03/28/2016 12:46PM

Florida Derby: Fellowship in it to win it

Barbara D. Livingston
Fellowship (above) must face champion Nyquist and leading Kentucky Derby contender Mohaymen in the Florida Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The prevailing feeling is that Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby is actually two races in one: Mohaymen vs. Nyquist for first and second, and everyone else against Fellowship for third and the $100,000 and 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points that go with it.

Stanley Gold, who trains the homebred Fellowship for Jacks or Better Farm, is one of the few who do not ascribe to that theory.

“Every interview I read, everybody not connected with the two favorites says they’re hoping to finish third, so it’s like they’re running in a separate race from the big two, and I guess none of them gives Fellowship any respect,” said Gold. “But I’m not worried about them. I’m running for first or second. I’ll settle for third if that’s what happens.”

Fellowship has already finished third behind Mohaymen in each of the first two Florida Derby preps, the Grade 2 Holy Bull and Grade 2 Fountain Youth, both at 1 1/16 miles, and has amassed enough qualifying points to be in position to get into the Kentucky Derby field even if he doesn’t finish first or second in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby.

“We’re running against arguably the best 3-year-olds in the country, but I am where I am, and I’m not looking to avoid them,” said Gold.

“He’s already been third to Mohaymen twice, and they were both honest races. The extra distance will certainly be an aid because we know he’ll run late, and if we are actually lucky enough and decide to go to the Kentucky Derby, I’m not worried about the mile and one-quarter either. And having a little bigger field, as it seems we will now, should work to our advantage from a pace standpoint as well. I believe I’m running a live horse in there on Saturday. I don’t know how live, but he’s live.”

The late-running Fellowship has not worked since breezing four furlongs in 46.43 seconds on March 19, and Gold said he’ll not have another work prior to the race.

“He goes fast in the morning – he’s been that way forever,”said Gold. “He’s got the speed, but he doesn’t want to show it when he runs. I found that out the hard way in a race last year at Calder. If you let him use his speed, he doesn’t finish.”

As of Monday, Fellowship is one of seven 3-year-olds expected to be in the Florida Derby field when entries are drawn Wednesday. The others are Mohaymen, Nyquist, Majesto, Takeittotheedge, Sawyers Mickey, and Fashionable Freddy.

Trainer Peter Walder said Monday that Ifyousnoozeyoulose, who’d originally been considered a possible starter, would not be entered. Walder will saddle Sawyers Mickey, who is graded stakes-placed but still a maiden. Sawyers Mickey worked four furlongs in 48.07 and galloped out five-eighths in 1:01.65 just before the track closed for training here Monday.

Todd Pletcher said Monday he likely won’t enter a horse to defend the Florida Derby title he’s won the last two years with Constitution and Materiality.

Nyquist, who was originally expected to arrive from the West Coast on Monday, had his travel plans delayed and was scheduled to be at Gulfstream Park on Tuesday. He will be accompanied on the flight by stablemate Gomo, whom trainer Doug O’Neill decided to supplement to the small field pointing for Saturday’s Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks.

USAdusty More than 1 year ago
send him if he wants to win!  why is he missing the break and then trying to wait for a pace duel?!  passing on Fellowship in the top three.  More interested in Takeittotheedge.
Ben Mcdougall More than 1 year ago
Everyone thinks Mohamen 1st, Nyquist 2nd.  Sounds too easy to me.  I get a really fuzzy peaceful feeling about Mohaymen coming in first and this along with the thought of easily I getting the exactor and look for a third horse,...past experience when felting on "fuzzy feelings" tells me "this is too easy and won't happen,".... I think Nyquist is the type of horse who only runs fast enough to beat the competition that day.  Green point crusader who pushed Mohaymen in the last (fountain of youth I believe) failed to show anything in the Louisiana Derby.  I think one of the favorites is going to falter a bit,... maybe run too fast too early....and I think Nyquist will stick for the win.  Nyquist all the way!
Jack Armstead More than 1 year ago

I've said this since Fasig-Tipton put up the extra Million for Nyquist to run.  I'm going to play Mohaymen/Nyquist with Mohaymen/Nyquist with ALL... multiple times. If I can turn $100.00 into $200.00 doing so... then that's what I'm going to do.

I don't know about this "Fellowship" horse by Gold (unless he was either the #1 or the #3 in Mohaymen's last out... but, if he looks good on the track, I'm going Key him 3rd for $20.00 more.

I still don't like the Florida Derby and the way they make that track run like "I-10" on big race days, but; if O'Neil wants to take the chance and thinks he'll handle that track, then I'm game on him running 1st or 2nd to Mohaymen.

If the prior race has a strange payoff and no one hits the PentaFecta,  I might take a small stab in the FL Derby with a 7 horse field.  I'm hoping that Mohaymen goes off as the favorite and gets beat by Nyquist.  Nyquist has already showed he will run at Keeneland and Mohaymen has won once in NY, right?

slimshadyjd69 More than 1 year ago
Joe Trezza More than 1 year ago
Mohaymen will blow by Nyquist to win the Florida Derby
billybudd16 More than 1 year ago
Nyquist will fade in the stretch, may hold on for 2nd.
Drayton Nay More than 1 year ago
Nyquist too good for this group.
capitalismlives More than 1 year ago
Pletcher has one bullet and his name is Destin. Why tackle these two now. Better to go to the Blue Grass and set up for the Derby. Stay under the radar. This colt has the pedigree, the foundation and the toughness. We have to find out for sure if he's not just partial to Tampa. I don't think so.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Pletcher's low on bullets already?
Ken Herlich More than 1 year ago
I want to see Mohaymen and Nyquist fully extended