Florida Derby winner on road to Kentucky

Quality Road, ridden by John Velazquez, won the Florida Derby in stakes record time today, setting himself up as one of the betting favorites in this year’s Kentucky Derby on May 2.
Sitting second right behind the pacesetter much of the way in the seven-horse field, Quality Road took the lead around the turn for home and then held off a late charge from even-money favorite Dunkirk to win by 1 3/4 lengths, running the 1 1/8 miles on dirt in 1:47.72. Dunkirk, ridden by Garrett Gomez, was two lengths clear of third-place finisher Theregoesjojo.
It was the second consecutive stakes victory for Quality Road but only his fourth lifetime start. For Dunkirk, it was his stakes debut after the $3.7 million yearling purchase won his first two career starts by a combined 10 1/2 lengths. Dunkirk earned $150,000 for his second-place effort, putting him squarely on the bubble in terms of cracking the Derby field should it draw more than 20 horses.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who’s never won the Derby with 19 starters, said this week that this would probably be the final Derby tuneup for Dunkirk. He ran big despite his inexperience and I think he’ll be a serious player if he cracks the Derby lineup.

6 thoughts on “Florida Derby winner on road to Kentucky

  1. Just wish we could get El Gato Malo there to run the Kentucky Derby. An exciting horse with dashing speed. All he needs is a bit of luck and Patrick Valenzuela to pull it off.

  2. Tom,
    El Gato Malo is a 4-year-old. The Kentucky Derby is restricted to 3-year-olds. Plus, he didn’t possess blazing speed. He laid back and made one big run.

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