Dubai World Cup & Florida Derby Day …

Big day of racing ….

The first three are in the books in Dubai and so far Rick Dutrow and Edgar Prado are having a big night.

They won the Godolphin Mile with a resurgent Diamond Stripes, who looked finished in early stretch.

They also won the Golden Shaheen with Benny the Bull. Idiot Proof completed an all American exacta.

Mick De Kock continued his dominance of the UAE Derby, running 1st and 2nd with Honour Devil and Royal Vintage.

Next up is the Dubai Duty Free to be run over the good turf course. Literato looks like the one to beat for Godolphin. I also like Bullish Luck and Darjina. America’s only hope rides on the back of Notional, who is taking tons of tote action in the American pools.

The Duty Free with be followed up by the Sheema Classic, also over the turf. Breeders Cup turf hero Better Talk Now will attempt to get back to form here. Spring House is the other American hope.

The final on the card, with a 1:30est post time is the World Cup that features our horse of the year, Curlin. Curlin will attempt to stamp himself as the world’s best horse, which he most likely will do. However, he is probably going to be 2-5 or lower in the American pools, which is why my selection will be Vermillion Vermillion is a horse I mentioned a few weeks ago as one to watch headed into this race after watching him capture a G1 in Japan over 18 other rivals if I remember correctly. It was a distance short of his best and was reported as only a prep, with the World Cup being the target. He will be an overlay in the American pools. Well Armed is another US hopeful, exiting the San Antonio at Santa Anita, a race in which he won in front running fashion, beating ‘Big Cap hero Heatseeker.  Great Hunter and AP Arrow round out the American charges.

 I will also box Vermillion, Jalil, Astiatic Boy, and Happy Boy. If Curlin runs out of the exacta … $$$$$$$.

Aqueduct’s feature is the G3 Next Move for older fillies and mares. Short field of 5 entered here. I liked Stage Luck in her last, which was against many of these same foes. So, why not go right back.

Laurel’s Feature is the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial going 1 1/8 over the main track. Divine Park is entered in here but is expected to scratch for a spot at Aqueduct. Kaufy Big Shot and Saratoga Lulaby enter back here after finishing 1 – 2 in a allowance race here at Laurel. I like Saratoga Lulaby to turn the tables on that foe.

Gulfstream Park takes the American spotlight this weekend, featuring the G1 Florida Derby. Card is pretty solid start to finish.

Race 5 kicks of the stakes action at Gulfstream, it is the Shirley Jones. Sugar Swirl should win this one and most likely an odds on price.

Race 6 is an Optional Claiming/Money Allowance featuring the return of Chelokee, who finished 3rd in last years Florida Derby and was the winner of the G3 Northern Dancer at Churchill.

Race 7 is the G3 Palm Beach for 3 year olds over the turf. No Cowboy Cow or Why Tonto, which should open up the wagering. I like Cherokee Focus to upset the apple cart. Lightly races with a decent turf pedigree and good turf trainer against a field with no world beaters.

Race 9 is the G2 Bonnie Miss for 3 year old fillies over the main track. I like #7 Highest Class who exits and G2 heat at the Fair Grounds when she finished 3rd behind Proud Spell and Indian Blessing. Both of those would be odds on in here.

Race 1o is the Florida Derby. Big Brown has gotten the most press in here and probably deservedly so. I spoke about him a few weeks ago after his blow out allowance win. He looked awesome. However, he drew the 12 hole in here. I read recently that no one has won from the 11 or 12 post going 1 1/8 at Gulfstream since the track was reconfigured. Only two horses have own from the 10 post and one of those was a colt named Barbaro, you may have heard of him. I like Fierce Wind in here. Should get a nice ground saving trip and the Sam Davis has turned up live enough to warrant it a solid race.

Good day of racing … perhaps the first signs of spring on the horizon.

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