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Haskin's Derby Report: Impressive Win By Monarchos

Now, we're not one to indulge in hyperbole, but the fact is, Monarchos was a million lengths the best in Saturday's Florida Derby. OK, so we will indulge once in a while. After all the waiting, listening to nothing but faint rumblings, the smoldering volcano finally has erupted. Although metaphoric cataclysms on the Derby trail normally signify uplifting events, such as Monarchos' explosive display, that is not true when mentioning Sunday's Louisiana Derby. This was more like an earthquake that nearly swallowed up favorites Dollar Bill and Hero's Tribute.

Wide-Open Florida Derby Draws Field of 13

For a million-dollar purse, and with no clear-cut favorite, it's no surprise that 13 horses passed the entry box for Saturday's grade I Florida Derby. The likely choices will be Songandaprayer, Monarchos, and Outofthebox. The only real surprises in the field are California invader Trailthefox, last year's Arlington-Washington Futurity winner who was supposed to stay in sprint races, and the Nick Zito-trained It's So Simple, an impressive allowance winner at the meet whom Zito called "the best kept secret on the backstretch."

Florida Derby Update: Songandaprayer Works; New Jock for City Zip

Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Songandaprayer was on the track for a serious seven-furlong trial on Thursday. With jockey Edgar Prado in the saddle, Songandaprayer was clocked in 1:23 4/5 handily and is on schedule for his appearance in the $1 million Florida Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles here on March 10. Songandaprayer went in fractions of :36 1/5 for three furlongs, :47 4/5 for the half-mile, :59 4/5 for five furlongs, 1:23 4/5 for seven furlongs and galloped out a mile in 1:38 3/5.

Florida Derby Field Taking Shape; 7-8 Likely Starters

With the final major preview event in the books, the field for Gulfstream Park's $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) on March 10 is starting to take shape. The top three finishers in last week's grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes – Songandaprayer, Outofthebox and City Zip – are expected to top a field of eight or nine in the 50th anniversary running of the Florida Derby, centerpiece of the winter meeting for 3-year-olds.

Top 3-year-olds to Clash in Wide-Open Fountain of Youth

One of the most intriguing Fountain of Youth Stakes in memory is set for this Saturday, as 11 top-class horses from all over the country converge on Gulfstream Park for the first major 3-year-old prep of the season. Favoritism will be up for grabs in this competitive 1 1/16-mile event, as a case can be made for several of the participants.

Probable Field of 10 For Fountain of Youth

Traffic will increase on the road to Gulfstream Park's $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) next week as a field of 10, including some West Coast invaders, assembles for the grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile Fountain on Saturday, Feb. 17, serves as the final major prep for the 50th anniversary running of the Florida Derby and the 3-year-old classics beyond.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Expect a Big Blue Invasion

The cry of "Go, Big Blue" resounded throughout the New York area on Super Bowl Sunday. Although it was silenced following the New York Giants' defeat to the Baltimore Ravens, don't be surprised if it is resurrected by Gang Godolphin around the first Saturday in May. That's when Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum and his faithful followers will invade Churchill Downs bearing gifts and exuding confidence. Boxloads of Godolphin jackets, shirts, and caps will turn Churchill Downs into a sea of blue. Over the past two years, three members of Maktoum's Marauders made it to the starting gate on Derby Day, their coats shining like burnished copper. But there really wasn't a Derby horse beneath those glistening exteriors.

Hutcheson Draws Eleven 3-Year-Olds

A field of 11, led by City Zip and Yonaguska, has been entered for Saturday's Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. The seven-furlong, $150,000 race is the third leg in the series of races leading up to the Florida Derby. City Zip, a multiple grade II winner, is the 122-pound topweight in the Hutcheson. Yonaguska, who finished in dead heat with City Zip for first in the Hopeful Stakes, will tote 119.

City Zip, Daring Pegasus Ready for Hutcheson

City Zip, the speedy Carson City colt who vaulted to national prominence last summer by becoming the first horse in 40 years to sweep Saratoga's major 2-year-old stakes, arrived in South Florida last Sunday to prepare for Saturday's grade II Hutcheson Stakes. Meanwhile, Daring Pegasus will be seeking his second straight stakes victory when he starts in the Hutcheson, his first start outside the state of Kentucky.

Greely Horses Prepare for Breeders' Cup

As a Kentucky-born lover of Thoroughbred racing, Beau Greely counts his Kentucky Derby Day victory by Manndar in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) as one of the special moments in his young career. But that victory could drop a notch on his personal highlight reel if he has the Breeders' Cup Day he is hoping for at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

Weekend Racing Mars Win Streaks

A weekend full of top quality Breeders' Cup-prep racing left blemishes on several records. Gold Mover and Perfect Sting, both undefeated in 2000 prior to Oct. 14, each recorded a loss on the unofficial Breeders' Cup preview weekend. However, Raging Fever remained undefeated after Saturday's Frizette (gr. I) victory over Out of Sync. Raging Fever could take her five wins into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

Burning Roma Wins Futurity Via City Zip DQ

After drifting out in the stretch and bumping Burning Roma near the wire, City Zip finished the one-mile of the Futurity a nose ahead of Burning Roma but was disqualified and placed second by the stewards for causing the contact. Burning Roma was moved up to first, keeping the Anthony Dutrow trainee undefeated in three starts.

City Zip Shoots for Five Straight in Futurity

City Zip will attempt to win his fifth straight race when he faces eight rivals in Sunday's $200,000 Futurity Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The 2-year-old finished in a dead heat for first with Yonaguska in the Hopeful in his most recent start to complete a sweep of the three major juvenile stakes at Saratoga.

City Zip Heads Hopeful Field

City Zip will attempt to become the first horse since Dehere in 1993 to sweep Saratoga's juvenile stakes when he faces 11 rivals in Saturday's $200,000 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I). The Hopeful is also the first leg in a new bonus series offered by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

American Century Breezes Toward Special

Peachtree Stable's American Century breezed five furlongs for trainer Todd Pletcher Sunday morning, completing the distance in 1:02 2/5 over a muddy track at Saratoga. The 2-year-old, who won a Sartoga maiden race by 7 1/4 lengths, will run next in the $150,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II) on Wednesday at Saratoga.

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