There should be some good racing from the east to the west coast on Saturday. The $750,000 Florida Derby (Gr. 1) is finally here, as one of the most anticipated prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby is set for Gulfstream Park on Saturday afternoon. A total of 170 points will be awarded to go along with the $750,000 purse. This is the second straight year that the Florida Derby will go off for $750,000 and not a million.
Need I explain why the purse money isn’t as big? Gulfstream Park isn’t the only big track that has important implications in the mix on Saturday. There are two other 170-point prep races today, including overseas in Dubai at Meydan Racecourse. Both 170-point prep races in the US are in Florida, with the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Gr. 3) the other race to watch if you’re interested in the Kentucky Derby.
We’re going to head back to Santa Anita Park on Saturday after a winning day yesterday. Bezos was the big winner for us, as he was in great form for Bob Baffert’s barn in Arcadia. He’s a longshot to win the Kentucky Derby, but sure looked special on Friday. Jump over to our Gulfstream Park page if you want to see our Florida Derby prediction. At Santa Anita Park there is $487,000 in prize money up for grabs on Saturday. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park picks for March 27, 2021
Post Time: 2:45 p.m. PST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
A 5 ½ furlong race for a $42,000 purse on the main track will get us started on Friday afternoon. Herd Immunity and Diva’s Finale could duel in the stretch in this one. Herd Immunity is 2 for 5 in his career, with a win in his debut on June 6 and most recently on February 15. He went winless between those three races, going 3rd, 6th, 9th in three straight performances.
After finishing 9th on September 7 in the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile, Herd Immunity moved down to a $39,000 assignment and found a rhythm on February 15. Herd Immunity beat Wedding Groom by 4 ½ lengths in that performance. He was clear in the stretch with nice kick.
He’s been looking great in workouts in March, at least at 4 furlongs where he was timed at 47.80 seconds twice. The increased distance didn’t help, with Herd Immunity completing 5 furlongs at 1:01.40, which could be better. In any case, Herd Immunity deserves some attention in this race.
$100,000 Diva’s Finale is coming off an impressive debut on February 27 in a $25,000 event. He was clear by 2 ¾ lengths at the wire in a rather simple assignment. Diva’s Finale has been hot in workouts as well, with times of 48.80 and 47.40 seconds at 4 furlongs. He is open to improvement ,and should continue to run well despite the class jump. In a mini upset, look for Diva’s Finale to best Herd Immunity in the stretch.
Post Time: 4:25 p.m. PST
Distance:1 ¼ Miles
Race 7 is a unique race on the downhill turf for a $65,000 purse. Six runners are signed up to participate in this event. Salvator Mundi and Gregdar should be good for a strong run in the stretch. Salvator Mundi is 3 for 17 in his career and has some stakes experience.
He just hasn’t won any of them yet, though. In his most recent appearance, Salvator Mundi finished 4th in the San Marcos Stakes (Gr. 2) on February 6. It was a nice attempt from Salvator Mundi, but was edged out by a half length for 3rd.
Salvator Mundi won five races ago, which came at Del Mar in a $57,000 event. Since then, Salvator Mundi has gone winless in four in a row, 6th and 4th in two stakes races, and 3rd in two allowance optional claiming events. The presence of Gregdar should be felt by all in this event.
Gregdar is 3 for 6 in his career, with wins in two of his previous three outings. He was a winner on November 26 over Bench Judge by 2 lengths in a $35,000 assignment, and then most recently a 1 length winner for a $63,000 purse.
He was ignored by the public in that race, and won as a mid-tier underdog. Whisper Not had a lead in the stretch and was caught late. His form has been holding as well, with Gregdar coming off an impressive 1:00.00 workout at 5 furlongs on March 21. Gregadar is the play in Race 7.
Race 9 – Santa Ana Stakes
Post Time: 5:25 p.m. PST
Distance:1 ¼ Miles
Race 9 is another downhill race at Santa Anita, this covering 1 ¼ miles for a $100,000 purse on the turf. The Santa Ana Stakes is the feature race of the day in Arcadia. Going to Vegas and Mucho Unusual should be the horses to watch in Race 9. Going to Vegas is 3 for 17 in her career, appearing in four straight graded events since October 17.
No wins during that stretch, though, with Going to Vegas finishing 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 4th in those races. Placing 2nd in the $300,000 American Oaks (Gr. 1) was impressive on December 26. He missed out by 2 lengths in that race as a sizable longshot to win. In her next and most recent outing, Going to Vegas finished 4th in the $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (Gr. 2) on February 20.
Mucho Unusual has participated in 13 stakes races in her last 14 entries.
During that stretch, Mucho Unusual has three wins, most recently in the $100,000 Megahertz Stakes (Gr. 3) on January 18. That was a ¾ win as the favorite. In her next outing, Mucho Unusual placed 2nd behind Charmaine’s Mia by 1 length in the $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (Gr. 2) on February 20. It was a nice attempt at a $200,000 prize. She is down in class today and should do a spot better in a $100,000 event. Note that Mucho Unusual has won or placed 2nd in four of her previous five races in all graded events.