Tipsheet: 2024 Florida Derby

March 27th, 2024

A total of 11 three-year-olds will go postward at Gulfstream Park in the lucrative $1 million Florida Derby (G2) on Saturday. The top five finishers of the 1 1/8-mile dirt test will earn qualifying points on a 100-50-25-15-10 basis in the 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series event. 

Florida Derby Picks

  • #2 Hades
  • #10 Fierceness
  • #9 Conquest Warrior
  • #1 Frankie’s Empire

Florida Derby Wagers

Florida Derby Contenders

#1 FRANKIE’S EMPIRE: Classic Empire colt has shown vast improvement in his last trio of assignments and gets a fine draw on the rail for the feature. The Michael Yates trainee, who was third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) last out, has never been better and will receive a nice voyage while saving ground beneath Miguel Vasquez. 

#2 HADES: Top pick is the inside pace of the race and rates as a viable wire-to-wire winner for Joe Orseno. The Awesome Slew gelding is unbeaten from a trio of career runs to date and gave the impression that nine furlongs will be well within his scope in his Holy Bull S. (G3) tally. He has trained well in the interim and regular pilot Paco Lopez retains the ride. 

#3 BAIL US OUT: First of two from the Todd Pletcher shedrow graduated with a nice run on the All-Weather here in his second career engagement and takes a massive class hike on this occasion. The $700,000 son of Lookin at Lucky could be a nice prospect going forward and has Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons, but others seem more likely at this stage of his development. 

#4 GRAND MO THE FIRST: Tampa Bay Derby (G3) third has never finished out of the money from five lifetime tries and is an exotics contender once again. This Victor Braboza pupil is a two-time winner on the oval from three appearances, and the Uncle Mo colt could peak while making his third run of 2024, as well. Emiseal Jaramillo will be in the controls. 

#5 REAL MACHO: Fountain of Youth (G2) fourth has moved forward since having the blinkers removed two prior and rates as an exotics player in the field at a price. The Rohan Crichton trainee is bred to endure the distance and he can be dangerous on his best day. The stalker will have Javier Castellano in the stirrups. 

#6 LE DOM BRO: Mucho Macho Man colt has been first or second in all but one career outing to date, led by a runner-up showing in the Fountain of Youth in his latest endeavor. The Kentucky-bred bay, who came home second in the Swale S. two back, has the speed from the gate to force the issue from the break in this tilt. Edwin Gonzalez will be in the silks. 

#7 CATALYTIC: Catalina Cruiser colt has performed well in both lifetime sprint offerings to date and is a wildcard stretching out in distance for the initial time. This Saffie Joseph trainee has displayed a sharp turn of foot in each of his runs to date, and he intrigues in his route bow with Julien Leparoux in the irons. 

#8 SEMINOLE CHIEF: Girvin colt is 3-for-5 in his career and comes off of a solid score on the synthetic in advance of Saturday. The $80,000 gray was dusted in his lone previous graded stakes try, but he possesses early foot and figures to be in range at the top of the stretch. Joel Rosario picking up the mount is a bonus. 

#9 CONQUEST WARRIOR: Shug McGaughey charge has won two in succession on the course led by a smart allowance victory last time out. The $1 million son of City of Light possesses a lot of natural ability, and if the pace backs up in the lane, then he will benefit most of all in the cast. Jose Ortiz stays in the silks atop the stout late runner. 

#10 FIERCENESS: Champion son of City of Light burned a lot of money when third in the Holy Bull S. (G3) at 1-5 odds in his seasonal debut, but he has trained well in the interim and will move forward in his second race of 2024. this Todd Pletcher trainee can be electric on his best day, and the Repole Stable color bearer is the one to beat. John Velazquez will be in the silks once again, and he will have the colt forwardly placed from the start. 

#11 IRIS’S DREAM: Jess’s Dream gelding broke his maiden with authority while making his turf debut most recently, but this is an especially ambitious spot for the Florida-bred. The bay gets an impossible post on the move back to the main surface, and he would be a major surprise for Cheryl Winebaugh.