Pricci's Free Daily Feature Race Analysis

Whenever his daily work schedule permits, HorseRaceInsider executive editor John Pricci will analyze that day's feature race from a major thoroughbred-racing jurisdiction.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Holy Batman, It’s Catholic Boy

As a Kentucky Derby prep, the Florida Derby needs no introduction. But this is a million-dollar Grade 1 and no one takes that lightly. Here are thumbnails of some of the live runners in today's lynchpin of Gulfstream's championship meet:

STRIKE POWER (4-1) PR: 90. It is one thing to be sprint meant, win a Grade 2 in your second start, and finish a good second to a good colt in another Grade 2 going two turns for the first time. But it’s another trying to get another furlong with better and faster. Helped by the draw and leading rider Saez, who’s had himself a history-making meet. Will he stay all 9F?

PROMISES FULFILLED (3-1) PR: 95. This is a good colt; how good we find out today. Three-for-four lifetime, only defeat in excuse-riddled Kentucky Jockey Club last fall. Excellent cruising speed was on display in very strong Fountain of Youth run. But now he, too, must answer the nine furlong question with much tougher. Won’t get away with 48 2/5 today. Already has required Derby points.

STORM RUNNER (20-1) PR: 91. It wasn’t so much that he was forced to check out of a spot he should not have been in in the first place last time, the question is why move so early in the race? Tyler G. gets the reins today and will know what to do with them. Previously won both prior dirt runs, one at GP, and worked strong 5F in 59. Very difficult, but not without a puncher’s chance.

CATHOLIC BOY (7-2) PR: 94. Really like this individual. He’s 3-for-5, won the Remsen at today’s trip—the only runner who can make that claim—and was an excellent second in G2 ‘Sammy’ at TAM in 3YO debut when forced to maintain contact early, not his best game. Very likely to benefit, four purposeful works for this, including GP blowout, for talented young trainer 29% profitable with shippers and gets one of America’s strongest and hottest riders, Ortiz the Elder. Fits shape; needs Derby points.

HOFBURG (20-1) PR: 91. Be afraid. Maybe not every afraid, but Bill Mott is no wild and crazy guy. To enter Grade 1 off a maiden win in which he was superior from post 11, his two-turn and season’s debut, taking comfortable but premature lead after racing extremely wide—all that despite gate issues and racing greenly. A son of Tapit and grandson of Belmont-winning Touch Gold, Juddmonte runner not here on a whim.

AUDIBLE (9-5) PR: 106. Three for three going long, including G2 Holy Bull in which he stalked and crushed. The vanquished have not distinguished themselves since but that might be more about this guy’s dominance. The pace was rock solid and he finished like a rocket, re-breaking after straightening on with the lead into the short-stretch mile and a sixteenth. Johnny replaces Dubai Javier. Given the dynamics, wide draw a plus. Poor workout habits a concern, but Todd says that’s him. Your move.

MISSISSIPPI (12-1) PR: 92. Two placings over the track--including one behind Noble Indy--were really first rate. Had six works since his last run on FEB 4, three of them bullets, presumably in his new blinkers. With the favorite is drawn next door, this is much tougher assignment because he likely won’t be able to match Audible’s tactical or closing speed naturally. Stable rider Leparoux; best chance is minor share.

Taking Catholic Boy to win at early line odds, an exacta box with Audible, and will look to get Storm Runner and Mississippi into the multiples mix.


Number of Selections since 2007: 247

Number of Win and Place Finishes: 737-494

Amount Wagered: $4,948 [$2 to win only]

Total Dollar Return on Investment: $4,991.70

Exacta Finishes All Selections since 2007: 49.7%

Profit to Date: $43.70

Written by John Pricci


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