The 2023 Florida Derby Tipsheet

March 28th, 2023

A field of 12 three-year-olds will travel 1 1/8 miles on the dirt at Gulfstream Park in Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby (G1). The 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series tilt will reward the top-five finishers with qualifying points on a 100-40-30-20-10 structure.

Florida Derby Picks

  • #11 Forte
  • #10 Fort Bragg
  • #12 Dubyuhnell
  • #4 Mage

Florida Derby Wagers

  • $1 superfecta key: 11 with 4, 10, 12 with 4, 10, 12 with all
  • $10 trifecta key: 11 with 10, 12

Florida Derby Contenders

#1 JUNGFRAU (20-1): The Juddmonte homebred graduated on the course two back but showed little in his recent Withers S. (G3) assignment. The gray son of Arrogate gets a nice draw on the rail for this event, and although he looks totally outmatched in the cast, trainer Bill Mott is an expert at placing his runners, so the colt will surely improve on this day. Paco Lopez will be in the silks.

#2 WEST COAST COWBOY (20-1): The Holy Bull (G3) third stretches out to nine panels for the initial time for Saffie Joseph. The chestnut son of West Coast has improved in each career try to date and could be an exotics contender with another forward move. Sonny Leon will be in the stirrups.

#3 SHAQ DIESEL (30-1): The Florida-bred son of Khozan was never a factor in the Risen Star S. (G2) when going off at 184-1 odds last time out, and he would be a major surprise in this run, even with the blinkers coming off.

#4 MAGE (10-1): The Gustavo Delgado trainee followed up a fine maiden tally with a good fourth in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) in his route debut last time out. The $290,000 son of Good Magic posted a pair of solid drills in the interim, and he surely merits respect while making just his third lifetime run. Luis Saez taking the reins is a major bonus, as well.

#5 MR. PEEKS (30-1): The Kentucky-bred son of California Chrome is still a maiden after a pair of sprint races but has flashed ability on each occasion. The colt was a clear runner-up in his latest endeavor, and I think that he could be sneaky as an exotics contender at huge odds on Saturday in his first run for Joseph.

#6 NAUTICAL STAR (30-1): Third from the Saffie Joseph shedrow, he graduated gamely at Oaklawn Park last time out and will take the huge class rise in here. The son of Dixie Chatter displayed a nice turn of foot most recently, but he is a serious question mark at nine panels, however. Leo Reyes will be in the silks. 

#7 IL MIRACOLO (30-1): The Gun Runner colt has been unplaced in four straight and will add blinkers for Antonio Sano. The $70,000 juvenile purchase will need a huge leap forward to challenge this cast under Jesus Rios.

#8 MR. RIPPLE (30-1): The Saffie Joseph trainee has never missed the board from a trio of career tries on the oval and makes his stakes debut on this occasion. The son of Dialed In was a nice second in a recent allowance tilt at the trip and could improve in his second two-turn outing with Edgard Zayas in the stirrups.

#9 CYCLONE MISCHIEF (8-1): The talented son of Into Mischief led in the stretch before checking in third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) for Dale Romans. The $450,000 yearling purchase has run huge races on the surface in two of his past three tries, and his best will have him in the hunt late under the guidance of Javier Castellano.

#10 FORT BRAGG (5-1): The West Coast import ran evenly when fifth in the deep San Felipe S. (G2) most recently and makes a lot of sense in his second run of the season. The expensive Tapit colt is bred to thrive at the distance, and he possesses the natural early speed to avoid a poor trip from this post slot, as well. Joel Rosario taking the reins adds to his appeal.

#11 FORTE (4-5): The champion son of Violence kicked off his campaign with a stylish victory in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and looms large for Todd Pletcher. The Kentucky-bred colt has a powerful turn of foot, and he can easily improve in his second run as a sophomore following a pair of solid morning drills as of late. Regular pilot Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in the controls.

#12 DUBYUHNELL (6-1): The Remsen S. (G2) hero didn’t fire in his seasonal bow at Tampa Bay but has trained swiftly since that event, and the talented son of Good Magic merits respect despite drawing widest of all. The Danny Gargan pupil is a winner at the distance, and he has shown early speed in the past to receive a sensible voyage in his first try on the surface. Jose Ortiz will pilot the win threat.