- Another weekend without baseball, basketball or hockey allows horse racing to take center stage
- Only one favorite has won the Florida Derby in the last 10 years, but the Florida Derby has produced more Kentucky Derby winners than any other prep race
- See the odds for all horses and our predictions for Saturday’s race below
Since the first running of the Florida Derby in 1952, fifteen horses have won the mile-and-an-eighth prep for the Kentucky Derby and gone on to win the Run for the Roses in Louisville. Interestingly, nine other horses who have competed in the Florida Derby also went on to win in Louisville. Last year Maximum Security won the Florida Derby and was first across the line at the Kentucky Derby but was disqualified. It is among the top Kentucky Derby prep races.
Assuming the Florida Derby goes off as planned Saturday, Tiz the Law will be a big favorite. However, at least three other horses have legitimate opportunities to win.
With the Kentucky Derby now scheduled to be run in September, this will not be these horses’ final race before the main event. Does that create some value? Could Tiz the Law hold back a pinch? Let’s look at the updated odds and handicap a bit.
2020 Florida Derby Odds
|Horse||Odds at BetOnline|
|Tiz the Law||+100|
|As Seen On TV||+2800|
Odds taken Mar. 25
Favorite: Tiz the Law
If you were going to diagram a good plan for winning the Kentucky Derby, Tiz the Law’s path is pretty ideal. Win a baby race at Saratoga, take the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park, end the year with a minor setback, a third-place finish in the Grade 2 race at Churchill Downs, and bounced back to start the new year with a strong win in a Grade 3 race at Gulfstream Park.
From Sackatoga Stable and trainer Barclay Tagg, the combination that won the 2003 Kentucky Derby with New York-bred Funny Cide, Tiz the Law is another horse from the Empire State who seems to be primed for a strong outing.
Contenders: Ete Indien & Independence Hall
After finishing second behind Tiz the Law in the Holy Bull Stakes on February 1, he bounced back to win the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on February 29.
The impressive easy victory flatters Tiz the Law too, but that doesn’t take away from a massive performance. In five starts he has three wins and should be ready for a re-match with Tiz the Law.
Independence Hall is coming off of his first loss. After a maiden win at Parx in September, he won stakes races at Aqueduct in November and January. Even in a defeat, he ran decently in last month’s Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs
The big question with Independence Hall is his level of competition. Are his results skewed because the horses he has run against aren’t that fast?
Longshot: Gouverneur Morris
If you like connections, this is the horse for you. Trainer Todd Pletcher has won the Florida Derby five times including four of the last six years. Rider John Velazquez has five wins in this race too and has been the winner in three of the last four years. Gouverneur Morris has only run against stakes company once.
While Maxfield was much better than him, and everyone else, in October, it is possible that unbeaten colt is special, and Gouverneur Morris looked good in his 2020 debut winning an Allowance Optional Claiming event at Tampa Bay Downs easily. The price is right at 8/1, but he is going to need to run faster than he ever has before to beat this field.
The Bet: Tiz the Law
He is the class of this group and arguably beat the second-best option, Ete Indien, easily when they raced against each other. He should win this race more than 50% of the time, and therefore even money means the value is on the favorite.
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