Florida Derby 2023 Field, Odds and Picks for Saturday 4/1/23

Kentucky Derby prep races at Gulfstream Park on April 1, 2023 / Florida Derby.
Kentucky Derby prep races at Gulfstream Park on April 1, 2023 / Florida Derby. / Alfredo Lee / Associated Press

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues with the biggest point races of the Championship Series. Saturday's big day at Gulfstream Park includes the $1 Million Florida Derby -- the major prep race at Gulfstream ahead of the Run for the Roses.

The Grade 1 race awards the top 5 finishers Kentucky Derby points (100-40-30-20-10). At the completion of all the Kentucky Derby points races, the top 20 points leaders on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard earn a spot at the starting gate for the May 6 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The winner of the 1 1/8 mile Florida Derby will earn enough points to qualify for the 1 1/4 mile Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on May 6. The runner-up will likely be in the Kentucky Derby as well if not already qualified.

The Florida Derby is worth watching, as a record 24 horses that prepped in this race have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. Six of them won both races.

Winning Kentucky Derby Prep Race Picks

Kentucky Derby prep winning picks in February and March on multiple races, including:
Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs (Litigate: 3/1)
- Withers Stakes at Aqueduct (Hit Show: 7/5)
Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita (Newgate: 6/5)
Holy Bull at Gulfstream (Rocket Can: 5/2)
Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn (Reincarnate, 3rd at 5/1)
Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream (Forte: 3/2)
- Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds (Kingsbarns: 9/2, Disarm: 8/1, 1st & 2nd)
- Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park (Two Phil's: 3/1)
- UAE Derby at Meydan in Dubai (Derma Sotogake: 10/1)

FanDuel Racing has you covered for the biggest racing days and events, and you can watch and wager on FanDuelTV. Saturday's Florida Derby is Race 14 and headlines a huge card of 10 stakes races that includes the $250,000 Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies - a prep/points race for the Kentucky Oaks.

The Florida Derby has a post time of 6:40 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 1.

Florida Derby Field and Odds

1. Jungfrau (20/1)

Jockey: Pablo Lopez - Trainer: Bill Mott

2. West Coast Cowboy (20/1)

Jockey: Sonny Leon - Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.

3. Shaq Diesel (30/1)

Jockey: Miguel Vasquez - Trainer: Renaldo Richards

4. Mage (10/1)

Jockey: Luis Saez - Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

5. Mr. Peeks (30/1)

Jockey: Edwin Gonzalez - Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.

6. Nautical Star (30/1)

Jockey: Leonel Reyes - Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.

7. II Miracolo (30/1)

Jockey: Jesus Rios - Trainer: Antonio Sano

8. Mr. Ripple (30/1)

Jockey: Edgard Zayas - Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.

9. Cyclone Mischief (8/1)

Jockey: Javier Castellano - Trainer: Dale Romans

10. Fort Bragg (5/1)

Jockey: Joel Rosario - Trainer: Tim Yakteen

11. Forte (4/5)

Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr. - Trainer: Todd Pletcher

12. Dubyuhnell (6/1)

Jockey: Jose Ortiz - Trainer: Danny Gargen

Florida Derby Pick

Forte is the prohibitive favorite in the Florida Derby and the current favorite to win the May 6 Kentucky Derby as well. Forte has won four straight races, including three Grade 1's along with the March 4 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream -- another prep race for the Florida Derby.

Forte has already secured a spot in the Kentucky Derby with 90 points on the leaderboard. The top jockey/trainer combo of Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Todd Pletcher is teaming up again in the Florida Derby, and Forte is clearly the best horse in this field but offers no value and very low payoff potential.

Cyclone Mission (15 points) and Mage (10 points) would both need at least a third-place finish for a chance to race in the Kentucky Derby. Those two are both worth including in your exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagers. Fort Bragg (5 points) and West Coast Cowboy (6 points) would need to finish second or better to get into the Derby field, and West Coast Cowboy is a top longshot if you're looking to add more runners looking for a bigger payoff.

Fort Bragg owns the top Super Screener Energy Reserve Index value with a projection to move forward, according to Horse Racing Nation. He's still growing and learning his way but is loaded with talent and should like the added distance as a son of Tapit. His fifth-place finish in the San Felipe last month produced his best speed figure in five starts. With a more moderate pace projection here, he can stalk and pounce to get into the top 2 and earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Pick: Forte (4/5) and Fort Bragg (5/1)

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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.