The 2017 Florida Derby will take place this evening from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, as the best horses in the world battle it out for a chance at earning a spot in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Today’s race is the first of several Grade II stake races that will help determine the possible field for the upcoming “Run for the Roses” this May and possibly give the winning horse a shot a Triple Crown.
— Gulfstream Park (@GulfstreamPark) March 31, 2017
However, first steps first, and that is winning the Florida Derby.
According to Bloodhorse, Gunnevera comes in to the Florida Derby as the horse to beat. Fresh off of a runaway win of over five lengths at the Fountain of Youth race on March 4, this horse has the speed and the pedigree to make some noise at the Florida Derby. The son of the 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In is the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s $1 million, Grade I Xpressbet Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
A victory today at the Florida Derby could go a long way in terms of making the field in Kentucky this May. While trainer Antonio Sano loves Gunnevera’s chances of winning, he wishes that they had a better draw at the gate. Gunnevera will start out of the 10 slot for today’s Florida Derby, which makes it a bit more of a difficult ride.
“It’s a difficult post, but we have Three Rules inside of us, so that’s going to help, because he’s going to go,” Sano said March 29, after Gunnevera drew the outside post 11 and was installed as the 9-5 favorite on the Florida Derby morning line. “We’re going to be dropping to the rail. Castellano knows what to do. He knows this track better than anyone. And my horse comes from behind, so it’s not a problem for us.”
Gunnevera will have one of the best jockeys when he hits the turf Saturday in Javier Castellano. Castellano has been one of the best riders at Gulfstream over the past five years, and the veteran jock knows what it takes to win big races. The Venezuelan-born Castellano was ranked No. 3 overall last year out of 877 jockeys, while earning over $4 million.
While every stake race is important, the Florida Derby is key for all of the participants running today. To be considered for the Kentucky Derby, a horse must have a certain amount of points, and they get those points by finishing in the top four in certain stake races on the thoroughbred racing schedule.
The Florida Derby points system is a big one, especially for the win and place horses. The winner of today’s Florida Derby will collect 100 points, while second place in the derby will earn 40. The show horse will earn 20 points while the horse that finishes fourth will collect 10 points.
Other horses to keep an eye on today include Battalion Runner and Always Dreaming. A son of Bodemeister, Always Dreaming has the potential to pull off a bit of an upset here today.
Fans can catch all of the action live nationally through TVG. If you are on the go, you can also watch the big race streaming live online through your tablet or cell phone by heading to Gulfstream.com. If you can’t see the Florida Derby live, be sure to check back here for the results as they will be posted in the comments section below.
Here is the complete field, post positions, and current odds to win the 2017 Florida Derby. Post time is set for 6:40 p.m. ET.
Florida Derby Odds
- State of Honor — Julien Leparoux, 8-1
- Talk Logistics –Joe Bravo, 30-1
- Charlie the Greek — Leonel Reyes, 50-1
- Always Dreaming — John Velazquez, 4-1
- Quinientos — Carlos Montalvo, 50-1
- Coleman Rocky — Jose Ortiz, 30-1
- Unbridled Holiday — Nik Juarez, 30-1
- Impressive Edge — Corey Lanerie, 12-1
- Battalion Runner — John Velazquez, 3-1
- Three Rules — Luis Saez, 8-1
- Gunnevera — Javier Castellano, 9-5
[Featured Image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]