2017 Florida Derby – Post Race

Surface playing very fast

Always Dreaming stepped up in a big way in this race as he turned in a very good effort stretching out to 1 1/8th miles. He was able sit just off an early solid pace and when called upon on the final turn pulled alongside the early leader and moved past him just prior to the 1/8th pole. Pulled away and won pretty easily looking like he could have went further. This effort certainly makes a huge statement for Always Dreaming being one of the top contenders heading into Kentucky. He is well bred for a distance and also finished very well in this race. When he moved to contest the lead the interior fractions stayed strong throughout to the finish which is a very good indication about a horses ability to get a longer distance. It’s also reassuring that Dreaming has early speed but doesn’t need the early lead to be effective and run his best race. ┬áSurely a top contender for the roses!

State of Honor ran a very good race today as he was well within range early, found himself trapped on the rail turning for home and when a hole opened up inside around the turn he shot the gap and got through along the rail eventually finishing 2nd. Does State get better off this race – hard to answer that clearly because he has had 9 races coming into today and on several different surfaces so perhaps with the blinker addition 2 races back along with keeping State on a dirt surface we will see more improvement going forward. Right now we can’t toss him out.

Gunnevera was the heavy favorite and with the distance getting longer it figured to aid Gunn’s late running style. He was biding his time in the early going, loping along at the back of the pack, was asked for run after 3/4′s had passed and slowly made up ground and kept getting closer entering the stretch at about 6-wide. Once he got past the 1/8th pole we knew his race was over as he did not fire as he had done in his two prior preps. He managed to get 3rd money but he lacked the spark. Does he move forward after this race headed into Kentucky is a hard question to answer because I am not sure he will have enough time to recover from these past three efforts and also move forward facing better and at a longer distance in the Derby. One of the clues that will help us decide if Gunnevera will be a top contender in Kentucky will be to see how he trains the week prior to the race.

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