HomeHorse RacingFlorida Derby and Arkansas Derby Best Bets - March 30

    Florida Derby and Arkansas Derby Best Bets – March 30

    Veteran handicapper Mike Somich offers his Arkansas Derby and Florida Derby best bets for Saturday, March 30.

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    Florida Derby and Arkansas Derby Best Bets

    The race to the Kentucky Derby rolls on with two major stakes days from both Oaklawn Park and Gulfstream Park. While the Arkansas Derby and the Florida Derby will get the spotlight, and the write-ups here, both undercards feature better betting opportunities than the feature races. I’ll highlight a few that I like below in the spot plays, but make sure to catch all the stakes action from both tracks!

    Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park, Race #14

    To Fierceness or not to Fierceness, that is the question. And it’s a darn good one. The favorite, #10 Fierceness entered 2024 as the favorite for the run for the roses, but he threw in a clunker in his seasonal debut. He has now run two very good races, including romping at the Breeders’ Cup, and two very bad races. He’s 8-5 on the morning line, and that’s a fair price on him in this field, but I have no idea what he will break from the gate at. You cannot trust him at anything sub 6-5. He has two main rivals here, one that I like and one that I do not.

     

    Let’s start with #2 Hades, who defeated Fierceness on the front end in the Fountain of Youth. That pace was non-existent, going :50 to the half, and was a huge benefit to Hades. While there is more speed signed on today, it still should not be too hot up front. My main issue with Hades is the price. He was 10-1 when winning the Fountain of Youth with no other pace signed on and a weaker field. Today he’s 7-2. I missed the wedding, so I do not plan on attending the funeral here.

    #9 Conquest Warrior will jump up to face stakes company for the first time. His numbers are not as good as others in here, but the last race passed the eye test, and he was never fully asked to romp at today’s distance.

    My favorite longshot here is #7 Catalytic underneath at a big number. He was clearly pointed for this race off a six-furlong prep and should love the added distance.

    Picks: 10-9-3-7

    Florida Derby Best Bets:

    $10 Trifecta – 10 / 3,9 / 3,7,9

    $2 Superfecta – 10 / 3,7,9 / 3,7,9 / 3,7,9

    Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn Park, Race #12

    When Bob Baffert ships to Oaklawn Park watch out. He is doing just that with morning line favorite #7 Muth, who was last seen romping at Santa Anita after running second to Fierceness in the Breeders’ Cup. He was projected to be the best horse in the class during his 2-year-old campaign and started the year off right. The fact Baffert sent him here instead of staying at home for the Santa Anita Derby also tips his hand here.

    #2 Timberlake beat me in the Rebel last time out, but I still have serious distance concerns with this horse. If he wins today, I may have to reconsider some of those, but at the price, I just do not see him offering much value in this spot.

    #9 Mystik Dan romped impressively in the Southwest last time out at 11-1, catching a very nice trip up the rail. He is a much shorter price today, 5-2 on the morning line, but a repeat of that race will be tough to beat. He also projects to get a very nice trip again today with enough pace to chase and mow down late.

    The longshot I have my eye on is the #5 Liberal Arts who ran third behind Mystik Dan in the Southwest. That was his first race since October, and he faced traffic issues at multiple points during the race. With a better trip and improvement second off the layoff, he has a good chance to outrun his 15-1 morning line.

    Picks: 7-9-5-2

    Arkansas Derby Best Bets:

    $25 Exacta – 7 / 5,9

    Spot plays:

    Gulfstream Park Race #10 – $50 Daily Double 6 / 6

    Gulfstream Park Race #12 – $25 Exacta 8 / 7,9

    Oaklawn Park Race #11 – $50 Win #1

    Mike Somich
    Mike Somich
    Mike Somich is the host of the Handle on weekends for VSiN. He brings over 20 years of gambling experience including playing poker professionally, multiple $75,000 horse racing tournament scores and years of betting sports. He currently focuses on the NFL, NHL and College Basketball.

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