Kentucky Derby Prep Races: Florida Derby Odds, Race Preview

Written By Dave Bontempo on April 1, 2022
Florida Derby odds horse racing form

Will weather impact the Florida Derby on Saturday? That is one variable handicappers will have to consider when looking at Florida Derby odds, amid forecasts of thunderstorms and afternoon rains before the 6:38 p.m. ET post time of the $1 million, 1 1–8-mile Kentucky Derby prep race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.

Two perspectives for nationwide horse racing bettors, who can access the action and an excellent day of racing across America on TVG. One, check races throughout the afternoon. Two, watch the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks at 5:17 p.m., just more than an hour before the main event, to gauge the track surface. Remember that forecasts, even those involving rain, can shift to a couple of hours later once the day arrives.

Otherwise, the battle is an excellent matchup of White Abarrio, Simplification, Classic Causeway, up-and-coming Charge It and an overall field of 11.

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The Morning Line: Florida Derby Odds

Check out Florida Derby Morning Line odds below and click to bet with TVG.

PostHorseOddsTrainerJockey
1Strike Hard20-1Matthew WilliamsJr. Alvarado
2Classic Causeway7-2Brian LynchIrad Ortiz
3Simplification5-2Antonio SanoJose Ortiz
4King of Truth50-1Amador SanchezJose Moreios
5Pappacap10-1Mark CasseEdwin Gonzalez
6Charge It7-2Todd PletcherLouis Saez
7White Abbarrio3-1Saffie Joseph Jr.Tyler Gaffalione
8Cajun's Magic30-1Michael YatesJesus Rios
9O Captain20-1Gustavo DelgadoJoel Rosario
10Clapton30-1Juan AlvaradoEmisael Jaramillo
11Steal Sunshine30-1Robert DiBonaLeonel Reyes 30-1

Florida Derby field

Strike Hard (20-1): Doesn’t figure to be in this. Won nicely at allowance optional claiming, which got him into the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay, but he was a distant fourth to Classic Causeway there. Would be a solid horse a couple levels down, but his handlers keep pointing him up.

Classic Causeway (7-2): Nothing wrong with fractions of 22.66 for the quarter-mile and 46.67 for the half en route to a pacesetting triumph in the Sam Davis. But this is a step up and it would not seem that he’ll get an untroubled lead. Will be a factor early and a threat to steal if the field lets him, but White Abarrio should be forwardly-placed too. Had an 84 Beyer Speed figure in the Tampa Bay Derby, which would not be enough here. Trainer Brian Lynch said he thought the 84 looked like 110. The halfway mark of those figures, 96, would put him there. Intrigue increases if the rain does.

Simplification (5-2): Redeemed the blown start in the Holy Bull by winning the Fountain of Youth. Should stalk and attack. But winning time in the Fountain of Youth was 1:44.04, slower than White Abarrio’s clocking of 1:42.80 over the same distance and surface. Will be right there but is White Abarrio simply a little better? Or did White Abarrio’s layoff and recent bout with the fever change the pendulum? Either way, must get a stronger break than he’s been getting. Reigning recent Beyer speed figure of 96, second to White Abarrio’s 97. Absolute win contender.

King of Truth (50-1): Could not beat Strike it Hard on dirt and failed to win on Grass. The King of Truth statement is that 50-1 is about right.

Pappacap (10-1): Major curiosity. Was right there with fellow 7-2 shot Epicenter, now the possible Kentucky Derby favorite, around the final turn at the Risen Star Stakes. And then he faded into another zip code and finished next to last. Haven’t seen anything that suggested an excuse. Looks like he’s regressed since finishing second to Corniche in the Breeders Cup Juvenile last November.

Charge It (7-2): Is going to be a special horse, the question is whether this is that day. Connected with Todd Pletcher, who has a record seven Eclipse awards. Pletcher holds the race record for six victories, five in the last eight years. Charge It is ridden by the track’s leading jockey ,Luis Saez. Lost a sizzling debut, marked by a race-long duel with Volcanic. Improved by nearly a second the next time to win in a hand ride. The improvement could have been more than two seconds, if necessary. Now switches to two turns and higher class. Normally too much, but one respects the judgement of these connections. A 93 Beyer speed figure in just his second race. Look out. Last year’s winner, Known Agenda, graduated from allowance optional claiming to the Florida Derby winner’s circle.

White Abarrio (3-1): Loved the put-away gear he showed to keep the five-length bulge over a charging Simplification in the Holy Bull. Concerns will be raised over a recent missed workout and fever, along with the layoff since Feb. 5. Not in the Derby if the cutoff was now. At 12 points, needs to finish in the Top 3 to ensure his trip to Louisville. Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. and leading the Gulfstream meet in victories. May tangle up front with Classic Causeway. Better if he can rate. The Beyer speed figure of 97 is tops in the race.

Cajun Magic (30-1): Showed early foot in the Holy Bull, running hard until midway through the home stretch. Hard to see him improving enough to best both Simplification and White Abarrio. But that will be the attempt.

O Captain (20-1): O Catalyst. Came from the clouds to nip co-favored Emmanuel for third in the Holy Bull at 80-1 odds. Completed a $1 trifecta for $1,161 and a $1 superfecta of $9,387. Would have similar attempted role. Benefitted from a spill that took two horses out of the race before his late charge. Keep underneath for value.

Clapton (30-1): Skeptics would say blues legend Eric Clapton has a better chance than the horse, who broke a six-race losing streak to prevail at Allowance $54,000. If he’s to be “Wonderful Tonight,” he’ll have to stretch out from seven furlongs and improve overnight. Appears only nine days after his last race. That’s usually good, we’ll see if that works in his favor.

Steal Sunshine (30-1): So why is this longshot here? Steal is the operative word. He is the only horse in the field to run 1 1-8 in his last race. And he was a good closing second, albeit at optional claiming. The horse who beat him by about four, Skippylongstocking, was just off the 1 1–8-mile time of 2021 Florida Derby winner Known Agenda.
That’s why his connections take this shot. Granted, he probably won’t get the gift suicide duel that helped him in the last race. But he’s been the distance. I keep him underneath for that reason alone.

Triple Crown Schedule

Betting Strategies for Gulfstream Park

On track listed fast

  • Beyers are not liars. Simplification, White Abarrio and Charge It figure prominently in my tickets. Classic Causeway gets points for early foot.
  • A 50-cent trifecta box 2-3-6-7 costs $12.
  • Leaning toward Simplification on the win bet on the hunch Abarrio needs one and will bring Charge It into an exacta box with him.
  • Leaving O Captain and Steal Sunshine underneath. Will take my stand with this half of the field and dismiss the rest.

On a wet track

Classic Causeway and White Abarrio gain more respect on projected speed angle. Not sure if Simplification or Charge It will like the wet. In any case, heavy rain diminishes the bet.

Road To Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

The top-20 healthy horses in the standings after all KY Derby prep races have completed will be eligible to enter the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.

RankHorsePointsTrainer
1Epicenter
164Steven M. Asmussen
2Zandon114Chad Brown
3White Abarrio
112Saffie Joseph, Jr.
4Mo Donegal112Todd Pletcher
5Tiz the Bomb110Kenny McPeek
6Cyberknife100Brad Cox
7Crown Pride (JPN)100Koichi Shintani
8Taiba100Tim Yakteen
9Simplification
74Antonio Sano
10Smile Happy
70Kenny McPeek
11Classic Causway66Brian Lynch
12Tawny Port60Brad Cox
13Barber Road
58John Ortiz
14Un Ojo
54Anthony W. Dutrow
15Messier40Tim Yakteen
16Zozos40Brad Cox
17Summer Is Tomorrow40Bhupat Seemar
18Charge It40Todd Pletcher
19Happy Jack30Doug O'Neill
20Pioneer of Medina25Todd Pletcher
21In Due Time24Kelly Breen
22Ethereal Road22D. Wayne Lukas
23Rich Strike21Eric Reed
24Rattle N Roll20Kenny McPeek

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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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