Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, March 28: Full Florida Derby Betting Card for All 14 Races at Gulfstream Park

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  • Saturday features an absolutely loaded horse racing card, including 14 races at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
  • It all commences with the Florida Derby (Race 14) at 6:36 p.m. ET. Tiz the Law is the clear favorite in Race 14, but is Sean Zerillo banking on the chalk to come through?
  • Check out his horse racing picks and analysis for all 14 races on Saturday, including the 8-1 horse to target in the final race of the day.

The 2020 Florida Derby day card is jam-packed, with 14 races scheduled for post between 11:30 a.m. ET and 6:36 p.m. ET on Saturday, concluding with the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby.

This is one of the most loaded and difficult cards that I have ever attempted to break down, including 10 stakes races and several large mandatory payout pools:

Gulfstream Park is offering the following mandatory payouts on Saturday:

  • $5 Million Pick 6 (Race 9, 3:34 p.m. ET)
  • $400,000 Pick 5 (Race 10, 4:17 p.m. ET)
  • $500,000 Pick 4 (Race 11, 4:49 p.m. ET)

That’s in addition to three other Pick 4 and Pick 5 offerings which are available on the program:

  • Pick 5 (Race 1, 11:30 a.m. ET)
  • Pick 4 (Race 2, 12:00 p.m. ET)
  • Pick 4 (Race 7, 2:30 p.m. ET)

Keep horses that can win in mind for horizontal (Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6) tickets, while also considering price horses to use underneath in single races (aka vertical) exotics, like exactas, trifectas and superfectas.

And make sure to stay tuned on Twitter for all of my single and multi-race tickets for Florida Derby day.


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Gulfstream Park

Race 1

11:30 a.m. ET

A loaded card begins with a wide-open turf allowance race at 1 1/16 miles. The No. 5 Zabava (4-1) turns back in distance by a furlong after finishing second from just off the lead last time out. She will have to hold off the late-running No. 9 Temple City Terror (10-1), in her first start off a layoff, and get the jump on the No. 10 Scatnap (5-1) at the turn.

This trio is worth playing in a small exacta box, and I might place a win bet on the favorite Zabava if she holds at 7-2 or better.

Pick: 5, over 10, 9, 12


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Race 2

12:00 p.m. ET

I’m mostly against the two favorites in this seven-furlong sprint — in the No. 5 Beau Luminarie (7-2) and No. 6 Travelling Midas (3-1), who each ran career-high Beyer figures (91, 92 respectively) in their last starts.

Instead, I like the two horses from the Saffie Joseph barn in the No. 8 Overdeliver (8-1) and No. 10 Gump (8-1), in addition to the No. 11 Top Seed (9-2) for Shug McGaughey. The latter is only making his second career start but has turned in several bullet workouts before and since his maiden win on Feb. 5.

And price horses like the No. 7 Be Gone Daddy (15-1) and No. 12 Bernin’ Thru Gold (12-1) are worth including underneath in exotics. Top Seed is worth a win bet at 4-1 or better.

Pick: 11, over 10, 6, 5

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Race 3

12:30 p.m. ET

No. 3 Largent (3-1) is one of the more likely winners on Saturday’s card and gets Luis Saez aboard, who won five races on Friday. The Todd Pletcher charge will look to go to the front with Chad Brown’s No. 8 Unleveraged (7-2), a likely underlay.

But I prefer Brown’s other runner, the No. 12 Tribhuvan (9-2) and will also use the better of two runners for Mike Maker, the No. 5 Temple (6-1).

Pick: 3 over 12, 5, 8

Race 4 (Cutler Bay)

1:00 p.m. ET

This shapes up as a two-horse battle on the turf between the No. 6 Vitalogy (5-2) for Brendan Walsh and the No. 10 Decorated Invader (7-2) for Christophe Clement — the former turning back by 1/16 after winning the Grade 3 Palm Beach in his first start back, while the latter hasn’t raced since the Grade 1 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf last November.

Two horses to use underneath are the No. 3 Get Smokin (8-1) and No. 11 Mr. Hustle (12-1).

Pick: 6, over 10, 3, 11


Race 5

1:30 p.m. ET

By speed scores, you need to include the No. 3 Network Effect (7-2), first start back off of a layoff since the Dec. 19 Cigar Mile (G-1) at Aqueduct and the No. 5 Chewing Gum (4-1), who owns the best last-out Beyer (96) in the field.

But both of those horses come from off of the pace, and there may not be much pressure upfront for the No. 11 Almashriq (8-1), a $1.2 million son of War Front. He could definitely wire this field.

I also respect the No. 9 Intrepid Heart (9-2) in his first start off a layoff — the talented son of Tapit has turned in several good works since February and looks to take a step forward in his four-year-old campaign.

Pick: 11, over 3, 5, 9


Race 6 (Hal’s Hope)

2:00 p.m. ET

This nine-furlong dirt route could have a hot pace, with the No. 2 Bodexpress (8-1), No. 6 American Tattoo (3-1) and No. 10 Rare Form (15-1) all going to the front. That sets up a nice scenario for some late runners to cash in, including the No. 1 Harvey Wallbanger (4-1), No. 5 Just Whistle (10-1) and No. 8 Sir Anthony (15-1), alongside the stalking No. 9 Realm (6-1).

I’ll look to get a longshot into the winner’s circle and would play Sir Anthony across.

Pick: 8, over 5, 6, 9


Race 7 (Sanibel Island)

2:30 p.m. ET

I’m also against the favorite in this race, and my top choice is the No. 9 Seducer (8-1) who will add Lasix in her second career start,  and I will bet to win at 6-1 or better. My alternate win options are the No. 7 Walk In Marrakesh (6-1) and No. 8 She’s My Type (5-1).

The No. 11 Highland Glory (12-1) also stands to improve off a maiden win in January, but the price horse I like in here most is the No. 12 Heir of Light (20-1), who switches from turf to dirt after training all winter on the surface.

Pick: 9, over 7, 11, 8

[The Florida Derby Longshots to Use in Exactas, Trifectas]

Race 8 (Sir Shackleton)

3:38 p.m. ET

Perhaps the No. 8 Vekoma (9-2), who is making his first start since the 2019 Kentucky Derby, needs a refresher after a long layoff, but the talented son of Candy Ride could be explosive in his four-year-old debut, and the horses from last year’s Derby trail continue to produce strong results as older horses.

My alternatives in this race are the No. 3 Last Judgment (4-1), who turned in a career-best effort at Gulfstream in early February, and the No. 10 He Hate Me (8-1) who has finished in the money 12 times in 15-lifetime starts (4-4-4). The No. 12 Majestic Dunhill (10-1) also owns speed metrics which make him competitive in here, but I’ll be betting Vekoma to win at 7-2 or better.

Pick: 8, over 3, 10, 12


Race 9 (San Springs)

3:34 p.m. ET

The No. 5 Newspaperofrecord (9-5) was historically excellent as a 2 year old but went winless in her three starts last year and will be overbet coming out of Chad Brown’s barn. She hasn’t looked comfortable without the lead and could face early pressure in this race.

Meanwhile, the No. 2 Zofelle (9-2) will be running late from the clouds, and I’ll draw a line through her last race at Fair Grounds where she was bumped hard.

For me, Zofelle is the one to beat, but I’m also going to include the No. 7 Getmotherarose (6-1) who looks to be improving, with the No. 6 La Signare (8-1) and tactical No. 8 East Moon (15-1) as prices for exotics.

Pick: 2, over 7, 5, 6


Race 10 (Orchid)

4:17 p.m. ET

No. 6 Mean Mary (3-1) is going to take a ton of money after her five-length blowout win in the La Prevoyante (G-3), but the No. 5 Gentle Ruler (7-2) has won five of six starts and recorded five consecutive Beyer figures higher than 90.

The No. 12 Elizabeth Way (9-2) should pressure the favorite with her tactical speed and could stick around, and some other options including the No. 2 Kelsey’s Cross (10-1), No. 7 Cap de Creus (10-1) and No. 9 Get Explicit (12-1) could each hit the board, but this is mostly a two-horse race.

Pick: 5, over 6, 12, 7


 Race 11 (Florida Oaks)

4:49 p.m. ET

If a horse can be both undefeated and unimpressive, No. 9 Tonalist’s Shape (5-2) is a prime example, even though I do like her going around two turns for the first time in this race. She’s versatile in running style and should appreciate the added ground. The No. 5 Spice is Nice (4-1) chased her last time and stayed on at the end, so perhaps she improves with more experience and the additional 1/16 of a mile.

No. 4 Lake Avenue (9-2) could go gate to wire, but her 3-year-old debut at Aqueduct three weeks ago was ugly. However, given the state of the world, Bill Mott wouldn’t run her back in this race unless he was sure that she would be a serious contender. The No. 7 Lucrezia (8-1) sees a big step up in class but has looked excellent while winning two stakes race and training over in Tampa Bay, and has the tactical speed to press, rate, and go by leaders. No. 6 Swiss Skydiver (10-1) is my favorite closer in this field full of speed, but she might ultimately be better going shorter rather than longer.

Pick: 7, over 9, 5, 4


 Race 12 (Pan American)

5:26 p.m. ET

This is a two-horse race with virtually no pacesetters, meaning that the 7-year-old No. 9 Zulu Alpha (3-5) who likes to come from midpack may not get a desirable trip for the first time in a while, leaving some run for other horses at the end.
His main rival is the No. 1 Channel Cat (9-2), who bested Zulu Alpha last July at Saratoga in the Bowling Green (G-2) after seizing an uncontested lead and we could see a repeat of that pace scenario play out on Saturday.

In single race exotics, I’ll use the No. 2 Bemma’s Boy (9-2) and No. 10 Focus Group (8-1) underneath.

Pick: 1, over 9, 10, 2


 Race 13 (Appleton)

6:00 p.m. ET

This is my favorite race for the day in terms of longshots, as I’m avoiding four of the top five choices on the morning line. The No. 7 Social Paranoia (10-1) makes his 4-year-old debut for Todd Pletcher, and despite this being his first start off a layoff, his tactical speed makes him a significant player.

No. 3 March to the Arch (8-1) is a reliable runner with Beyer speed figures of 97 or higher in seven of eight starts, which puts him right into contention. But there won’t be much early speed for either of those horses to chase, potentially leaving the No. 8 Dr. Edgar (20-1) loose on the lead.

Poor pace setups in recent starts have victimized the defending champion in this race, but he should get a clean trip here for new jockey Paco Lopez, and though I doubt you’ll get 20-1 by post time, Dr. Edgar is worth betting at any double-digit number. Of the favorites, I prefer the No. 10 Sombeyay (7-2), but I’m afraid to leave off the No. 12 El Tormenta (9-2).

Pick: 8, over 3, 7, 10


Race 14 (Florida Derby)

6:36 p.m. ET

You should read my full Florida Derby preview. And you should also read the breakdown by my colleague, Mike Conti.

In short, to finish out multi-race wagers, including a Daily Double, Pick 4, Pick 5 and the Rainbow Pick 6, I’m keying on the No. 5 Gouverneur Morris (8-1) and No. 7 Tiz The Law (6-5), with some No. 9 Independence Hall (9-2) thrown in.

I’ll look to fit No. 12 Ete Indien (4-1) into just a few exacta tickets, while primarily saving him for trifectas and superfectas alongside the No. 3 Disc Jockey (20-1) and No. 10 Candy Tycoon (20-1), my favorite longshots in the race.

Pick: 5, over 7, 9, 12

Top Selections By Race

  1. No. 5 Zabava (4-1)
  2. No. 11 Top Seed (9-2)
  3. No. 3 Largent (3-1)
  4. No. 6 Vitalogy (5-2)
  5. No. 11 Almashriq (8-1)
  6. No. 8 Sir Anthony (15-1)
  7. No. 9 Seducer (8-1)
  8. No. 8 Vekoma (9-2)
  9. No. 2 Zofelle (9-2)
  10. No. 5 Gentle Ruler (7-2)
  11. No. 7 Lucrezia (8-1)
  12. No. 1 Channel Cat (9-2)
  13. No. 8 Dr. Edgar (20-1)
  14. No. 5 Gouverneur Morris (8-1)

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet risk-free up to $300.]

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