Florida Derby 2024 Picks

Fierceness wins at Saratoga in 2023.
Fierceness tries to rebound in Florida Derby (Adam Coglianese Photo)

By Jarrod Horak

The road to Kentucky Derby 2024 continues at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 30, and I have included Florida Derby 2024 picks below. The Grade 1 event for 3-year-olds has a $1 million purse and the eleven entrants will be journeying 1 1/8 miles on the main track. The Florida Derby is the 14th race on March 30 and the top five finishers will earn Kentucky Derby points (100-50-25-15-10). 

Florida Derby 2024 Picks & Final Time Ratings

Hades took full advantage of perfect circumstances in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. He drew the rail that day and went right to the front, and the overwhelming favorite Fierceness had an uncomfortable start. The Holy Bull pace was slow and Hades turned away Fierceness and won by two lengths over next-out Tampa Bay Derby (G3) hero Domestic Product. He gets another favorable draw and should be in the hunt from the outset under Paco Lopez. 

Catalytic stalked the pace and pulled away in his local sprint bow last fall. He was the favorite in a dirt sprint at Tampa Bay on March 8, and he rallied from the inside post to finish a close second. He stretches out after two sprints and Saffie Joseph Jr. has good stats with his first route starters. He might be able to hit the board at a price.

Conquest Warrior is ready for this stakes test. Shug McGaughey’s $1 million City of Light colt broke slow and missed the place by a neck in his seven panel bow in the mud at Aqueduct late last year. He overcame a troubled trip in his flat mile maiden win at Gulfstream on Jan. 13, and stalked slow splits and was much the best in a local optional-claiming race at 1 1/8 miles on March 1. He continues to train forwardly and should be set for his best. 

Fierceness was brilliant in his two wins. He made the lead and rolled by 11 lengths in his dirt sprint bow in the mud at Saratoga last summer. His other win was in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and he had a sharp start, pressed the pace, and kicked away to win by 6 1/4 lengths. In his two losses, he lunged at the start and finished up the track as the beaten favorite in the Grade 1 Champagne, and had a rough beginning and finished a disappointing third in the Holy Bull last time. He sports two bullets for this and figures to run a big race if he breaks cleanly.   

The Florida Derby field also includes Frankie’s Empire, Bail Us Out, Grand Mo the First, Real Macho, Le Dom Bro, Seminole Chief, and Iris’s Dream. 

Florida Derby 2024 Picks

The Florida Derby is my 29th video on the road to Kentucky Derby 2024, and my top choices have nine wins, five runner-up finishes, and five show finishes. I will cover each points race on the Kentucky Derby trail. Check out my Florida Derby 2024 picks video below.