The $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park highlights the second weekend of major Kentucky Derby qualifiers. One of seven prep races awarding a combined 170 points toward a Kentucky Derby berth (100-40-20-10), the 1 1/8-mile event has attracted a field of 11. Before we analyze the BRIS Speed ratings for this year’s Florida Derby field, let’s take review the numbers for the previous 10 winners. Here are the BRIS Speed ratings for Florida Derby winners entering the race:

Horse BRIS Speed
Audible 105
94
Always Dreaming 84
89
Nyquist 103
98
Materiality 100
96
Constitution 96
88
Orb 102
89
Take Charge Indy 109
96
Dialed In 98
104
Ice Box 90
94
Quality Road 110
97
Analysis: Six-of-10 winners had earned a triple-digit BRIS Speed rating, five from the previous effort and one from the penultimate start. Constitution (88-96) didn’t meet the threshold but brought improving numbers into the race. Audible (94-105), Orb (89-102), Quality Road (97-110) and Take Charge Indy (96-109) entered the Florida Derby off a race in which their Speed ratings increased by 10+ points. Three-of-10 showed declining numbers, with Ice Box (94-90) and Always Dreaming (89-84) possessing significantly lower Speed ratings than the rest. Always Dreaming’s numbers are an outlier in my estimation because they didn’t come under normal race conditions – they were essentially paid workouts as he controlled the pace from the start under a gallop and never got out of third gear winning by 10+ lengths against grossly overmatched competition. It’s not a leap of faith to believe Always Dreaming could have established a realistic pace in both races (resulting in a much higher Speed rating) and won easily as well. Here are the last two BRIS Speed ratings for this year’s field (listed in post order):
Horse BRIS Speed
Hidden Scroll 91
102
Current 90
81
Harvey Wallbanger 95
81
Bourbon War 94
96
Everfast 73
94
Hard Belle 79
72
Maximum Security 100
96
Bodexpress 97
80
Code of Honor 95
91
Union’s Destiny 87
99
Garter and Tie 89
97
Analysis: Maximum Security (last race) and Hidden Scroll (two starts back) are the only runners to notch a triple-digit BRIS Speed figure in the last two starts. Easy to appreciate the Speed rating improvement from Maximum Security’s last three starts (94-96-100). Code of Honor (91-95) also brings a pattern we’ve seen from past winners. Everfast (21-point), Union’s Destiny (12-point) and Hidden Scroll (11-point) show a precipitous Speed figure decline in the last outing, which hasn’t been characteristic of Florida Derby winners the last decade. Last-out graded stakes winner Harvey Wallbanger ranks among the top four with a 95 last-out Speed rating and is listed at 15-1 on the morning line. Current, Hard Belle, Union’s Destiny and Garter and Tie will need to improve significantly to be competitive.