Anthony Fontaine’s Florida Derby 2020 Full Card Selections and Analysis

March 28, 2020

Anthony Fontaine put his self quarantine to good use and started his handicapping early. The ace handicapper provides his selections and analysis on the complete stakes filled card.

Race One Selections: 1-6-10-8 

#1 Second Coming ran well last out and relished the off going. The victory may have given this one a wake-up call and may have figured the game out.

#6 Take Charge Tina has run some good races recently and should fit well with this group at a nice number. #10 Scatnap does best late and will need a perfectly timed move as speed has been holding over this course. Should make presence felt in the lane. 

Race Two Selections: 4-11-5-10 

#4 Stealth has struggled mightily since breaking the maiden at Keeneland but may have found a group to his liking in this spot. The blinkers will sharpen the focus and rider is known to be aggressive. Surprise package.

#11 Top Seed won like a good thing first out for Shug who normally races them into shape. Has been working lights out and is bred to be any kind. Look out! #5 Blue Luminarie ran a huge number last out and is dangerous right back in this spot. 

Race Three Selections: 10-5-8-3 

#10 Plus Que Parfait gets to try the lawn again and the bloodline is there for a good performance. Almost a year to the day this won the UAE Derby. Should be tighter after first race back.

#5 Temple has been a solid performer and expecting another good effort today. This one should be fit and may have an edge on some of the other more fancied runners. #8 Unleveraged figures to take plenty of action from the Chad Brown barn although facing some solid foes. A contender however the chalky price is not appealing. 

Race Four, The Cutler Bay Selections: 8-10-6-3 

#8 Moon Over Miami tries turf as runner has been a major disappointment in the last few outings. Last two outings did not have the best of trips so Mott will rely on Velazquez to work out a good trip. Price will also be right and if this one takes to the lawn can upset the applecart.

#10 Decorated Invader returns to the races after a 4th place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Horse clearly has lots of talent and will use this spot as a launching point. Well with the uncertainty of racing dates that may have been the initial plan. #6 Vitalogy looks dangerous in this spot as runner won last out in a solid effort. Another major contender in a very competitive race. 

Race Five Selections: 5-9-11-3 

#5 Chewing Gum had a tough wide post last time and was not disgraced. Has a much better slot today and some class relief. Should be highly competitive.

#9 Intrepid Heart drops to the allowance ranks seeking a confidence boosting race. The competition is the easiest this one has seen in a long time and although coming off a long layoff should be in the mix. #11 Almashriq ran fast and impressive last out going wire to wire. Takes the next step in progression and will be even fitter that last time. Do not sell short in this spot. 

Race Six, The Hals Hope Selections: 3-6-1-8 

#3 You’re to Blame comes off a layoff returning to a surface where he has had success in the past. Works have been solid and all systems look good for this spot.

#6 American Tattoo did not care for the lawn last out and returns to the main surface today. Has worked well and appears ready for a good performance. #1 Harvey Wallbanger ran the fastest race of his career last out at a track he has shown major affinity for. Although this spot appears a bit tougher than the last race this one is to be given serious consideration right back. 

Race Seven, The Sanibel Island Selections: 3-5-7-8 

#3 Stunning Sky had a nightmarish trip last time and did not have an opportunity to show her best. With better racing luck will add major value and is a win candidate.

#5 Cheermeister is a front running sensation that has taking to this course like a duck to water. Speed has been dangerous here and this one is a must use in all multi race exotics. #7 Walk in Marrakesh closed nicely a few weeks ago at Tampa. This may be the one to hold off late in the lane. 

Race Eight, The Sir Shakelton Selections: 3-7-8-5 

#3 Last Judgment got a rapid pace to close into last out and won nicely. Figures to get a similar trip today and if good enough can make another trip to the winners’ circle.

#7 Jackson pulled off an upset last out when the heavy favorite basically eliminated himself at the start. That was still a huge effort and runner is very honest and consistent. Should be formidable in the lane once again. #5 Vekoma returns from a long layoff and lands in a salty spot. Runner may not be fully cranked for this event and although I expect a good effort a victory today is not the connections’ ultimate target. 

Race Nine,The Sand Springs Selections: 2-7-5-8 

# 2 Zofelle had some traffic trouble last out and closed belatedly for a small slice after reeling off three wins. The waters may be deeper today however with a clean trip this one can still be a major player.

#7 Getmotherarose appears to be getting good at the right time. Takes another step forward after a nice victory last out. This horse has a style of running that puts her at the mercy of pace and trip however with a clear lane can be dangerous right back. #5 Newspaperofrecord appeared to be a up and coming turf superstar as a juvenile however failed miserably to live up to that promise. Returns off a layoff and finds a spot that may not be the toughest but far from a walkover. Will watch this one with caution in this spot. 

Race Ten,The Orchid Selections: 7-6-12-5 

#7 Cap de Creus had a wide awful trip last out while finishing well back and not having a chance to rally in the lane. Major player with a better trip.

#6 Mean Mary waltzed around the course last time at a leisurely pace and had plenty in reserve late. The does not appear to be that much pace signed on today either however one would hope other riders read the form and would at least try to apply a modicum of pace pressure. #12 Elizabeth Way has won two races since crossing the pond at juicy odds. I had her last time and loved every second of her front running victory at a nice number. Can she take another step forward against this group? Absolutely. 

Race Eleven,The Gulfstream Park Oaks Selections: 9-4-5-7 

#9 Tonalist’s Shape appears to have this field at her mercy. Undefeated filly with speed should be prominent from the bell.

#4 Lake Avenue ran an abysmal race last out. Appeared to be in hand then stopped abruptly like something went amiss. The fact Mott brings her back quickly would lead me to give her the benefit of that off race. A return to her best form is required to be competitive in this spot. #5 Spice is Nice took a run at the favorite last time and fell short. Runner was making her second start and was not disgraced. With others in this spot to apply pressure throughout particularly the other Pletcher this one will want to stalk and pounce late and see if she is good enough this time. 

Race Twelve,The Pan American Selections: 9-4-1-10 

#9 Zulu Alpha has thoroughly enjoyed this winter at Gulfstream as runner goes for third graded stake victory this meet. None of the other competitors appear to be on the same level right now and only a bad trip could derail this one.

#4 Current is a wonderful flaxen mane specimen that has not lived up to the initial potential displayed. With many of the other contenders in this spot seeking to knock off the favorite this one can clunk up late for a major share with a clear path. #1 Channel Cat does his best running when able to make the pace and slow it to a crawl. If able to employ such tactics against this field may carry them further than many would anticipate. 

Race Thirteen,The Appleton Selections: 1-4-10-7 

#1 English Bee closed late last time for a slice and will need to employ similar tactics today to have a say in the outcome. The inside slot may put rider in a quandary as this one likes to run on late but has shown tactical speed in the past. A player at a good number.

#4 Ballagh Rocks has put two good races together after multiple stop and start races. Appears to be primed for another solid effort. #10 Sombeyay won nicely last out after coming close on numerous other occasions. This one is a major contender once again today and should be highly competitive. 

Race Fourteen, The Grade 1 Florida Derby Selections: 5-7-12-9 

#5 Gouveneur Morris looks to take a route like Always Dreaming to Florida Derby victory. Horse has lost one race to Maxfield who many including myself rate highly. Runner also needs points along the now extended Kentucky Derby trail and this may be the only opportunity in the immediate future to earn some major points. MAJOR PLAYER in this spot.

#7 Tiz the Law is well established as quite possibly one of the best three-year old’s in the east apart from the monsters that reside out west with the white-haired wonder. Horse has proven his mettle and my thinking concerning this race is why empty the tank or fully crank this one only to go on an extended break while the world deals with the very serious health pandemic? Horse may be good enough to beat these however I would try to beat this one today as the main objective for the connections is not months down the road. #12 Ete Indien ran from a wide post last out and decimated the field in the Fountain of Youth. Horses no not usually win from those wide slots at that distance on this track and the way this one drew off was ultra-impressive. Figures to have major pace pressure today as most of the main competitors have displayed speed in the past and will not allow this one to walk away unchallenged (well we can hope the riders read the form). All things being equal this one appears to be tough in this spot right back.

This article is a must read. 1st ballot Hall of Fame horseplayer, generous teacher and heralded writer! Thanks John.…

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