A field of 11 three-year-olds went to post on Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park for the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1), a major prep for the Kentucky Derby with recent winners such as Barbaro and Big Brown. Rule was sent off as the 9-5 favorite off wins in the Jean Laffitte and Delta Jackpot in Louisiana, and then the Sam F. Davis at Gulfstream, the major local prep for this race. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Radiohead, an allowance winner last out but winless in stakes company since last June, and 6-1 third choice Miner's Reserve, a maiden winner last out and making his stakes debut in his third lifetime start.
Pulsion and Rule battled on the pace for the first 7 furlongs through fractions of 23.21, 46.46, and 1:10.76, with Radiohead stalking them another 1 1/2 lengths back in third. In mid-stretch, Pulsion tired badly allowing Rule to open a 2 length advantage at the 1/8 pole through 1 mile in 1:36.09. Late-running Pleasant Prince passed the favorite on the outside to get a short lead at the 1/16 pole, but Ice Box closed with a rush down the center of the course to nail Pleasant Prince by a nose in 1:49.19 over the fast surface. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to favorite Rule third, and a long 4 1/2 lengths back to Lentenor fourth.
Results Chart from Daily Racing Form