Not since in 1997 have Florida-breds won Gulfstream Park’s premier races for 3-year-olds and 3-year-old fillies in the same year and a Sunshine State sweep has only happened twice.

Known as the Bonnie Miss until 2011 when Florida-bred R Heat Lightning won the Gulfstream Park Oaks, Florida-bred filly Glitter Woman won the race in 1997 on March 9 before Florida-bred Captain Bodgit won the Florida Derby (Grade 1) a week later. In 1990, Florida-bred Charon won the Bonnie Miss (G2) on March 11 while Florida-bred Unbridled won the Florida Derby on March 17.

Saturday at Gulfstream Park, Florida breeders have a solid chance to win both races with Hades, Seminole Chief and Iris’s Dream the Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa and Fiona’s Magic and Neom City set for the Gulfstream Park Oaks.

The Florida Derby offers 200 Derby points to the top five finishers on a 100-50-25-15-10 basis and Hades is on the Derby bubble ranking 21st with 20 points. Last year, King Russell was the last to make the 20-horse Derby starting gate with 40 points so Hades likely must finish third or better to make this year’s Run for the Roses.

Neither Seminole Chief nor Iris’s Dream have Derby qualifying points so they must finish first or second to have a chance at the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

The Florida Derby also offers a $100,000 Florida-bred bonus and a $100,000 Florida Sire Stakes bonus to the top 3 finishers presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Owned by Leonard Green’s D.J. Stable LLC and Robert Cotran, Hades is 7-2 on the morning line for the $1 million Florida Derby.

By Ocala Stud stallion Awesome Slew out of The Shady Lady, by Quality Road, Hades was bred by Ocala Stud, Joseph M. O’Farrell III, David O’Farrell, et. al.

Undefeated in three career starts, the bay gelding earned his Derby points with a two-length victory in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3 for trainer Joe Orseno.

Paco Lopez, who has ridden Hades in all of his races, has the return mount and they will break from post two in the 11-horse field set to go a mile-and-an-eighth.

Seminole Chief and Iris’s Dream look for the first Derby points Saturday so they will need to finish first or second to have a chance at making the Derby field.

Brady Grady and David Grund’s Seminole Chief has won three of five career starts including the $300,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes In Reality on Dec. 2 at Gulfstream.

By Girvin out of Secret Song, by Dunkirk, Seminole Chief was bred by Brad and Misty Grady.

Seminole Chief is trained by Jack Sisterson and Joel Rosario will be aboard for the first time. They will break from post eight and are 30-1 on the morning line.

Iris’s Dream, a homebred for Iris Y. Cotto, has only a seven-and-a-half-length victory against maiden, $50,000 optional claimers in three career starts. He is by Jess’s Dream out of Smart Kiara, by Lion Heart and has career earnings of $42,800.

Trainer Cheryl Winebaugh will give a leg up on Iris’s Dream to jockey Jorge Ruiz. Iris’s Dream has the outside post 11 and is 30-1 in the program.

The Gulfstream Park Oaks offers 200 qualifying points for the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks on a 100-50-25-15-10 schedule but Fiona’s Magic and her 60 points likely give her enough to make the 14-horse Oaks field. Last year, Wonder Wheel was the last to qualify for the Oaks with 48 points.

The Gulfstream Park Oaks also offers a $50,000 Florida-bred bonus and a $50,000 Florida Sire Stakes bonus to the top 3 finishers presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Fiona’s Magic earned her Oaks points with a half-length victory in the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream on March 2 and a runner-up finish to fellow Florida-bred R Harper Rose in the Grade 3 Forward Gal at Gulfstream on Feb. 3.

A homebred for Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge LLC, Fiona’s Magic is by Journeyman Stud stallion St Patrick’s Day out of Mollie’s Magic, by Factum and she has three wins in five starts with two seconds while earning $250,910.

Fiona’s Magic is trained by Michael Yates and Jorge Ruiz will ride the dark bay or brown filly from post eight. They are listed at 6-1 on the morning line for the Gulfstream Park Oaks.

Neom City will be in search of her first Kentucky Oaks points Saturday, meaning she will likely need to finish first or second to earn a spot in the Kentucky Oaks starting gate.

Trained by Nader Moubarak for Abdullattef Al Zeer, Neom City has taken one of four starts with two seconds and her lone victory came in a six-and-a-half-furlong maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 2. In one start since, the daughter of Handsome Mike out of Annabell Hall, by Graeme Hall was an unlucky sixth in a first level, $50,000 optional claiming for Florida-bred fillies after being bumped at the start. 

Bred by Judy Karlin, Neom City will be ridden from post three by Joe Bravo and is 30-1 in the program.

Return to the March 29 issue of Wire to Wire