Monarchos, winner of the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby in 2001
This weekend should have more impact on the Kentucky Derby field than any so far. Major prep races will be held in Florida, New York, and California with many of the top Triple Crown prospects taking to the track. First off on Saturday at Gulfstream Park is the Florida Derby where the field 11 includes such top prospects as Harlan's Holiday, D'Coach, and Booklet. On the undercard is the Swale Stakes where some of the second tier will try to graduate to the first string. Sunday will have three big preps with the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, the Gotham at Aqueduct, and the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs. Siphonic faces six opponents in the San Felipe in what should be an easy win for him. Up at Aqueduct, highly regarded late starters Mayakovsky and Saarland will be making their 2002 debuts. In the Tampa Bay Derby you have Bunk N Ted going up against Showmeitall and Political Attack in a field of 10.
This looks to be an exciting weekend of racing with all these major prep races plus Pool Two of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. My advice is to wait until Sunday afternoon and see what happened in the preps before you decide who to bet on in the Future Wager. Check out the odds around 5pm and make your bets at the last minute (wagering closes at 5:30pm EST).
ESPN will show the Florida races on Saturday from 5:00-6:00pm EST while ESPN2 will have the Sunday races from 4:00-5:00pm. You can also watch or listen online at the links provided below. Past performances for all the races will be available free online from DRF and Equibase with links after the entries below. Here are the fields for each race with morning line odds where available and links to useful info for each.
Swale Stakes (G3)
Purse: $150,000 Distance: 7 furlongs Post Time: 1:25pm EST