Catholic Boy can Answer Prayers with Florida Derby Win

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 9:29 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2018 9:29 PM UTC

Saturday's Florida Derby at historic Gulfstream Park in Hallandale is the site of the second of the “Super Six” Kentucky Derby prep races. Let's check out the field and provide some picks.

Horse Racing: Florida Derby Preview

Traditionally run five weeks before the Kentucky Derby, the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale is Saturday (post time 6:30 p.m. ET; NBC). The talented nine-horse field includes Holy Bull Stakes winner Audible (10/1 to win Kentucky Derby, Bovada), Fountain of Youth winner Promises Fulfilled (16/1), Strike Power (20/1) and Catholic Boy (25/1).

Three of the final four Super Six events will be held April 7 -- the Wood Memorial Stakes from Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens, New York; the Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky; and the highly anticipated Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. The Arkansas Derby, on April 14 at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs, will wrap up Super Six prep races. The Kentucky Derby is May 5.

Eighteen winners of the Florida Derby, which has been run since 1952, have gone on to win Triple Crown races, including three of the last five Kentucky Derby winners: Always Dreaming (2017), Nyquist (2016) and Orb (2013). Big Brown followed a 2008 Florida Derby win with victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but a loose shoe in the Belmont Stakes spoiled a potential Triple Crown celebration.

Audible Is Favorite

The Florida Derby draw was held Wednesday. Here are the post positions, morning-line track odds and jockeys for the 9-furlong race:

1. Strike Power 4/1 (Luis Saez)

2. Millionaire Runner 50/1 (Jose Batista)

3. Tip Sheet 30/1 (Edgard Zayas)

4. Promises Fulfilled 3/1 (Robby Albarado)

5. Storm Runner 20/1 (Tyler Gaffalione)

6. Catholic Boy 7/2 (Irad Ortiz Jr.)

7. Hofburg 20/1 (Jose Ortiz)

8. Auduble 9/5 (John Velazquez)

9. Mississippi 12/1 (Julien Leparoux)

Strike Power won the Swale Stakes on Feb. 3 and finished second to Promises Fulfilled in the Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 3. Another thoroughbred to watch besides morning-line favorite Audible is Madaket Stables’ Catholic Boy, who ran a :48.46 in 4 furlongs in a morning workout on March 25 in preparation for the race. Some deem this a three-horse race (Audible, Promises Fulfilled, Catholic Boy), but don't overlook Strike Power and Storm Runner. A win by Catholic Boy would launch him into the Kentucky Derby conversation. Expect this 66-year-old race to be wide open, but it’s hard to see the 2018 Kentucky Derby winner coming from this race.

Bolt d’Oro Remains Atop Poll

The latest Kentucky Derby Media Poll has San Felipe Stakes winner Bolt d’Oro (7/1 to win Kentucky Derby, Bovada) still at No. 1 and McKinzie (7/1) at No. 2, with Justify (8/1) replacing Rebel Stakes winner Magnum Moon in the No. 3 spot.

Justify, a Bob Baffert-trained chestnut colt by Scat Daddy, has registered the highest Beyer number this season (for all 3-year-old females and males) with a 103 in cruising to a 9½-length win in the Santa Anita Derby on Feb. 18 Justify also recorded a 101 with a 6½-length victory in a Santa Anita allowance race on March 11. Audible (99) has the highest Beyer number this year among Florida Derby hopefuls and Promises Fulfilled (96) is second, both at Gulfstream Park.

Free Florida Derby Pick: Catholic Boy (No. 6) to Win

Free Florida Derby Trifecta Pick: 6-8-4 (Catholic Boy - Audible - Promises Fulfilled)

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