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Jeff Siegel's 2021 Florida Derby Workout Analysis

by Jeff Siegel

March 24, 2021

Listed below are links and commentary/analysis of critical workouts for the leading contenders of the 2021 Florida Derby-G1from 1/ST Bet analyst/handicapper Jeff Siegel.

(runners listed according to post position)

1 – Nova Rags (12-1)

March 21, 2021, Payson Park, 3f, :38.3b Grade: B+ | Workout Video

Commentary: In company outside Hachure (same time) for W. Mott and was hard held and sharp as the proverbial tack, breaking off a length behind and then finishing about a half-length in front at the wire before galloping out eagerly around the clubhouse turn, splits of :12.3 and :38.3 before coasting out a half in :52.3 while remaining under a tight hold while drawing clear from his workmate. Form suggests he’ll need considerable improvement to be a major factor in the Florida Derby-G1; certainly is headed in the right direction. 

5 – Known Agenda (5-1)

March 13, 2021, Palm Beach Downs, 4f, :49.4b Grade: B | Workout Video

Commentary: Breezed from the three furlong pole all the way around to the six furlong pole In company outside Tallis (same time) for T. Pletcher, splits on our watches in :12.3, :36.2 (to the wire) and 1:01.3 for a full five furlongs before coasting out to the 5/8ths pole in 1:15.2, basically stride-for-stride throughout. Was under very mild hand coaxing while appearing plenty fit; certainly not a speed type but rather a one-pace grinder and probably needs every bit of nine furlongs (or more) to act with best in his division. 

7 – Greatest Honour (6/5)

March 21, 2021, Payson Park, 4f, :50.2b Grade: B+ | Workout Video

Commentary: This time breezed outside usual workmate Or’effice (4f, :50.3b) and was keener today than last time while proving clearly best under wraps, splits of :12.2, :38 flat and :50.3 from the 3/8ths pole to the 7/8 pole, moving fluidly and effortlessly throughout. Spot on for the Florida Derby-G1, suspect he’ll run at least as good as his previous two winning outings. 

March 13, 2021, Payson Park, 4f, :50 1b Grade: B- | Workout Video

Commentary: Breezed inside Or’effice (same time) for C. McGaughey III and was slightly second best at the wire though never asked and merely galloping late (workmate hard held and clearly more eager), splits of :12 flat, :24.1 and :50.2 on our watches before galloping out with plenty left while ticking over for the Florida Derby two weeks hence. Usually a lazy sort in the a.m., probably will get a more serious sharpener next time. 

9 – Collaborate (6-1)

March 14, 2021, Gulfstream Park, 4f, :47b Grade: B+ | Workout Video

Commentary: In company inside Sound Machine (same time) for S. Joseph, Jr., breaking off with workmate while hard held and dropping back after the opening quarter mile to be a length behind at the top, then responded to very light coaxing (workmate breezing) to finish stride-for-stride at the wire, splits of :12.2, :23.4 and :46.4 on our watches, sharp through the lane before galloping out in good style. Won his maiden on the lead but doesn’t necessarily strike us as a need-the-lead type and may settle into a stalker’s role depending upon how much pressure materializes inside him in the Florida Derby-G1.

10 – Spielberg (4-1)

March 21, 2021, Santa Anita, 4f, :59.2h Grade: B | Workout Video 

Commentary: In blinkers, broke off outside Laurel River (same time) at the five furlong pole and prompted workmate to the head of the lane, then was allowed to kick on through the stretch and responded in decent style while showing again ta endency to lean in, splits of :12.1, :23.3, :35.1 and :59.2 to the wire (a neck in front of breezing ‘River) before continuing out under mild coaxing in 1:12.3 to the 7/8 for a full six furlongs on our watches. Plenty fit, always been a cut below the good ones but should run his race in the Florida Derby-G1. 

March 13, 2021, Santa Anita, 4f, :48.1h Grade: B | Workout Video

Commentary: In blinkers, in company outside Ginja (same time) for B. Baffert and did well enough under some late coaxing and leaning in a tad in the upper stretch, splits of :12.1 :24.1 and :48.1 (slightly best), then was allowed to continue out to 7/8 pole in 1:01 flat for a full five furlongs. Never has been all the impressive in the morning but he appears to be holding his form and showed some spark when a willing (though distant) runner-up to Essential Quality in the Southwest S.-G3 at Oaklawn Park in late February. May be most effective when held up early and allowed to run late.