A New Leader Emerges - Florida Derby Recap! - Super Screener
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A New Leader Emerges – Florida Derby Recap!

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Florida Derby (G1)

Well, Todd Pletcher is back with the resurgent Known Agenda (only horse to have defeated Greatest Honour prior to this race) who stamped a one-way ticket to Louisville taking his spot in the Kentucky Derby gate via that very impressive victory in this year’s edition of the G1 Florida Derby.

As the Super Screener foretold, the pace came up super soft with moderate pressure. Nova Rags set the pace but Soup And Sandwich soon took over. This race became essentially a 2-furlong sprint from mid-turn to the wire. That’s what made Known Agenda’s victory all that more impressive as he was mid-pack sitting 5 lengths off the sluggish pace but really exploded down the lane.

Greatest Honour was just way too far back sitting at least 8 lengths back in the early going and had too much work to do when the top finishers were still loaded with plenty of reserve energy for the stretch drive. However, we can say with confidence that he ran the second best race here. If you stick with this horse for the Kentucky Derby, you’ll at least get more value on him come the first Saturday in May as a result of his 3rd place finish.

Let’s take a closer look at Known Agenda’s running line coming out of the Florida Derby.  The Super Screener projected a 5-point move forward coming into this race but he actually advanced in his form cycle by 7 points, establishing a new lifetime top. He repeated the form cycle ascent pattern of his three progressively better 2020 starts. Now, with 5 weeks until the first Saturday in May, this horse will get plenty of time to rest up, avoid a bounce and even more forward off this effort.

Can’t emphasize enough how big that BRIS Late Pace figure of 112 is. That’s a major league figure and it fits the profile of other Derby winners such as Street Sense and Maximum Security who ran similar “very slow early, very fast late” running lines in their final prep while submitting 110+ BRIS Late Pace figures. 

Another factor working in his favor is that he has two 9-furlong races under his belt which will serve him well as he stretches out to 10 furlongs. If he can sit just a couple of lengths off the Kentucky Derby pace, that will put him in the “win zone” for this race which has become very favorable over these past several years to horses that are forwardly placed.   

Here’s what the Super Screener said about this colt prior to the race:

Bob Baffert’s Spielberg was a no show here despite being pace advantaged. He sent this horse to the Florida Derby to get a sense of how good Greatest Honour and Known Agenda are… and he got his answer. 

Considering it was just his 3rd career start, Soup And Sandwich ran a very credible race here despite the fact that he enjoyed an absolutely perfect trip. Hard to project a big move off that effort but he probably earned himself a trip to Louisville.

Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3)

Can’t recall the last time (if ever) Wesley Ward had a Kentucky Derby starter but, if he chooses to go, Like The King earned his way in by winning the point-boosted Jeff Ruby Steaks in good order on the Tapeta surface. As the Super Screener projected, the pace was going to be faster than par and that’s exactly what happened, which really worked to Like The King’s favor. He sat well off the swift and pressured early pace and closed well for the win – which included a BRIS 2nd call figure of 90 coupled with a BRIS Late Pace number of 95. That won’t win the Kentucky Derby but, as we indicate below, he improved off his last start while going longer and facing tougher. More improvement can be reasonably projected in his next start.

Would much rather see this one stay on turf or synthetics but can’t blame connections for taking a shot if they opt to turn those 100 Derby points into a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate. 

Can you believe we are down to just 2 more Saturdays of Kentucky Derby preps?  This weekend we’ll be treated to Super Prep Saturday with three major preps on the line including the G1 Santa Anita Derby, the G2 Wood Memorial and the G2 Blue Grass. Each of those races will be supported by a host of graded stakes action so what a weekend to be a horse player and we’ll have it all covered for you.

Until this coming weekend…Go Fast and Win! 

Mike