The first race of the Sunday racing card here in Florida is The Buccaneer Derby (G3), which has a purse of $300,000. The race is restricted to three-year-olds and is run over a mile and one sixteenth on the main dirt track. The race this year has drawn a full field of fourteen contenders, all looking to take home a win. Set to go off at 2:00 pm EST, the race will be run over a fast dirt track on what promises to be a nice clear day for racing. Let’s take a look at the contenders’ for this years’ Buccaneer Derby (G3).
1. Wheldon’s Memory – (Smart Strike x Hard Spun x A.P. indy) – atw6 - E. Sharp -6/1
The first horse out onto the track this weekend is out of the Grade I winning broodmare Wheldon. The three-year-old bay colt is himself an accomplished Grade III winner. The most recent start for the Kentucky-bred horse was here in Florida during The Good Cow (G3) over a mile. Settling just off the front runners in third, the horse started to move up midway through the race and would cross the wire the winner by a quarter length with a speed figure of one hundred two. This was the horses second graded start and first win at that level, but prior to his graded win he most recently ran in a mile long allowance race in New York where he came home second, off pace by a length. The colt will likely be forwardly placed this weekend, either leading the rest of the field away from the gate or slightly off the pace of a few other front-running horses.
2. Moonshine Patriot – (Malibu Moon x Awesome Again x Unbridled’s Song) – pointblank – W. Desantis – 13/1
Next out on the field looking for the first graded win of his seven race career, the Kentucky-bred colt will be making his graded debut this weekend in The Buccaneer Derby (G3). The most recent start for the Kentucky-bred was in Kentucky during a mile long allowance race. Breaking out of the gate and settling just off the pace in fourth, by midway in the race the colt had moved up to second and went on to win the race by one and a quarter lengths, recording a lifetime best speed figure of one hundred. This was preceded by yet another win at allowance level, also in Kentucky but over six furlongs. The colt will likely be forwardly placed on Sunday, just off the pace of a few other horses, likely back in second or third out of the gate.
3. Wizardly – (Medaglia d’Oro x Smart Strike x Nijinsky II) – kazzia – D. Givins- 7/1
One of the more experienced horses in the field this weekend with a total of eleven lifetime starts, the light gray colt is graded placed, but hasn’t yet been able to achieve a victory at the highest level of racing. The Kentucky-bred horse will be returning to running on the dirt after a brief try over the turf in an allowance race which found him finishing second. The most recent start on dirt for the colt was in the Magical Act Dirt Dash, a listed stakes race over seven and a half furlongs. Breaking farther back in the pack at seventh, he quickly challenged other horses, but came up short when he crossed the wire two lengths back in second. He set a speed figure of one hundred three for the start, a lifetime best. Last December the colt saw his most recent stakes start in the Pleasure Stakes (G3) at eight and a half furlongs. He finished third in the race after setting back off the pace of a few front runners in fourth. Earlier that year he finished tenth in the 2013 Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile (G1). The colt usually rates just off the pace of a few other horses, though has been held farther back off the pace a few times, which has done well for the colt.
4. Cherry Blossom Ted – (Harlington x Touch Gold x Awesome Again) - pick6 – B.J. Tolliver- 13/1
Out of the allowance winning broodmare Cherry Martini, the colt is listed stakes placed but hasn’t won a listed stakes race or a graded stakes. This weekend will be the Kentucky-bred colts graded stakes debut. The most recent start for the bay colt came in the Lass Appeal Dirt Route, a listed stakes race over nine and a half furlongs on the dirt. Breaking out of the gate just of the pace of the leader, the colt ran second throughout the race, finishing where he started and crossing the wire in second with a speed figure of one hundred one, a lifetime best for the colt. The most recent win for the colt was last August during an allowance race over seven furlongs in New Jersey. Placed a little farther back in third out of the gate, he made a late move in the stretch to win the race by one and three-quarter lengths. Like much of the field this weekend, the colt would like to set just off of the pace of a front runner if he can.
5. Lamb’s Way – (Tizway x Speightstown x Tapit) - badlamb0 – N. Strickland – 10/1
Another horse looking for his first graded win of his career, this three-year-old bay colt has made eight starts and is listed stakes placed. The most recent start for the colt was overseas in Denmark during the Tout Ou Rein Dirt Challenge, a listed stakes race over a mile. Settling just off the pace in second, the colt lost some ground in the stretch and was pushed back to third before crossing the wire. He set a speed figure of one hundred and one, a lifetime best for the colt. September of last year saw the last time the colt won a race, this coming in a seven furlong allowance race. by a margin of a length and a half. Once again, this colt is going to be looking to rate just off the pace of a couple of speed horses, but with all the other contenders gunning for this same position, its going to be a race out of the gate to gain a favorable position for many of the colts in the race this weekend.
6. Platycercus Cadet - (Smart Strike x Deputy Minister x Storm Cat) - cadet3 – N. Armstrong – 9/1
Perhaps the most lightly raced colt in the field this weekend with only three prior starts, the Kentucky-bred colt is out of the Grade I winning million dollar earning broodmare Rosella. This will be the colts graded stakes debut this weekend, as well has his first test over anything tougher than allowance competition. The most recent start for the colt was in Kentucky at eight and a half furlongs in an allowance race. The colt went straight to the lead in the race and won the race in wire to wire fashion by one and three-quarter lengths, setting a speed figure of ninety-six. He also won his maiden debut race and finished second in his only other start, which was at allowance level and also in Kentucky. All of the horses races have been run with the bay colt going straight out to the lead, so we can probably expect him to try to do the same here and be the early pacesetter for the rest of the field.
7. Endothelium – (Bernardini x Giant’s Causeway x Mr. Prospector) – simhispano – S. S. Ledwith – 10/1
Graded placed so far, but still looking for a win at the graded level, this three-year-old bay colt has made eight lifetime starts and brought home close to $200,000 in career earnings to date. The colt is fairly new to racing on the dirt and has made only two starts over the surface after beginning his early racing career over the turf. The most recent start for the colt was overseas in Denmark during the Giant Slayer Classic (G3) at eight and a half furlongs. Settling into fourth early on, midway through the race the colt had moved up to second. He crossed the wire in second, off the pace by only a quarter length and setting a speed figure of one hundred two, a lifetime best for the colt. The only other dirt start for the colt came in the United Arab Emirates during an eight and a half furlong allowance race, which the colt won in wire to wire fashion. The colt will likely either want to go out front as the pacesetter early on, or will be in the mass struggle early on for what appears to be a coveted position just behind a few front runners.
8. Harry The Hump – (Tapit x Forty Niner x Secretariat) – champions1 – R. Maire – 12/1
Lightly raced with just four lifetime starts, having one of the lowest number of starts to date in the field this weekend, the three-year-old bay horse is an allowance winner which will be making his graded stakes debut this weekend. The most recent start for the Kentucky-bred horse was in an allowance race over a mile here in Florida. Breaking out of the gate and heading straight for the front, the colt won the race in wire to wire fashion by a length and setting a speed figure of one hundred one, another lifetime best off of his most recent race. In his four career starts to date, the colt has never finished off the board. His worst finish came in his maiden debut in Kentucky where he finished third. In all of his races he has gone straight out to the lead out of the gate, which he will probably be looking for on Sunday where he will have to contend with Platycercus Cadet, who will be looking for the same position out of the gate.
9. Tank For Wiggins – (Unbridled’s Song x Gone West x Seattle Slew) – pokedex – O. Parker – 10/1
Another lightly raced colt with just three career starts, the light gray colt by late sire Unbirdled’s Song will be making his graded stakes debut this weekend. The most recent start for the colt came in Kentucky during an allowance race. Breaking from the gate and settling into third, the colt crossed the wire where he started in third, back off the pace by one and a quarter lengths. He set a speed figure of ninety-eight, which was a lifetime best for the colt. His two races prior to this were both wins, including his maiden debut race and a mile long allowance race. The last two races for the colt have been run just off the pace of a few front runners, but in the maiden debut for the colt he broke out of the gate towards the middle of the field, which if he can do that again here this Sunday may be to his benefit to be able to do well off the pace early on.
10. Search Is Over (ENG) - (Frankel (GB) x Nijinsky II x Mr. Prospector – xledwith4 – H. McCoy – 17/1
The longshot of Sunday’s race and the only horse in the field not to hail from Kentucky, is this three-year-old bay colt from England. An allowance winner and winning his last three consecutive starts, the colt will be making his graded stakes debut this weekend. The most recent start for the colt came in New South Wales, Australia during an allowance race over eight and a half furlongs. Going straight to the lead out of the gate, the colt won the race in wire to wire fashion by an impressive four and a half lengths, setting a speed figure of ninety-seven, a lifetime best for the colt and a substantial jump in speed from his last recorded speed figure of eighty-five in another allowance race. Interesting of note, this is the colt’s first start outside of New South Wales. The colt will likely be another horse out on the track Sunday trying to go for the lead. He has been the pacesetter for the vast majority of his races, so well expected some speed from him early on to try to get out there to get the front before the other horses.
11. Calloway – (Mineshaft x El Prado x Strawberry Road) - damascus – J. Caves – 14/1
Lightly raced with just four lifetime starts,the three-year-old light gray colt will be traveling across the country from California for The Buccaneer Derby (G3) this weekend. The most recent start for the Kentucky-bred horse came in a mile long allowance race where the colt set just off the pace of the front runners in fourth. The colt made a move late in the stretch to move forward and cinch the win by a length while setting a lifetime best speed figure of one hundred. The colt also won his two prior races, an eight and a half furlong allowance race, also in California, and the race in which he broke his maiden. The colt has made only one start in which he did not win, which was in his maiden debut over the turf at seven furlongs in Arizona. Unlike much of the field this weekend this colt will likely not want up towards the front, which could be in his favor with the other horses in the race battling for that position. The colt will likely be trailing the field early on out of the gate on Sunday.
12. Galloping Hero – (Hansen x Wild Again x Pleasant Colony) - blindluck - O. A. Haack – 11/1
Working our way towards the end of the field for the race this Sunday, this striking three-year-old roan colt has made seven career starts. The most recent start for the Kentucky-bred came in New Jersey during the Atlantic City Futurity (G2) over a mile. Breaking out of the gate and settling off the pace in ninth, five and three-quarter lengths off the pace of the leader. The colt gained some position throughout the race, but ultimately crossed the wire in seventh, nine and a half lengths off the pace. The colt set a speed figure of ninety-seven. Prior to this the colt made another graded start in the Race Series for grracers (G2), where the colt finished five lengths back in seventh. Prior to his attempts at graded races the colt won four consecutive races, including three allowance races. The colt was forwardly placed in his allowance races, just off the pace off of a few front runners, but he has been much farther off the pace in his two graded starts so far.
13. Old Speightstown – (Old Fashioned x Speightstown x Saint Ballado) – baffster0 – C. Capper – 10/1
Next up, this three-year-old light gray colt will be making his tenth career start this weekend in The Buccaneer Derby (G3). The Kentucky-bred colt is a listed stakes winner and will be making his graded debut this weekend. The most recent start for the colt came in the Wallys Count Dirt Mile, a listed stakes in Idaho. The colt came out of the gate and settled towards the rear of the field back in eighth. Midway through the race the colt started to progress forward, but he only managed to cross the wire in fifth at the end of the race, six and a half lengths off the pace. He set a lifetime best speed figure of ninety-nine for the race. The most recent win for the colt was last November overseas in Thailand during the Ruud Van N. Dirt Juvenile over a mile. Closer to the pace in a mid-pack position, the colt started to challenge other horses earlier on in the race, and eventually won by two lengths. He will be one of the few horses this weekend that will be looking to play the role of a closer, setting far off the pace early on out of the gate and stalking all the other colts who will be jostling to be near the front.
14. Hey Bay Bay – (Neko Bay x Conquistador Cielo x Hostage) - bigtate02 – H. Head – 8/1
The last horse to go into the gate on Sunday, this three-year-old bay colt is out of the broodmare Pricey Con. He is one of the more experienced horses in the field this weekend with thirteen career starts. He is listed stakes placed and has graded experience, though he hasn’t won a graded race yet. The most recent start for the colt was in Vermont during the Equinics – Gift Givers (G1) over six furlongs. Settling back into eighth out of the gate, he slowly began to move up midway through the race and managed to finish in the money in his first graded start, crossing the wire in fourth, off the pace by two and a quarter lengths. The colt set a speed figure of ninety-nine for his second graded start. The colt finished on the board in all three of his listed stakes race starts, including a second place finish in the Major Nelson Dirt Juvenile over five furlongs. His most recent win was in a six furlong allowance race in October. Prior to this the colt made his only other graded start in the Darling-Squash Futurity (G3) at a mile where he finished ninth, eight and three-quarter lengths off the pace. The colt has been fairly versatile in his running style, but will likely be sent out and hang back towards the rear of the field to let the other horses scramble for the front.