03/12/2010 1:00AM

Soaring Empire to take shot in Florida Derby


Soaring Empire, an impressive seven-furlong allowance winner here earlier in the meet, has tossed his hat in the ring for next Saturday's Grade 1 Florida Derby, said trainer Cam Gambolati.

Soaring Empire, a son of Empire Maker, is owned by Rick Pitino's Ol Memorial Stable and Clinton Glasscock. Soaring Empire has won 2 of his 3 starts, with his lone loss a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs in his 2-year-old finale.

"We've weighed the options and decided to go ahead and give him a chance," said Gambolati. "His race here was very good to win after getting nailed at the start. I know we're a little behind the eight-ball, but they only get one chance."

Soaring Empire is scheduled to have his final work for the Florida Derby on Sunday morning at Palm Meadows.