From Gulfstream Park
Monarchos Has Final Tuneup for Florida Derby
Monarchos, one of the favorites for Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby, was on the track at Gulfstream on Sunday for his final tuneup for the 1 1/8 miles 3-year-old showcase event. With jockey Jorge Chavez aboard, Monarchos worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 and seven furlongs in 1:27.
"I was very satisfied with the workout," trainer John Ward said. "It was what I wanted and he's on schedule for Saturday's race."
A $170,000 purchase at the Fasig Tipton February sales at Calder last year, Monarchos has won both his starts in impressive fashion at Gulfstream as a 3-year-old. He won his maiden victory by six lengths in a seven furlong race clocked in 1:22 1/5 (second fastest of the meeting) back on Jan. 13. He then came back to be a 4 ¾-length winner of an allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 3.
Ward also worked another of his nice 3-year-olds on Sunday, Hero's Tribute who is slated to run in the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Hero's Tribute, with Chavez in the saddle, went in 1:04 1/5 breezing.
"It was a little slower than I wanted him to go," Ward said. "But my plans for him are the same and that's to run him next in the Louisiana Derby."
Cee Dee Works Fast for Florida Derby
Trainer Tim Hamm had his stakes-winning colt Cee Dee on the track here on Sunday for his final major workout before his appearance in the Florida Derby. With Richard Migliore in the saddle, Cee Dee was clocked in :59 3/5 handily for five furlongs (it was the best of 25 horses working that distance). He went three furlongs in :36 2/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 and seven furlongs in 1:26 2/5.
"It was an excellent work," Hamm said. "Rich (Migliore) rode him in the workout and will ride him again in the Florida Derby. That was his last serious work before the race."
The winner of the Ohio Juvenile at Thistledown last year, Cee Dee is trying to rebound from a disappointing seventh place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1) here on Feb. 17. Prior to that 1 1/16 miles test, Cee Dee was third in the 1 1/8 miles Tropical Park Derby (G3) on the turf at Calder on Jan. 1 and a close-up third, beaten a length, in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream on Jan. 20.
"After the Fountain of Youth, we analyzed the race," Hamm said, "and determined that Cee Dee ran the third fastest last sixteenth. He should like the added distance of the Florida Derby and that's why we're running him."
Dream Run Works for Florida Derby
Trainer Paul McGee had Dream Run out for his last major trial before he runs in Saturday's Florida Derby. Dream Run had an exercise boy in the saddle and was clocked in 1:01 2/5 breezing for five furlongs over the local track.
"It was a real good work and we were very happy with it," said Eddie Mathis, assistant trainer to McGee who is in Kentucky. "That was his last hard work and he'll train regularly until the race."
McGee had been undecided whether to run Dream Run in the Florida Derby or the seven furlong Swale Stakes (G3) on March 10 and elected several days ago to shoot for the "Run for the Orchids" and its $1 million pot.
The bay colt has run four times, winning two races and being second twice. After being the runner-up in his maiden try at Churchill Downs last summer, he broke his maiden at that track in November then won his seasonal debut here at Gulfstream on Jan. 6. He was second behind Hero's Tribute and ahead of Grade 1 winner A P Valentine in an allowance race here in his last start on Feb. 17. All of those races were in sprints.
City Zip Works at Hialeah for Florida Derby
City Zip, third in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, was on the track at Hialeah for a workout on Sunday. The four time stakes winner worked five furlongs in 1:00 breezing and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 in his final prep for the Florida Derby.
"He had a good work at Hialeah," trainer Linda Rice said from her New York headquarters. "It'll just be maintenance work from now until the race. His foot is fine and he's in good shape. Corey Nakatani is coming in from California to ride him in the race on Saturday."
City Zip won the Hopeful Stakes (G1), the Sanford Stakes (G2), the Saratoga Special (G2), and the Tremont Stakes (G3) last year. He also was first in the Futurity (G1) at Belmont Park but subsequently was disqualified from first and placed second in that race.
City Zip has run twice at Gulfstream this year. He was a fast closing second in the seven furlong Hutcheson Stakes (G2) on Jan. 27 and third in the Fountain of Youth Stakes in his last start.
Talk Is Money Also Preps at Hialeah
Another Florida Derby starter, the stakes-winning Talk Is Money, was also on the track at Hialeah for a workout on Sunday. Trainer John Scanlan had the $1.8 million yearling purchase work six furlongs with Mike McCarthy in the irons. Talk Is Money was timed in 1:12 3/5 handily and went in :49 2/5 for a half mile, 1:01 2/5 for five furlongs and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26 2/5.
"I had him break from the gate on Thursday and he broke okay," Scanlan said. "I worked him this morning and was very satisfied with his work. This will be the first time that McCarthy rides him in a race but the two seem to get along fine in the morning. All I want in the Florida Derby is for this horse to get a clean break."
Talk Is Money broke his maiden by 9 ¾-lengths in his debut at Laurel in Maryland on Dec.16 then was a ¾-length winner of the Miracle Wood Stakes there on Jan. 27. Scanlan shipped him south to run in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Talk Is Money lost all chance at the start when he dwelt. He finished 10th in the 11 horse field.
"I broke him out of the gate at Hialeah on Thursday," McCarthy said. "He broke cleanly and had no problems at all. I thought he worked well this morning and I'm very happy John (Scanlan) is giving me a chance to ride him in the Florida Derby."