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2022 Florida Derby: Meet the Contenders

by Xpressbet

March 29, 2022

We introduce you to the potential field for Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. The official entry and draw will take place on Wednesday, so check back for our Florida Derby Post Draw Rapid Reaction then.

Dancing all 4 dances in the Florida Derby series, the Mucho Macho Man and Fountain of Youth winner gets his re-match with Holy Bull conqueror White Abarrio. He's shown the ability to race on and off the pace.

White Abarrio
Winner of the Holy Bull Stakes in his only start of 2022, he's a perfect 3-for-3 lifetime at Gulfstream Park. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has been the local circuit's top trainer in recent years and seeks his first Florida Derby score.

Last year's Best Pal winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up at Del Mar bids to snap a 5-race losing streak. His Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse looks to add his first Florida Derby trophy to his collection.

Charge It {pictured}
Six-time Florida Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher can pad his record win total in this race if class riser Charge It can build off his impressive February 12 maiden breaker in his second start. Expect this one to be an early pace force.

Classic Causeway
Front-running winner of the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby on the Gulf Coast, this speedster has been one of the winter's most impressive sophomores. He competes Saturday on a rather quick, 3-week turnaround by today's standards.

O Captain
87-1 third-place finisher behind Simplification in the Fountain of Youth, he won't sneak up on anyone this time. Trainer Gustavo Delgado has orchestrated 21-1 (Majesto) and 71-1 (Bodexpress) runner-up finishes in the Florida Derby past.

Second and third behind Florida Derby foe Classic Causeway in the Tampa Bay Derby and Sam F. Davis, this New York-bred will need to make up about 2-4 lengths on his rival to turn the tables. He's maternal grandson of 1995 Florida Derby winner Thunder Gulch.

Cajun's Magic
The veteran of last year's Florida Sires Stakes series mustered a fifth-place effort in the Holy Bull Stakes in his lone start this season. That marked the first time in his 6 lifetime races, all at Gulfstream Park, that he missed the exacta.

Strike Hard
Second as the 4-5 favorite in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes to Simplification and fourth in the Sam F. Davis to Classic Causeway, his connections come into the Florida Derby seeking redemption. He could give Matthew Williams his first graded stakes winner in his fourth full year of training.

Steal Sunshine
Longshot son of 2014 Florida Derby winner Constitution has yet to attempt a stakes race. His lone victory in 4 starts came in maiden optional claiming company in December.