Eleven Rooting Interests Set For Saturday’s 19-Horse Field
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – When the horses enter the gate for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park and its satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, Palm Meadows, will be represented by 11 starters in the 19-horse field.
The Derby 11, headed by $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) winner and $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Wildcat Red, either raced and/or trained at Gulfstream or Palm Meadows during the winter months.
Gulfstream Park, which celebrated its 75th anniversary on Feb. 1, and Palm Meadows have proven to be fertile proving grounds for Triple Crown candidates over the years. Eight of the past 13 Kentucky Derby winners either raced and/or trained at Gulfstream or Palm Meadows.
Since its inaugural running of the Florida Derby in 1952, a total of 42 starters in the 1 1/8-mile prep went on to capture 57 Triple Crown events, including 22 wins in the Kentucky Derby, 19 triumphs in the Preakness and 16 successes in the Belmont. Last year, Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth winner Orb rolled to a 2 ½-length victory in the Kentucky Derby.
Constitution, who remained unbeaten in three starts with his win in the Florida Derby on March 29, is out of action, but Gulfstream’ s signature race will be well represented in the Derby field by Jose Garoffalo-trained Wildcat Red, who also captured the Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream, and Mike Maker-trained General a Rod, who captured the Gulfstream Park Derby and finished third in the Florida Derby.
In addition to Wildcat Red and General a Rod, there will be nine other horses in the Kentucky Derby field with connections to Gulfstream Park and/or Palm Meadows. Wicked Strong, Danza, Intense Holiday, Samraat, Vicar’s In Trouble, Medal Count, We Miss Artie, Harry’s Holiday and Vinceramos also raced and/or trained at Gulfstream or Palm Meadows.
Gulfstream Park will play host to Florida's biggest Kentucky Derby party Saturday with giveaways, a hat contest, drink specials, a buffet in Ten Palms, and a chance to win betting vouchers on the Kentucky Derby worth as much as $600.
Gulfstream will continue its live summer program of Thoroughbred racing while simulcasting the full card from Churchill Downs throughout its facility. The Kentucky Derby will also be simulcast on Gulfstream's three high resolution Daktronics LED boards surrounding the walking ring and fountains.
Gulfstream's 10-race program will include the $75,000 Sir Bear featuring Social Inclusion, a winner of his first two starts at Gulfstream by 17 1/2 lengths before finishing third April 5 in the Wood Memorial (G1). The colt is expected to use the Sir Bear as a prep for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (G1).
First race post time at Churchill Downs Derby Day is 10:30 a.m. Gulfstream's first race post will be 1:25 p.m. Silks will open at 9:30 a.m.