03/27/2013 11:14AM

Florida Derby: Itsmyluckyday to break from post 3; Shanghai Bobby gets rail

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Tom Keyser
Itsmyluckyday was made the track's 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Florida Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – And then there were 10.

What originally was shaping up to be a small field due to the imposing presence of Itsmyluckyday, Orb and Shanghai Bobby – three of the top four horses on Daily Racing Form’s Derby Watch – swelled to 10 when entries were drawn Wednesday for Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby.

The Grade 1 Florida Derby will top a 13-race program at Gulfstream Park which also includes its filly counterpart, the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks. The Florida Derby is worth 170 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, including 100 to the winner.

Indy’s Illusion, who will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh, was the latest to join a Florida Derby field that also consists of Pick of the Litter (Jesus Castanon), Pontiff (Alan Garcia), Frac Daddy (Corey Lanerie), Merit Man (Kent Desormeaux), Are You Kidding Me (Jose Lezcano) and Narvaez (Paco Lopez).

Pick of the Litter and Pontiff, the only maiden in the lineup, are trained by Dale Romans but will run as separate betting interests.

[FLORIDA DERBY: Get PPs, watch Saturday's full card live]

Shanghai Bobby had the worst luck of the big three at Wednesday’s draw, getting post 1 for his rematch with Itsmyluckyday. Shanghai Bobby suffered the first loss of his career when finishing second behind Itsmyluckyday in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. Shanghai Bobby, last year’s champion juvenile male, enters the Florida Derby with only 24 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. He’ll again be ridden by Rosie Napravnik.

“It wouldn’t have been our first choice, but it is what it is,” trainer Todd Pletcher said about drawing the rail with Shanghai Bobby. “As for how it affects our strategy, a lot will depend upon what the other speed horses choose to do.”

Itsmyluckyday will break from post 3 as the 2-1 morning-line favorite, while Orb, the winner of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in his last start, drew post 6.

“I don’t want a redraw,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. deadpanned in regard to Itsmyluckyday’s starting position for the Florida Derby. “Three was one of my top three choices and should allow him to get good position not too far off the pace.”

Itsmyluckyday overcame post 7 under jockey Elvis Trujillo when he ran down Shanghai Bobby to register a two-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull. Trujillo again has the call Saturday.

Trainer Shug McGaughey said he’d hoped to draw somewhere between posts 2 and 7 with Orb, and, like Plesa, he got his wish. The stretch-running Orb and jockey John Velazquez also should get a little help with the pace scenario due to the presence of the speedy Merit Man in the field.

Indy’s Illusion was a bit of an unexpected addition to the field. The homebred son of A.P. Indy is trained by Barclay Tagg for owner Charles Fipke. He is coming off a second-place finish, a neck behind Gunderman, going 1 1/8 miles under first-level optional-claiming conditions here earlier this month.