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Mar 19, 2010

Florida Derby wide open with 11 starters



Hallandale Beach, FL (Sports Network) - A field of 11 three-year-olds has been entered for Saturday's $750,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/8- mile race is historically a major stepping stone on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

In 2009, Quality Road won Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth Stakes, and last month he came back to win the Donn Handicap.

Eskendereya, winner of this year's Fountain of Youth Stakes, will skip the Florida Derby for the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 3.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will instead start highly regarded Rule in the race. The colt has won his last four starts, including the Sam F. Davis Stakes last month at Tampa Bay Downs.

For the Florida Derby, Rule will start from post seven with John Velazquez again in the saddle. Rule is owned by WinStar Farm and has career earnings of $716,700 in six starts with four wins.

A horse that will bring back a lot of memories is Lentenor, a full-brother to 2006 Florida and Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. Lentenor is also owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson and trained by Mike Matz.

Lentenor has drawn post two with Alan Garcia riding. The colt will be making his stakes debut on Saturday. In four career starts, he has one win, two seconds and a third for $42,200.

Pleasant Prince, fourth in the Fountain of Youth, will break from post four with Eclipse Award winner Julien Leparoux back to ride. The chestnut colt is trained by Wesley Ward for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

In the Fountain of Youth, Pleasant Prince came from ninth to hit the board, more than 10-lengths behind the winner. The colt has earned $47,620 with one win in six starts.

Here is the complete field for the 59th Florida Derby in post position order: Soaring Empire, Eddie Castro; Lentenor, Alan Garcia; Pulsion, Corey Nakatani; Pleasant Prince, Julien Leparoux; Game On Dude, Jeremy Rose; First Dude, Ramon Dominguez; Rule, John Velazquez; Ice Box, Jose Lezcano; Miner's Reserve, Kent Desormeaux; Best Actor Javier Castellano and Radiohead, Edgar Prado.

Post-time for the Florida Derby is scheduled for 6:20 p.m. (et).

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