the 4-5 favorite for the Florida Derby, followed by Constitution at 3-1, Wildcat Red at 5-1, and Spot and General a Rod both at 7-1.

There are 55 live tickets for 6 of 6 in the Rainbow Six, but Matador is the lone runner with only one live ticket, so the bet will continue to carry if anyone else wins. If Matador wins, one bettor gets $4.9 million.

The full breakdown: 17 live tickets to Cairo Prince, 12 to Constitution and General a Rod, 8 to Wildcat Red, 5 to Spot, 1 to Matador, 0 to East Hall and Allstar. 

7:10 pm: Constitution slipped inside Wildcat Red at the top of the stretch and outfinished him in a long stretch drive to win the Florida Derby in just the third start of an undefeated career. General a Rod was third and Cairo Prince was a disappointing fourth as the 6-5 favorite.

Constitution, a $400k Saratoga yearling purchase owned by by Twin Creeks Racing and WinStar, is trained by Todd Pletcher. He won his debut at Gulfstream Jan. 11 at seven fulongs, then returned to win a 1 1/16-mile alowance race Feb. 22.

His winning time under Javier Castellano was 1:49.16, faster than the two other nine-furlong races on today's card: In Tune won the G2 Gulfstream Oaks for 3-year-old fillies in 1:50.19 and Gamay Noir won the G3 Rampart for older fillies in 1:49.84.

Constitution completed a $6,286.60-for-$2 pick-4, and a $47,111-for-$2 pick-5. The Rainbow Six continues to carry after a $43,217 "consolation" payoff for the 12 tickets that went 6-for-6 today.

If you watched all 14, go get yourself a cocktail. That's my plan.