The $1 million Florida Derby (G1) is a major prep for the Kentucky Derby, run 5 weeks before the big event. A field of 8 three-year-olds went 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream on Sunday, with Soldat sent off as the 3-2 favorite off his win in the Fountain of Youth (G2), the local prep for this event. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Dialed In, winner of the Holy Bull (G3) two starts back but second in an allowance last out, and 7-2 third choice To Honor and Serve, third in the Fountain of Youth after winning the Remsen (G2) and Nashua (G2) at Aqueduct.
Jockey Jesus Castanon sent Shackleford to the lead and he set quick fractions of 23.30, 46.35, and 1:10.63 over the fast track while being pressed by To Honor and Serve to his inside. Entering the stretch, Shackleford shook off To Honor and Serve and opened up a 2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:36.38. Dialed In, unhurried and last for 5/8 mile, came out for room and closed with a rush to pass Shakleford in the final strides by a head in a time of 1:50.07. It was a long 6 3/4 lengths back to To Honor and Serve third, while favorite Soldat was 5th.
Results Chart from Daily Racing Form
Thanks to Amber Chalfin for the photographs.