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2022 Florida Derby Betting Odds, Picks, Longshots & Best Bets: Can Classic Causeway Beat Rivals in $1 Million Kentucky Derby Prep Race? (April 2)

2022 Florida Derby Betting Odds, Picks, Longshots & Best Bets: Can Classic Causeway Beat Rivals in $1 Million Kentucky Derby Prep Race? (April 2) article feature image

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Florida Derby contender Classic Causeway and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.

We are down to the “business” part on the long road to the Kentucky Derby, with three huge stakes races taking place Saturday that will help us set the field for the 148th edition of the annual “Run for the Roses” on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Perhaps the biggest event takes place down in south Florida, where 11 Derby hopefuls are scheduled to enter the starting gate for the $1 million Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

The winner of the 1 1/8-mile event on the dirt track earns 100 points, which guarantees the horse and its connections a spot in the starting gate for the Derby. Finishing second is good for 40 points, which almost assures that horse a shot at the Derby crown as well.

It's a weekend full of Derby prep races on @TVG!@BritneyEurton & @SimonTVG join us trackside from @GulfstreamPark and take a closer look at the top contenders for Saturday's G1 Curlin Florida Derby!

Catch all 14 races live tomorrow at

— TVG (@TVG) April 1, 2022

Looking to build on their solid run of winning picks this season, TVG analyst Andie Biancone and Action Network handicapper Jeremy Pond are back with their best bets and favorite longshots.

So, without further ado, let’s check out their best bets and other top wagers.

Tune in to TVG for coverage of the Florida Derby, plus the entire racing card at Gulfstream Park, to catch Biancone deliver her inside analysis and reporting for the day’s exciting schedule from Hallandale Beach, Fla.

2022 Florida Derby (Grade 1) Odds

*Latest Odds via TVG

1 — Strike Hard 20-1 Junior Alvarado
2 — Classic Causeway 7-2 Irad Ortiz, Jr.
3 — Simplification 5-2 Jose Ortiz
4 — King of Truth 30-1 Jose Morelos
5 — Pappacap 10-1 Edwin Gonzalez
6 — Charge It 7-2 Luis Saez
7 — White Abarrio 3-1 Tyler Gaffalione
8 — Cajun’s Magic 30-1 Jesus Rios
9 — O Captain 20-1 Joel Rosario
10 — Clapton 30-1 Emisael Jaramillo
11 — Steal Sunshine 30-1 Lionel Reyes

Race Information

Date | Post Time: Saturday | 6:38 p.m. ET

Distance | Surface: 1 1/8 miles | Dirt

Location: Gulfstream Park | Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Florida Derby Top Picks & Longshots

Andie Biancone

No. 2 Classic Causeway (7-2): Meet my top pick for the Florida Derby.

This horse has never finished off the board in his five-start career, even against some salty competition. And based on his past performances, Classic Causeway shows variety in his running style. He’s a horse who has the speed to take the lead, but the versatility to sit off the pace, which will be a huge determining factor in a stakes event with so much early speed in play.

When Classic Causeway won the Sam F. Davis Stakes earlier on the Derby trail, it was a huge testament to just how talented he really is on the track. To have outside pace pressure the entire first three quarters of the race, then to draw away from that pressure with ears pricked and finish the last furlong in 12 seconds with an impressive gallop out past the wire was something only a truly good horse can achieve.

Classic Causeway also seems to have developed a lot physically since when I saw him prior the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. It’s incredible to see how much he has matured and filled out in the past few months.

Classic Causeway has arrived for Saturday's Florida Derby! #KyDerby

— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) April 1, 2022

No. 6 Charge It (7-2): This race will be a huge step up for Charge It, who most recently broke his maiden, but I certainly think he will be competitive if he runs to his physical appearance.

I will never forget the day I saw Charge It in the saddling area when he debuted. He instantly became my favorite of mine from all of the Todd Pletcher potential Derby candidates from the Maiden Special Weight group.

This horse improved significantly from his first start to second, and so long as he has matured mentally to be able to relax with pressure on him, I don’t see why he wouldn’t continue this upward trend of improvement.

I think the stretch out in distance will be a huge help for Charge It, and quite honestly, I’m excited to see him go two turns. Of course, in a race such as the Florida Derby, the trip is everything and this horse hasn’t shown much versatility in terms of where he can sit of his past performances.

However, I’m sure Pletcher — the Hall of Fame trainer — will have his charge well prepared and ready to tackle this big step.

Longshot — No. 9 O Captain (20-1): At the big morning-line price of 20-1 odds,  O Captain is my longshot pick at a huge number.

This horse had an unideal trip last time out in the Fountain of Youth stakes at  Gulfstream Park, yet still managed to come with a huge close to finish third. Not only did he have a rough trip, but that was his first start going two turns and he was coming back from a two-month layoff.

O Captain truly showed he’s a contender to be taken seriously and he’s only going to improve having that race under his belt. He’s another horse in this field that shows potential to be versatile in the Florida Derby. O Captain had the speed to win first time out gate to wire, going 5 1/2 furlongs, showing his ability to stalk the pace in his second start.

He also showed he can close from last to third after much turbulence in the Fountain of Youth. That said, O Captain passed the distance test for me last time out, and I think he will love this 1 1/8-mile distance.

My only concern him is the outside post position he drew. I would hate to see him get shuffled back early, which is what happened in the Fountain of Youth.

Jeremy Pond

Florida Derby Best Bets

$10 Win | Place | Show: No. 6 Charge It (7-2)

$5 Place | Show: No. 9 O Captain (20-1)

$4 Exacta: 2-3-6-7-9

Exotic Wagering

(Races 13-14)

Biancone’s Daily Double

Kitten’s Joy Stakes | Florida Derby

1-3-5-7-9 | 2-3-6-7-9

Pond’s Daily Double

Kitten’s Joy Stakes | Florida Derby

2-3-7-9 | 2-3-6-7-9

The #RoadtotheDerby is heating up!

Take a look at the current Derby point leaderboard and stay with @TVG this Saturday April 2nd for 3️⃣ 100 point races!

G1 Curlin Florida Derby @GulfstreamPark
G1 Arkansas Derby @OaklawnRacing
G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks @TurfwayPark

— TVG (@TVG) March 31, 2022

Road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby

Jan. 22 Lecomte (Grade III) Call Me Midnight
Jan. 29 Southwest (III) Newgrange
Feb. 5 Holy Bull (III) White Abarrio
Feb. 5 Withers (III) Early Voting
Feb. 6 Robert B. Lewis (III) Messier
Feb. 12 Sam F. Davis (III) Classic Causeway
Feb. 12 El Camino Real Derby Blackadder
Feb. 19 Risen Star (III) Epicenter
Feb. 26 Rebel (II) Un Ojo
March 5 John Battaglia Memorial Tiz the Bomb
March 5 Fountain of Youth (II) Simplification
March 5 San Felipe (II) Forbidden Kingdom
March 5 Gotham (II) Morello
March 12 Tampa Bay Derby (II) Classic Causeway
March 26 UAE Derby Crown Pride
March 26 Louisiana Derby (II) Epicenter
March 27 Sunland Derby (III) Slow Down Andy
April 2 Florida Derby (I) Gulfstream Park (100-40-20-10)
April 2 Arkansas Derby (I) Oaklawn Park (100-40-20-10)
April 2 Jeff Ruby Steaks (III) Turfway Park (100-40-20-10)
April 9 Wood Memorial (II) Aqueduct (100-40-20-10)
April 9 Blue Grass (II) Keeneland (100-40-20-10)
April 9 Santa Anita Derby (I) Santa Anita Park (100-40-20-10)
April 16 Lexington (III) Keeneland (100-40-20-10)

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