Meet the Contenders: 2024 Florida Derby

March 26th, 2024

Meet the horses running in the 2024 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. For each horse, we're listing a pro, a con, and a rating of potential. The star rating of 1 to 5 represents opportunity to perform well. Be sure to follow these contenders by adding them to your Stable Alerts.

Frankie's Empire (Photo by Coady Photography)

#1 Frankie’s Empire           ***

Pro: Four-time winner has overachieved since joining the Michael Yates barn.

Con: Would need to take a more serious step forward to contend for the win.

Hades wins at Gulfstream (Photo by Coglianese Photogrraphy / Credit to Ryan Thompson)

#2 Hades                           ****

Pro: Undefeated gelding turn in surprise Holy Bull (G3) win, repelling champion Fierceness.

Con: Got away with a crawling pace in that race; likely sees more pressure this time.

Bail Us Out wins at Gulfstream Park (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#3 Bail Us Out                   **

Pro: From the same connections of Fierceness and enters off maiden win over Tapeta.  

Con: Based on dirt form, late developer would fit better in an N1X allowance.

Grand Mo the First (Photo by Coglianese Photography / Credit to Lauren King)

#4 Grand Mo the First        ***

Pro: Never worse than third and narrowly missed in Tampa Bay Derby (G2) photo.

Con: Tampa prep came back rather slow in comparison to other Derby trials.

Real Macho wins at Gulfstream Park (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#5 Real Macho                  **

Pro: Ran below expectations in Fountain of Youth (G2); prior allowance win was better.

Con: Seemingly better around one turn more than two.

Le Dom Bro (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#6 Le Dom Bro                   ***

Pro: Second to Dornoch in Fountain of Youth, albeit renewal that lacked depth.

Con: Hasn’t won since August and not at all beyond six furlongs.

Catalytic wins at Gulfstream Park (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

#7 Catalytic                       **

Pro: Much in need of comeback attempt at Tampa; extra distance should help.

Con: Must improve in hurry to land a piece of the purse.

Seminole Chief (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#8 Seminole Chief              **

Pro: Form has been erratic, but three-time winner owns a stakes victory on this track.

Con: Enters with class questions and perhaps a pace factor at best.

Conquest Warrior wins at Gulfstream Park (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#9 Conquest Warrior         ****

Pro: Looks the most serious threat to top two following track-and-distance allowance win.

Con: That allowance came up light after scratches; tested for class here. 

Fierceness at Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Saratoga (Photo by Horsephotos)

#10 Fierceness                    *****

Pro: Juvenile champion capable of much more than he showed in Holy Bull.

Con: Tends to need things to go his own way; might or might not get that here.


Iris's Dream wins at Gulfstream Park (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#11 Iris’s Dream                  *

Pro: Much improved this year, albeit against far weaker competition.

Con: Landing here after maiden optional claiming win on grass appears an overreach.