03/27/2013 12:14PM

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

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.

Snarky More than 1 year ago
Hey, Post #1 isn't bad at Gulfstream for a speed horse. And if Chinese Bobby can beat six or seven of the others to the first turn, he has as good a chance to get the distance there as he would anywhere. Success at FG's tiring track and long stretch would be out of the question for young Bobby and going long from Post #1 at the Kentucky track could only result in a Churchill Downer.
Thomas More than 1 year ago
agree snarky - the one hole is ideal for early speed types around two turns at gulf - don't know why pletchers whining
Tom Fritzsche More than 1 year ago
IMLD has won when given two to four weeks from his prior race. He lost his debut and twice with longer layoffs. This pattern doesn't bode well for Sat. and May 4.......who knows?
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
Bobby can let Merit Man set a false pace until the turn for home and bobby says see ya!!! I happen to own a See Ya motor home.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Loving this race! Orb, Lucky and Bobby racing head-to-head. Orb is already guaranteed a spot in the starting gate at Churchill in the Derby, so this race is not as urgent for him to do well or win as it is for Lucky and Bobby, but it's going to be a great race all the same because these horses are all Type A competitors. I love the running style of both Lucky and Orb and I'm looking forward to a powerful run from both of them, especially in the stretch. This is a great time for horse racing fans - the Florida Derby, the Dubai World Cup and the Louisiana Derby. Lots of great racing ahead. Good luck Lucky, Orb and Bobby, to all of you placing wagers, and may all of the horses be fit and healthy coming out of all of these races. I get a feeling these three races will be incredibly exciting, competitive and thrilling. I can't wait!!
dameian ramsay More than 1 year ago
Bobby won't win if he engages in a speed duel. There are other speed horses in this race. Could setup nicely for orb again. Watchout for indy illusion
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
My spidey-sense is tingling. I smell huge longshot in the works.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Frac Daddy and Ken Mc Peek
Roger More than 1 year ago
Shanghai Bobby by six or seven. Orb midpack. Itsmyluckyday breaks down.
Terri Zeitz More than 1 year ago
What a terrible thing to say about Itsmyluckyday or any horse for that matter. The horse is a sound horse and doesn't have any soundness issues in his pedigree. The only relative with soundness issues is Mr. Prospector, but Lucky is from a very sound son of his: Crafty Prospector. And he doesn't have AP Indy (quarter cracks) in his pedigree. And he's been trained and worked over a very deep track at Calder; he is often trained to run a mile at that track.
Thomas More than 1 year ago
sick roger really sick
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Wow. That's just wrong.
redboy More than 1 year ago
I think Bobby would have had a much better shot at winning had he been outside of Merit Man,He's got the 1 spot and Merit Man to his outside ,ouch .Bobby is such a Game horse his competitive instincts will get the better of him ,will see who the better closer is
daniel More than 1 year ago
ORB......IT i.e;He will be in orbit when he wins the Floida Derby.6/3 exacta.
Greg Stevens More than 1 year ago
I like orb..... Don't think SB can get the distance...he would have crumbled in the juvenile if it wasn't such a speed favoring track that day...he was tired and drained to hold off a very weak He's Had Enough