Two undefeated horses with a real shot at winning the Kentucky Derby in May highlight Florida Derby Day, a series of 14 races Saturday, April 2, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. The first race starts at Noon.
This is the 65th Florida Derby, and not many have had two clear-cut favorites as this one. Mohaymen is listed at even money and Nyquist at 6-5. Nyquist drew No. 4, while Mohaymen the No. 9 at Wednesday’s post position draw. No other horse after that in the field of 10 is lower than 15-1. The Florida Derby is the last of 14 races on the card Saturday.
It’s East vs.West
Mohaymen is stabled at Gulfstream’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County. Nyquist trains at Santa Anita, Calif.
Prizes are $600,000 to the winner and $200,000 to second – but even the third-place horse gets $100,000, which would more than double the career earnings of seven horses in the field.
Combined, Mohaymen and Nyquist are 11-0 with $2,538,950 in purses. The rest of the Florida Derby field: eight wins in 50 starts, with $722,932 in purses.
The day starts at 7 a.m. with the popular Breakfast at Gulfstream in the Tiki Area of the Hallandale Beach track. Special guest speakers give insight of interests to both horse racing novices and old-timers. Unlimited buffet breakfast is $10.
More food: A BBQ buffet with coffee and soda is $50 at the seldom-used Sport of Kings Lounge. There’s also a buffet ($325 for a window view) featuring a fresh Florida stone crab bar in Ten Palms Turf Club, which overlooks the track. Call 954-457-6201.
Then the annual Florida Derby Hat Contest will be held in the Walking Ring after the call to post for the eighth race. There will be prizes of $100 (girls 2-12), $150 (girls 13-17) and $750 (women 18-up).
Gulfstream also is among the most enthusiastic contributors to the The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Jockeys aren’t like pro athletes in major sports, and have little control over their business and security. Gulfstream has charity poker, golf tournaments and dinners to help take care of those with devastating injuries.