FOY Winner Simplification Takes Aim on Florida Derby

Tami Bobo’s Simplification came out of his dominating triumph in Saturday’s $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park in good order and will be pointed toward the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) April 2 at the Hallandale Beach, Fla. track, trainer Antonio Sano said Sunday.

The 3-year-old son of Not This Time, a front-running winner of the Mucho Macho Man Stakes Jan. 1, finished a courageous second behind highly regarded White Abarrio in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) Feb. 5 following a troubled start and wide trip, turned in a thoroughly professional off-the-place performance Saturday to win his first graded stakes win in his first race around two turns.

“The bad break last race changed everything. Yesterday, good break, a little problem in traffic, and when the jockey took him outside, the horse ran well,” Sano said. “I am proud of my horse. I’m happy for all the support the people give to me. I’m happy for another chance to win the Kentucky Derby.”

While scoring by 3 ½ lengths in the Fountain of Youth, Simplification earned 50 Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points while providing Sano with his second Fountain of Youth success. Sano saddled the popular deep-closing Gunnevera for a victory in the tradition-rich stakes in 2017.

“This horse is different. He runs in the front, in the middle or behind,” said Sano, whose Florida-bred trainee is tied for second in the Kentucky Derby point standings with 54 points, 10 fewer than Epicenter. “He’s a different horse, more focused in the race.”

Gunnevera went on to finish third in the Florida Derby before turning in a creditable seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, in which he ran into traffic while racing well off the pace before making a solid five-wide run. The son of Dialed In continued to race in graded-stakes company for the remainder of his career while earning more than $5.5 million in purses.

Edge Racing, Medallion Racing and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ In Due Time, who rallied late to finish second behind Simplification in the Fountain of Youth, was reported to have come out of his promising effort in good order and could be a Florida Derby candidate, although no decision has been made.

“We’re good,” trainer Kelly Breen said Sunday. “He ate up everything last night. Other than his eyes tearing a little bit from getting the dirt kicked in his face, he looks good.”

In Due Time dropped back on the backstretch and raced in traffic before making a strong late run in the stretch to check in 3 ½ lengths behind victorious Simplification a length ahead of 87-1 third-place finisher O Captain.

“I think he was still getting used to getting dirt kicked in his face. When he finally got a clear run in at the eighth pole – it probably was the sixteenth-pole – he got outside and he was running the last part,” Breen said.

Also by Not This Time, In Due Time was coming off an impressive 5 ¾-length optional claiming allowance victory at Gulfstream Feb. 4.

“We always thought that he was a nice horse. We were contemplating going to Tampa, but I wanted to stay here in surroundings he’s been accustomed to, and because of his affinity for the track, not that he doesn’t like any other track,” Breen said. “Why do anything different? I thought he ran a creditable race against a nice field of horses.”

Breen said a decision won’t be made concerning In Due Time’s next start until he returns to the training.

“Where we go from here? I’m going to wait for him to get back onto the track and see how he’s training,” Breen said. “The Florida Derby is in our backyard, but I won’t say anything until I talk to the owners and come up with a game plan.”

OGMA Investments LLC and Jack Hardin’s O Captain, who rallied from last to finish third in the Fountain of Youth, is likely to return in the Florida Derby.

“That is the plan,” said Gustavo Delgado Jr., the trainer’s assistant and son.

O Captain, a son of Carpe Diem, surprised many bettors, but his connections said they were expecting a strong race from the 87-1 longshot.

“We expected him to run a big race. He was training so good for it,” Delgado Jr. said. “We knew he would like the mile and a sixteenth because of his family.”

O Captain debuted with a front-running 9 ¼-length victory at Gulfstream in August and returned to finish a late-closing third in the six-furlong Limehouse in his most recent start Jan. 1.

The post FOY Winner Simplification Takes Aim on Florida Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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