Playing the $1 million Florida Derby odds is one of the most important things a bettor can do during the year because the Grade 1 Florida Derby is one of the best horse races leading up to the Kentucky Derby (G1). The 1 1/8-mile race has produced 15 winners of the Kentucky Derby and is a major race in its own right regarding future stallion value. Read on to find out more about betting on the Florida Derby, as well as Florida Derby statistics and information.
Florida Derby Betting
The Florida Derby is run on the last Saturday in March, or five weeks before the Kentucky Derby. It is slated for March 27, 2021, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. The Florida Derby field includes the best three-year-olds from all around the country, including some from New York, Louisiana, and even California. Fans have been gathering to see this famous race and participate in Florida Derby betting since it started in its current format in 1952.
The Florida Derby is part of the official Road to the Kentucky Derby that was created by Churchill Downs in 2013. It is worth 100 points to the winner, which guarantees a spot in the Kentucky Derby field. Racing in Florida is popular because of the winter weather, which has significantly fewer cancelations than the winter racing in New York. That is what makes the Florida Derby such a tough race to win, compared to some of its counterparts in New York or Kentucky.
Betting the Florida Derby Online
Fans of horse racing are often also fans of betting. Being able to root home the horse you selected and have money riding on is a thrill like no other, and winning makes it all the better. To bet the Florida Derby online, you need to select an online racebook that has been thoroughly vetted and reviewed. The best ones include Bovada and MyBookie, but all the ones we recommend here can be trusted and are worth viewing for yourself.
Do your own research to figure out which sportsbook is right for you. Once you deposit money into the account, you will be able to place any valid bet on the Florida Derby and other Gulfstream Park races. Make sure the betting site you choose has excellent technology to deliver you the most current Florida Derby odds, and up to date Florida Derby field information.
Most online racebooks also have cashback bonuses, sign up deals, and special promotions for new and returning customers. Take advantage of these deals when placing your Florida Derby bets online. Online gambling is a big and sometimes tricky world to traverse, but our reviews make it easy for you to pick the right one and can benefit your profits immensely.
Florida Derby Entries and Payouts
The winning payouts of the last 15 Florida Derby winners, as well as their position during the race, are as follows (the asterisk means they also won the Kentucky Derby):
- 2020: Tiz the Law – $4.80 (favored, stalker)
- 2019: Maximum Security – $11.60 (speed)
- 2018: Audible – $5.20 (favored, mid-pack)
- 2017: Always Dreaming* – $7.40 (stalker)
- 2016: Nyquist* – $4.40 (speed)
- 2015: Materiality – $5.60 (stalker)
- 2014: Constitution – $8.60 (stalker)
- 2013: Orb* – $7.80 (mid-pack)
- 2012: Take Charge Indy – $17.40 (speed)
- 2011: Dialed In – $7.80 (closer)
- 2010: Ice Box – $43.40 (closer)
- 2009: Quality Road – $4.40 (stalker)
- 2008: Big Brown* – $5.00 (favored, speed)
- 2007: Scat Daddy – $6.40 (favored, mid-pack)
- 2006: Barbaro* – $5.20 (favored, stalker)
- 2005: High Fly – $4.40 (favored, stalker)
- 2004: Friends Lake – $76.80 (stalker)
- 2003: Empire Maker – $6.20 (stalker)
- 2002: Harlan’s Holiday – $5.40 (favored, mid-pack)
- 2001: Monarchos* – $4.80 (favored, closer)
- 2000: Hal’s Hope – $15.80 (speed)
As you can see, a lot of Florida Derby winners have been favored or low odds, but plenty is surprises as well. Pay attention to the race shape and whether there is a lone speed horse who could go gate to wire or lots of speed that sets the race up for a closer. Is there a stalker with a big middle move ready to pounce on speed horses who can’t go the distance? These are all things handicappers must consider when betting the Florida Derby.
Entries for the 2021 Florida Derby (G1) will be announced in the days leading up to the March 27, 2021 race. The field is usually large with entries from all over the country, as well as the best local sophomores.
Florida Derby History
The Florida Derby was originally run in mid-March (around March 15) so that horses would have one more prep race, either the first or second week of April, but has now moved to its spot on the calendar five weeks before the Kentucky Derby.
In 1957, speedy runner Gen. Duke ran the nine-furlong distance in world record time, 1:46.80.
The biggest Florida Derby favorites were Honest Pleasure and Spectacular Bid, who both won the race at 1-20. The biggest longshot winner of the Florida Derby was Williamstown Kid in 1966; he paid $183.00 for a win ticket.
Empire Maker, who ran second in the Kentucky Derby and then defeated Triple Crown hopeful Funny Cide in the 2003 Belmont Stakes before becoming the grandsire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, recorded the largest Florida Derby-winning margin, scoring by 9 3/4 lengths.
John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher both have five wins in the race, with three of those coming together (Audible, Always Dreaming, Materiality). Both Pletcher and Velazquez have won the Florida Derby four times in the last seven years. Pletcher’s five winners are Audible, Always Dreaming, Materiality, Constitution, and Scat Daddy. Constitution went on to sire Tiz the Law, winner of the 2020 Florida Derby. Tiz the Law would go on to take the 2020 Belmont Stakes in June and run second in the delayed Kentucky Derby in September.
1996 Florida Derby winner Unbridled’s Song sired numerous Breeders’ Cup winners and champions such as Unbridled Elaine and Unrivaled Belle. 2009 Florida Derby winner Quality Road is one of the best active stallions in the world as of 2020, with runners such as Pegasus World Cup standout City of Light, Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman, and Grade 1 winner Bellafina.
Thunder Gulch won the 1995 Florida Derby, followed by the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Travers Stakes. He went on to sire 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given. Racing Hall of Fame member Holy Bull started his rise to fame when he won the 1994 Florida Derby.
The most famous Florida Derby winner in modern times is Barbaro. The big bay horse was unbeaten going into the Florida Derby, which he won by just a half-length before taking the Kentucky Derby by 6 1/2 lengths. Barbaro was injured in the Preakness and famously lost his life half a year later after battling with laminitis.
Other famous Florida Derby winners include Spectacular Bid in 1979; he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Snow Chief, who won the 1986 Florida Derby, shipped in from California to take the race. Another California-based runner, Nyquist did it in 2016 as well before winning in Kentucky.
Florida Derby to the Kentucky Derby
How many Florida Derby winners have won the Kentucky Derby? 15 times the winner of the Florida Derby has gone on to take the Kentucky Derby, and it would be 16 if Maximum Security, who had crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby, hadn’t been disqualified for interference.
In addition, Scat Daddy won the 2007 Florida Derby and went on to produce the 2018 Kentucky Derby and ultimate Triple Crown winner Justify.
10 winners of the Florida Derby went on to win the Preakness Stakes (G1), while another six won the Belmont Stakes (G1), including 2020 Florida Derby hero Tiz the Law, who ran second in the Kentucky Derby. A handful of horses ran in the Florida Derby but didn’t win, then went on to score in the Kentucky Derby: Foolish Pleasure, Cannonade, Go for Gin, Strike the Gold, and Pleasant Colony. The Florida Derby has always been a fantastic barometer of Triple Crown success, and the 20 total horses that have won the Run for the Roses coming out of the Florida Derby just proves it!
Florida Derby Best Bets
When trying to pick the Florida Derby winner, look for expert picks that discuss the horses that can get the distance based on training and pedigree. Many of the horses will find nine furlongs too far, especially that early in the season. That is how winning the Florida Derby separates the proverbial men from boys.
Other information to use is past performance stats, history on the dirt surface, and top jockeys and trainers, as well as whether the track is fast or sloppy. Often in early spring, there can be rain that makes Gulfstream Park’s main track sloppy and wet, which can produce a different kind of winner than if the track was dry and “fair.”
Here are the bets available for the Florida Derby:
- Win: Bet on a horse to finish in first place Place:
- Bet on a horse to finish first or second
- Show: Bet on a horse to run first, second, or third.
- Exacta: Bet on two horses to finish first and second, in order.
- Trifecta: Bet on three horses to finish first, second, and third, in order.
- Superfecta: Bet on four horses to finish first, second, third, and fourth, in order.
- There are also boxes available for multi-horse wagers, meaning paying more for the base bet, and the horses
- selected can finish in any order.