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Submitted by John Conte on Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 8:50 AM

Thursday, March 29

Over the course of the next few days I'll be posting a few of my thoughts regarding the Florida Derby.

As we progress through the next 5 plus weeks I'll be living, breathing, investigating, checking-and-rechecking works, connecting with the major players PLUS wagering and winning the Derby Preps and then the Kentucky Derby.

When it comes to the Florida Derby on Saturday (3/31) I plan on doing the same thing I did last week in the Louisiana Derby when my clients and I COLLECTED ALL THE WAGERS as those who responded to my e-mail offering the ALL STAKES PICK 4 which concluded with the Louisiana Derby COLLECTED A BUNDLE:

  • Race 8 - New Orleans Handicap- Good Samaritan (On Top) - Win $4.60
  • Race 9 - Muniz Memorial Handicap - Synchrony (Second Choice) - Win $8.00...DD $21.40
  • Race 10 - Fair Grounds Oaks - Chocolate Martini (Third Choice) - Win $29.80...DD $333.60...Pick 3 $479.20
  • Race 11 - Noble Indy (On Top) - Win $7.40...Lone Sailor - 2nd Exacta $74.00...My Boy Jack - 3rd Trifecta $381.40...DD $142.20...Pick 3 $893.60...Pick 4 $2,352.60

I know you will be playing the remaining Derby Preps. Therefore I want to SET YOU UP with ALL THE WAGERING MONEY YOU'LL NEED for all of them, including this Saturday's Florida Derby. On Thursday I'm ready with a Gulfstream Horse with form so well hidden I am calling it my OVERACHIEVER OF THE MONTH. This horse will PAY AT LEAST 10-1 and key the Exacta and Trifecta. It is THE FEATURE MOVE OF THREE BEST BETS on the day and I will include them all.


Or Play The 6 Remaining Derby Preps Plus Gulfstream Full card Saturday
& FREE BONUS 1-2-3-4 Kentucky Derby Selections - All for $99
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For now I have a few thoughts.


Generally speaking, the better quality the race horse the more able that horse is to overcome what is considered a favorable-for-the-surface running style.

I mention this because on Gulfstream Park's Main Oval there is a definite overall edge around two turns to speed, pressers and stalkers.

More so than any other main track at this time of the year, even the best horses, such as those that will be running in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on Saturday that edge has held in recent years.

In fact, 2011 can be located as a turning point in the "type" of runner that has been successful in the Florida Derby. It was in that year that the dirt track, which previously had no two turn races less than 1 1/8 miles and the track was renovated to accommodate 1 1/16 mile tests that were finished at the sixteenth pole. The surface and turn angles were altered a bit and the results were telling.

In 2010, Ice Box broke last of 11 in the Florida Derby, remained in 11th past the 7/8ths, 5/8ths and 3/8ths poles, 12, 10 and 8 lengths off the leader before rallying for the win.

In 2011, Dialed In broke last 0f 8 and remained in 8th place past the 7/8ths, 5/8ths and 3/8ths poles before unleashing a late rush to get the victory.

Then there were the renovations and the winning running style scenario was turned on its head.

Here are the Florida Derby running style profiles of the winners and second and third place finishers from 2012 to 2017.
The first second and third place finishers are followed by where they were in the race and how many lengths off the lead at the 7/8ths, 5/8th and 3/8th poles.

  • 2017
    Winner - Always Dreaming…3rd (1) 2 (1.5) 2 (1)
    Place - State Of Honor…2nd (1) 3rd (2.5) 4th (1.5)
    Third - Gunnevera - Lone closer to have any impact
  • 2016
    Winner - Nyquist…Wire-To-Wire
    Place - Majesto…7th (3.5) 6th (2.5) 5th (2)
    Note that Majesto was in 7th but only 3.5 and less lengths off the leader
    Show - Fellowship - Lone closer to have any impact but finished 5 lengths behind the winner.
  • 2015
    Winner - Materiality - Was a head back in second at the 7/8ths pole, took the lead outside the ¾ pole and lead throughout
    Place - Upstart - 3rd (1) 3rd (1) 2nd (.5)
    Show - Ami's Flatter - Closed a bit was 12.5 lengths behind Upstart.
  • 2014
    Winner - Constitution - 3rd (1.5) 4th (2) 3rd (2)
    Place - Set the pace for first three calls and was beaten a neck
    Show - General A Rod - 2nd (1) 2nd (1) 2nd (.5) - finished 1.5 lengths off winner.
  • 2013
    Winner - Orb - 5th (2.5) 5th (4) 5th (1.5)
    Again, note that while Orb was in mid-pack he was always stalking the pace-setter.
    Place - Itsmyluckyday - 4th (2) 4th (2) 3rd (1)
    Show - Merit Man - 2nd (Head) 1st - 1st
  • 2012
    Winner - Take Charge Indy - Wire-To-Wire
    Place - Reveron - 2nd (.5) 2nd (1) 2nd (.5)
    Show - Union Rags - 5th (2.5) 5th (3) 5th (3)

It doesn't take too much study to see what sort of speed, pressing or stalking ability you wish your runners to have in Saturday's Florida Derby. I'll definitely be applying this as I construct the way the race should be run. However, there are any number of aspiring 3-year olds who fit this profile. So while it definitely is a forceful starting point it will be only one of a number of key angles I'll apply.

I show you this so that you understand just how much goes into handicapping these Derby Preps.


Before I wrap up (check back with me Friday for a preview of the Florida Derby) I need to pass on the following.

This past weekend I heard more than one pundit extolling what he called the deep impact of Southern California 3-year olds in recent years. One went as far as saying that Southern California runners have "dominated the three year olds in the Kentucky Derby."

No one can take away California Chrome in 2014 and of course the history making performance by American Pharoah in 2015. But I guess those pundits have short memories because in 2017 Always Dreaming won the Florida derby and the Kentucky derby, In 2016 Nyquist won the Florida derby and the Kentucky derby, and in 2013 Orb won the Florida Derby and Kentucky derby.

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