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The Florida Derby Card

There will be a lot of eyes on The Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on Saturday where Forte will try and keep his position as the early Kentucky Derby favorite. The undercard is filled with stakes and the better wagering opportunities will likely be in those races and Forte appears to stand tall above the filed he will face on Saturday.

Two things I would look for watching the Forte race on Saturday would be this:

An easy win to assure him a short-priced favorite to possibly bet against next out or:

A knock of some kind that signals a vulnerability.

Of course, the possibility exists for some they like him more than ever after his race on Saturday.

In the 5th race, The Pan American at a mile and a half on the grass #1 Wicked Fast has that look of a Mike Maker horse that just jumps up and wins a stake after being claimed a few starts back. He has been doing this for years, and Wicked Fast should get a ground saving trip and I have seen Maker do this many times. Yes, he has two others in here and maybe I am on the wrong one but you have to call it like you see it and not out think yourself.

The 10th race on the card is The Sand Springs at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass. Café Society looks interesting to me in this spot at 12-1 on the morning line. She has always shown flashes of talent in my opinion without ever getting over that wall. After a lay-off she has run two races, a decent second over the quirky Tampa Bay dirt and another troubled trip third over the Tapeta at Gulfstream. Shug moves her up

into a stake and puts her on the grass for the first time. I think she should handle the switch to turf and if it moves her up at all, and I suspect it may, she may have found her home. There is no question she will have to improve but with the change in surface off the troubled trip it is certainly possible.

In the Sanibel Island, race 11 on the card there are plenty of ways to go. I find it interesting Pletcher decides to put new to his barn Aunt Shirley on the grass. This filly is off the bench and first time as a three-year-old. The Frankel on the bottom side of the pedigree jumps out at me and I trust Todd pacing his horses correctly. I think this race came up tricky and tough, but Irad takes the call and I like the work pattern on this returnee.

In the Appleton, race 13, Churchtown gets back on the grass and projects to get a nice trip. I’ll land here in another tough race.

Enjoy the races and let’s watch Forte and see if he is all that and more.

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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