As we near the start of the 2017 Triple Crown season, a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender is sure to emerge in this week’s Million Dollar Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. With a field of 11 (possibly 10) of the best thoroughbreds and trainers in the country, this year’s betting odds, picks and predictions experts are sure to have their hands full in trying to forecast an outright winner.
The official post time for the 2017 Million Dollar Florida Derby is scheduled for Saturday night at 6:40 p.m. ET. As the name indicates, horse racing betting aficionados should note that a $1 million purse will be on the line in this Grade 1 event.
The distance traveled will be 1 1/8 miles on a left-handed dirt track, age qualifications is three-years-old and the weight will be maxed out at 122 pounds. With all that general information established, let’s take a look at the top three betting odds favorites to win this pivotal event in descending order:
Gunnevera (9-5): Following his dominant victory at the Fountain of Youth earlier this month, it comes as no surprise that Gunnevera is the betting odds favorite, and is sure to be a very popular picks and predictions bet come Saturday evening at Gulfstream. Trained by Atonio Sano, this Kentucky colt will try and establish himself as a legitimate threat to win the first leg of the Triple Crown with jockey Javier Castellano on mount. However, some horse racing betting experts may say that Gunnevera will have his work cutout after drawing post position number 11 towards the outside. As many may recall, his upset victory at the Fountain of Youth came from the inside, as he stunned betting favorite Irish War Cry from post position number two. Gunnevera is 4-2-0 in eight career starts with two of those victories coming at Gulfstream Park along with a pair of second-place finishes (Holy Bull Stakes-G2 and MSW) and was fourth at the Birdonthewire at this same venue.
Battalion Runner (3-1): Speaking of dominance, world-renowned trainer Todd Pletcher seems poised to have a good weekend in South Florida, as he will have two of the top three contenders to win this event on the docket. However, word around the campfire is that Battalion Runner will become a late scratch, despite having jockey John Velazquez on mount and drawing post position number nine. The son of Unbridled’s Song is expected to be scratched and will either compete at the Wood Memorial on April 8 or the Arkansas Derby on April 15. He’s currently undefeated at Gulfstream Park having won an AlwOC in February and an MSW race in December of last year.
Always Dreaming (4-1): With Battalion Runner out of the way, that sets the stage for Always Dreaming to pull off the upset at 4-1 horse racing futures odds. Also under the watchful eye of Todd Pletcher, the son of Bodemeister is expected to have jockey John Velazquez on mount following Battalion Runner’s scratch. Always Dreaming drew post position number four, which likely made Pletcher’s decision a little easier for this event. The Kentucky native is coming off a victory at an AlwOC race on March 4 and is certainty my horse racing picks choice to win the 2017 Million Dollar Florida Derby come Saturday night.
- Million Dollar Florida Derby Picks: Always Dreaming 4-1
Million Dollar Florida Derby Post Positions, Jockeys, Trainers and Betting Odds
- State of Honor (Mark Casse) Julien Leparoux: 8-1
- Talk Logistics (Edward Plesa Jr.) Joe Bravo: 30-1
- Charlie the Greek (Mikhail Yanakov) Leonel Reyes: 50-1
- Always Dreaming (Todd Pletcher) John Velazquez: 4-1
- Quinientos (Enrique Sanchez) Carlos Montalvo: 50-1
- Coleman Rocky (Gustavo Delgado) Jose Ortiz: 30-1
- Unbridled Holiday (Patrick Biancone) Nik Juarez: 30-1
- Impressive Edge (Dale Romans) Corey Lanerie: 12-1
- x-Battalion Runner (Todd Pletcher) John Velazquez: 3-1
- Three Rules (Jose Pinchin) Luis Saez: 8-1
- Gunnevera (Antonio Sano) Javier Castellano: 9-5