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Florida Derby preview

The Kentucky Derby is just over a month away so it's warming up quickly for America's biggest race. One of the key lead-up races is the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, and taking on the preview is regular contributor and US racing aficionado, Jon da Silva, @creamontop.

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Florida Derby
Grade 1, 1m 1/16 (~1700m)
US$1,000,000
1848 local 2348 BST


Free Brisnet form sheet

This race is set up like two champions v eight of what Mike Tyson would call Tomato [Tom-may-toe] Cans - the eight to be called "The Cans" henceforth. This is D-Day for Mohayman facing an opponent who will likely stand up to him in 'Drug' O'Neil's Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Nyquist. Tyson of course folded the first time someone threw back and gave up and bit ears when faced by superior talent. Will Mohayman spit the bit? Mohayman will likely go very short for the Kentucky Derby if he wins.

Don't think this is a two horse race? Well here are Friday's UK prices and remember these are with EW 1,2,3 curtailing the odds of The Cans.

Mohaymen (8/11), Nyquist (13/8), Fellowship (16), Takeittotheedge (20), Majesto (33), Sawyers Mickey (66), Chovanes (100), Fashionable Freddy (100), Isofass (100), Copingaway (200)

Kentucky Derby odds show how big this Grade 1 trial is Mohaymen (5), Nyquist (12), Danzing Candy (16), Mor Spirit (16), Cupid (25), Destin (25), Gun Runner (25), Zulu (28), Exaggerator (33), Lani (33), Mo Tom (33), Shagaf (33),

Brisnet and Timeform differ on pace. I had expected something like Brisnet Nyquist E/P8 Mohayman E/P4 i.e. Nyquist is early speed and faster than Mohayman. The three Cans drawn inside have no speed/toe. Nyquist is in 4 and according to Timeform will have the lead with a Can on his outside and Mohayman rating in third. The four Cans outside Nyquist all show as E5 or E6 Brisnet and Mohayman is an E/P7 (can lead or press) drawn 9. So could be some traffic for Mohayman. Even with Brisnet it's easy to see Nyquist grab rail and the best trip. This can also seem an advantage at Gulfstream - I am agnostic on Golden Highways myself i.e. tracks set up so whoever leads almost always wins.

Nyquist also has the most solid form coming in as one would I guess expect from the top 2 year old. The rub is it's at a mile and 1/16 not a mile and an 1/8. Not sure a Euro punter would care that much but the Septics do. Nyquist does not have to lead and was eighth at the first call in Breeders Cup Juvenile and sixth at the second call.

The most interesting Can and one Timeform US have running second in the pacemap is the once raced Takeittotheedge trained by Dale Romans whose epic, and now denied, rant on US racing and begging Hong Kong for a job last week is worth looking up.

Should A Can open a can of worms and win expect mayhem in the Kentucky Derby betting markets.

Conclusion

I've been less impressed by Mohayman than most *** VI Alert ***. His Beyer/Timeform US numbers are the same/similar to Nyquist. Nyquist also ships from the other coast. Nonetheless Nyquist has shipped and won before and is the more proven and chance he gets the run of the race and is more than 11/8 puts me in his camp.

1st Nyquist
2nd Mohayman
3rd Takeittotheedge
4th A Can

Bet - Nyquist at 11/8 or more

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The Lexus Melbourne Cup
Group 1, Handicap, 3200m
AUD 7,750,000
Flemington 1500 local, 0400 GMT
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