Greatest Honour, an impressive winner of the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) in his previous start, has been installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite for the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) on March 27 at Gulfstream Park. The Kentucky-bred son of Tapit has won all three of his races at the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track, and the Courtlandt Farms homebred will be aiming for the lion’s share of the Florida Derby’s 170 qualifying points for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1).
“I’m looking forward to running him,” said trainer Shug McGaughey. “He’s been a pleasure all winter. He’s never missed a beat. Things have sort of been the same. We just hope it continues.”
After breaking his maiden on Dec. 26, Greatest Honour captured the Holy Bull S. (G3) in a dominating effort on Jan. 30 and most recently won the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 27 with an eye-catching late rally to run down Drain the Clock to score by 1 ½ lengths.
“I think he was doing—three times—what he wasn’t wanting to do—going a mile and a sixteenth over a speed-favoring track—and he was able to catch up all three times against pretty good company,” said McGaughey. “So, I am looking forward to getting him stretched out where maybe in the Florida Derby he’ll be laying like he was in the Holy Bull and not as far back as he was in the Fountain of Youth.
“He’s a big, tall horse. He’s grown a little over the winter. So, that will be fun watching him develop. His pedigree says he’ll run as far as you want him to run. With his stride, I don’t think he’s a horse with a quick turn of foot, but when he gets going, he covers so much ground that he catches up in a hurry.”
Trainer Bob Baffert has sent Spielberg to Gulfstream Park for the 70th running of the Florida Derby. The Kentucky-bred son of Union Rags, listed as the 4-1 second choice on the morning-line, finished second behind 2-Year-Old Champion Essential Quality in the Feb. 27 Southwest S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park for owners SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm LLC, and Robert Masterson.
At two last year, Spielberg finished second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and third in the American Pharoah S. (G1) before breaking his maiden in his fourth start. He went on to add a victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). The $1,000,000 Keeneland September yearling was bred by G. Watts Humphrey Jr.
“He’s had a lot of races. Of all my horses, he’s had the most starts,” said Baffert. “He’s second to Concert Tour in money earned. He runs solid. He shows up. He’s doing well and I think he will like the mile and an eighth.
Three Chimneys Farm and e Five Racing’s Collaborate wired a maiden special weight field by 12 ½ lengths at Gulfstream on Feb. 27 and jumps right into stakes company for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. The Kentucky-bred is a son of Into Mischief out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Quiet American mare Quiet Temper.
“It would mean a lot to win,” said Joseph. “This horse has a lot of ability. What we’re asking him is a tall task, but it seems like he has the ability to overcome it.”
St. Elias Stable’s Kentucky-bred Known Agenda is fresh off an 11-length win at Gulfstream for trainer Todd Pletcher. Third in last year’s Remsen S. (G2) at Aqueduct and fifth in this year’s Sam F. Davis S. (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, Known Agenda, son of Curlin, defeated Greatest Honour last November in an Aqueduct maiden special weight.
“He’s won at a mile and an eighth and he was able to beat Greatest Honour when he did that,” said Pletcher. “The form from that maiden race has held up well. Overtook, who finished third that day, came back and was second in the Withers.”
Post time for the Florida Derby is 6:40 p.m. ET.