by Jeremy Plonk
March 24, 2021
Greatest Honour will start his bid for a historic sophomore sweep at Gulfstream Park from post 7 of 11, as post positions were drawn today for Saturday’s Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby, presented by Hill ‘n Dale Farm at Xalapa. The Shug McGaughey trainee will try to become the first horse to win the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, a series that has been contested since 1990.
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The last horse to win the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby was Greatest Honour’s stable predecessor Orb in 2013, who would go on to win that year’s Kentucky Derby for McGaughey. Greatest Honour has been established as the 6-5 morning line favorite for the Florida Derby, a race that has produced 24 Kentucky Derby winners all-time, most of any national prep.
Florida Derby challengers include California invader Spielberg as trainer Bob Baffert looks for his sixth Triple Crown trail prep victory of 2021 and his first-ever Florida Derby trophy. Spielberg starts from a difficult post 10 under Javier Castellano. Known Agenda, a powerful allowance winner at the Championship Meet, begins from post 5 under leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. He’ll try to give trainer Todd Pletcher a record-padding sixth Florida Derby trophy.
The wildcards figure to be smashing maiden winner Collaborate (post 9) and unbeaten Soup and Sandwich (Mark Casse), both making stakes debuts in the third career starts for both. That duo figures to be part of the early pace scenario so important to the late-running Greatest Honour’s late kick. Rail-drawn Nova Rags isn’t a committed front-runner, but has natural speed and should be near the pace. With the absence of Fountain of Youth pacemaker Drain the Clock, the Florida Derby shapes up with less certainly in terms of race shape.
2021 Curlin Florida Derby Field
1. Nova Rags (Junior Alvarado) 12-1
2. Quantum Leap (Miguel Vasquez) 20-1
3. Jirafales (Edgard Zayas) 30-1
4. Southern Passage (Corey Lanerie) 30-1
5. Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr.) 5-1
6. Sigiloso (Leonel Reyes) 30-1
7. Greatest Honour (Jose Ortiz) 6-5
8. Soup and Sandwich (John Velazquez) 20-1
9. Collaborate (Tyler Gaffalione) 6-1
10. Spielberg (Javier Castellano) 4-1
11. Papetu (Emisael Jaramillo) 15-1