HRI Edited Release – Following a successful renewal of the $4 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Championship Series presented by Runhappy, Gulfstream Park turns its attention to 3-year-olds as they begin the march toward the $1 million Florida Derby (G1).
Inaugurated in 1952, the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby has seen 44 starters go on to win a remarkable 59 Triple Crown races through 68 runnings. The 69th Florida Derby Saturday, March 28 will headline a weekend of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.225 million in purses.
The first post-Pegasus step toward the Florida Derby comes Saturday, Feb. 1 with the 31st renewal of the $250,000 Holy Bull (G3). Among the horses pointing to the 1 1/16-mile fixture are 2019 Champagne (G1) winner Tiz the Law and Chance It, who kicked off Gulfstream’s sophomore series with a gutsy head victory in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man Jan. 4.
Also possible for the Holy Bull are Caracaro, an impressive six-length maiden winner at Gulfstream Jan. 11; Ete Indien, unbeaten in two starts at Gulfstream, most recently in a one-mile optional claiming allowance Dec. 20; Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Toledo, second to Ete Indien in last month’s race; Uncork the Bottle, a perfect 3-0 lifetime with wins on dirt and turf; and Mayberry Deputy, a Gulfstream maiden winner Dec. 28.
The Holy Bull headlines a program that includes five stakes, all for 3-year-olds, worth $750,000 in purses that includes the $150,000 Swale (G3), a seven-furlong sprint expected to draw Saratoga Special (G2) winner and Champagne (G1) runner-up Green Light Go, Parx Juvenile Stakes winner Mischevious Alex, Ralph Nicks-trained Gulfstream stakes winner Shivaree, and Untitled, an 11-length debut winner at Gulfstream Dec. 14.
Sophomore fillies will sprint seven furlongs on the dirt in the $150,000 Forward Gal (G3), where Slam Dunk Racing, Legacy Ranch Inc., and Doug Branham’s undefeated Tonalist’s Shape is expected to seek her fourth consecutive victory and second straight in a stakes following her nine-length romp in the one-mile Hut Hut Nov. 30.
At one mile on the turf are the $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) for fillies and the $100,000 Dania Beach. She’s My Type and Moral Reasoning, separated by a neck when first and second, respectively, in the 7 ½-furlong Ginger Brew Jan. 4 at Gulfstream are expected in the Sweetest Chant, along with Cheermeister and Sunset Promise, the 1-2 finishers in the Nov. 30 Wait A While.
Klaravich Stables, Inc.’s Moral Reasoning is trained by four-time Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown, who won six consecutive editions of the Sweetest Chant from 2012-17. Klaravich and William H. Lawrence shared the 2019 Eclipse Award as leading owner and as owners of Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar. Brown-trained Bricks and Mortar launched an undefeated 2019 season with a victory in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) last January.
Field Pass, second by a length in the With Anticipation (G3) last summer at Saratoga; Get Smokin, beaten a half-length when second to Island Commish in the Kitten’s Joy (G3) Jan. 4 at Gulfstream; and Street Sense Stakes winner South Bend, yet to make his turf debut after going three-for-five on the dirt, are expected in the Dania Beach