Bowman's Causeway Set For Florida Derby Start
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Patrick Biancone confirmed Friday that Bowman’s Causeway will run in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on April 3.
The French-born trainer said his 3-year-old colt’s third-place finish in a mile allowance race on March 19 will set him up for a strong run in Gulfstream Park’s signature stakes, a major prep for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7.
Biancone had stated before the allowance race that his colt needed the afternoon activity to make-up for his “lazy” behavior while training in the morning. Bowman’s Causeway ran evenly in his third-place finish behind the Todd Pletcher-trained duo of victorious Dance City and Cal Nation, checking in 1-3/4 lengths further back and nearly nine lengths clear of the fourth horse.
“It was exactly what we wanted. It was a good workout for him,” Biancone said. “He ran very good and now we just need to go up (in class).”
Bowman’s Causeway, who is owned by Martin S. Schwartz, broke his maiden at the Florida Derby distance of 1-1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park in his third lifetime start on Feb. 11. The son of Giant’s Causeway turned in a respectable fourth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream on Feb. 26 after bumping at the start and being steadied on the far turn.
The long-striding colt will be joining some heady competition in the 60th Florida Derby, including Fountain of Youth winner Soldat, Holy Bull (G3) victor Dialed In, Gotham winner Stay Thirsty and Remsen Stakes victor To Honor and Serve.
“There is no easy competition when you run in a Grade 1,” Biancone said. “We’ll take a shot.”
Prior to his allowance tune-up, Biancone had said that the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct on April 9 would also be considered as his colt’s next start.
“We’ll stay home. We are based in Florida and Gulfstream has been very good to us,” Biancone said. “The owner lives in Florida, so we prefer to stay here.”
There was never any doubt that Flashpoint would race next at Gulfstream Park, but there was some question whether the highly promising colt would run in the Florida Derby or the seven-furlong Swale (G2) on April 3. Trainer Richard Dutrow said Friday the Swale remains the first choice for Flashpoint’s next start.
“He’s suited better to the seven-eighths. It seems like that race is coming up lighter than the Florida Derby,” said Dutrow, who reported that Flashpoint exitedThursday’s six-furlong workout in 1:13.75 in good order.
The Peachtree Stable’s talented colt has run only twice, both times in spectacular fashion. After capturing his debut at Aqueduct on Jan. 11 by nearly seven lengths, the son of Pomeroy captured the seven-furlong Hutcheson (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 11.
Dutrow didn’t completely rule out the possibility of Flashpoint running in the Florida Derby instead of the Swale.
“The deciding factor is the owner’s decision,” Dutrow said.