03/27/2015 11:10AM

The Wizard: Taking a stand against the 8-5 and 2-1 favorites in Florida Derby

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By The Wizard

Saturday’s Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park offers very little surprises if you are searching for a longshot to upset the three clear betting favorites. It’s unfortunate, because Upstart, the 8-5 morning-line favorite, and Itsaknockout, the 2-1 second choice, are both the types of horses you want to take a position against.

Upstart was in a drive from the far turn to the finish of the Fountain of Youth, chasing Frosted who looked like a near cinch turning for home but flattened out badly in midstretch. Upstart was closest to that rival and inherited the lead. To the Wizard’s eyes, the final eighth-mile was run more in slow motion than watching horses accelerate strongly to the wire. Upstart drifted out late, impeding Itsaknockout, who was closing outside of him. Upstart was disqualified and placed second behind Itsaknockout.

Neither 3-year-old gave me the impression that Saturday’s additional sixteenth of a mile will help them. Who is the viable alternative to these two betting favorites? Materiality, who is third choice on the morning line at 7-2, looks like the best option and actually a pretty good one.

Materiality is 2 for 2 lifetime and is on the improve. He is the only horse in the field with a win at 1 1/8 miles, and that came 22 days ago stepping up into a stakes race off his maiden win. Materiality rated beautifully chasing in second. He easily blew by his stablemate at the top of the stretch to win by 5 3/4 lengths with plenty left in the tank. He clearly looks to have the most upside of any horse in the Florida Derby field, despite having the least experience. Both of Materiality’s wins have come over this track.

A Florida Derby victory by Materiality would at least represent south Florida with a viable Kentucky Derby contender. That would not be the case if either Upstart or Itsaknockout wins. Either are capable of winning a weak renewal of the Florida Derby, but the bus would stop right there as both clearly have distance limitations.

Because I have a negative opinion of the two morning-line favorites, this is a race I will wager on. I am suggesting a win bet on (7) MATERIALITY and equal exactas (7) MATERIALITY over (4) ITSAKNOCKOUT and (9) UPSTART, reversing both for half as much.

There are others on the 14-race card that I feel offer better wagering opportunities. You can find out more with my Gulfstream Park Full Card Selections for Saturday, March 28. Learn how I plan on betting those races with the Wizard’s Betting Window. Purchase both, and you receive a 25 percent savings.

James P More than 1 year ago
Materiality will go off at 2-1 or 9-5 and he still may be a good bet!
joe d More than 1 year ago
if pletcher REALLY had a solid derby horse ,besides maybe MATERIALITY(we will see tomorrow) with johnny v...... castellano would be on that horse. they are just trying to findout which horse johnny will ultimately ride in the derby. castellano does not have a serious mount yet.
Oliver Benavidez More than 1 year ago
Gotta love "the wiz", huh?? At least put your name out there like all the other so-called experts on this site. Prior to the FOY, Mr. Violette said that he had taken it easy on Upstart after his 106 BEYER SPEED FIGURE (that's for Joe D and his speed rating comment below) and he actually said the horse could "bounce" after such a great effort. Guess what, he did bounce, BUT he showed guts and determination by STILL getting to the wire first! Regardless of the RIDICULOUS disqualification by the Gulfstream stewards, he proved he will be a force to be reckoned with come the first Saturday in May. His workouts say he's going to fire a big one tomorrow and let's hope he clears and Jose Ortiz leaves a little something in the tank. Anything over even money is a steal, in my opinion.
joe d More than 1 year ago
materiality/ami's flatter str.exacta thats it. upstart/knockout not fast enough speed ratings.
Scott More than 1 year ago
Upstart wasn't even cranked in his last out and was still the best that day. You can hate the price, but if you don't cover him on top, then you'll be tossing your tickets. I'm inclined to watch this race as a this one as a fan and unlike the Wiz, I think this race could produce a very serious Derby contender.
Ron Rios More than 1 year ago
You know Materiality will be bet down, in fact might be the favorite….everybody is overlooking itsakockout…. that will be the value play at post
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
The Florida Derby is only for spectating; not speculating. There are too many "ifs" and "buts". Itsaknockout's lackluster victory in the Fountain of Youth could be explained by not fully recovering from the mile he posted on Jan. 4th. His pace figures in that race looked more like what I saw from Bayern late last year...who didn't recover from the Haskell in time to win the Travers. However, Itsaknockout was the best horse in the Fountain of Youth...but it doesn't guarantee a victory in the Florida Derby. Yes, Materiality could be the horse...but I somehow doubt it. I am passing this race. If I was going to play it, I would be looking at Jack Tripp...the fastest pace setter who's been running his butt off every couple of weeks from his 1st start to January 24th. A horse with this type of speed is dangerous off the layoff; might be just what the doctor ordered...and it could have been the plan all along.
slewof damascus More than 1 year ago
I agree with your sentiments, however I think the ML is way off. Materiality will be a lower price that Itsaknockout, as well it should be. The 102 Beyer (revised from 104, originally) achieved over the same GP surface from Materiality sticks out like a sore thumb, as do Itsaknockout's lowish Beyers. I like Materiality in this race, even though his price will be 2-1 or 5-2, the race shape is with him, and he has shown an uncommon professionalism which - if continues - makes him a standout in here. I like Itsaknockout for 2nd.
Pauly Patane More than 1 year ago
Your over thinking it, It'saknockout is by Lemon Drop Kid, why wouldn't he like 1 1/8? Ya, maybe you don't like 3-1 price, but he will be fine stretching out.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Didn't look like LDK at all. Can't win