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Godolphin's American Triple Crown nominee MENDIP (Harlan's Holiday), who romped in the March 4 Al Bastakiya at Meydan, will try to take another step forward in Saturday's $2 million U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) at the same Dubai track. To do so, the Saeed bin Suroor trainee must overcome South African champion MUSIR (Redoute's Choice), a four-year-old by Northern Hemisphere reckoning.
If the Todd Pletcher-trained DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft) makes it to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, he will enter the Kentucky Derby (G1) well versed in the ways of negotiating large fields. The bay defeated 11 rivals when notching his first stakes win in the February 20 Risen Star S. (G2), and will be asked to outrun 12 in Saturday's $750,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) over the same Fair Grounds track.
FLORIDA / ZITO BACK IN DERBY PICTURE AS LONGSHOT ICEBOX RALLIES TO WIN FLORIDA DERBY – Robert LaPenta’s Ice Box, regarded as the lesser of the owner’s pair of Nick Zito-trained entrants in Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (Grade I), rallied from last place under jockey Jose Lezcano to edge fellow outsider Pleasant Prince by a nose in Gulfstream Park’s major prep for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
FLORIDA / PLETCHER’S DEVIL MAY CARE REBOUNDS IN BONNIE MISS – A pair of disappointing runs had sent Glencrest Farm’s Devil May Care tumbling from the roster of 3-year-old fillies considered major contenders for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), but a rebound win in Saturday’s $200,000 Bonnie Miss (GII) at Gulfstream Park has lifted her back to the top of the list of potential Oaks favorites.
Silverbulletday S. (G3) winner JODY SLEW (Slew City Slew), who was considered unlikely for Friday's $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) Saturday morning due to days of missed training after being cast in her stall last week, was doing much better Sunday morning during training hours and was entered in Friday's main event for three-year-old fillies.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner VALE OF YORK (Ire) (Invincible Spirit) has been ruled out of Saturday's U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) at Meydan because of a bout with colic, Godolphin announced Sunday.
"Unfortunately Vale of York has suffered from colic and will not be able to run in the U.A.E. Derby at Meydan," Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, revealed on godolphin.com.
"We hope that Vale of York makes a full recovery soon, but obviously right now, all future plans are on hold for him."
Paul Pompa Jr.'s D' FUNNYBONE (D'wildcat) turned in another impressive performance in Saturday's $150,000 Swale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, winning easily by 1 1/4 lengths and confirming his status as the country's leading three-year-old sprinter. With Edgar Prado sitting chilly most of the way, the Richard Dutrow-trained colt pressed an opening quarter-mile in :22 1/5 before moving to the lead.
Aided by a stronger pace than in his last start, the Fountain of the Youth S. (G2), and the absence of that race's dominating winner Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway), Robert LaPenta's deep-closing ICE BOX (Pulpit) took full advantage in a wide-open renewal of the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
Glencrest Farm LLC's DEVIL MAY CARE (Malibu Moon) returned to the winner's circle on Saturday with an emphatic, but green, victory in the $200,000 Bonnie Miss S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park. It was iffy for a moment in midstretch whether or not jockey John Velazquez would stay in the saddle as Devil May Care suddenly veered toward the rail, but there was no question about who was best in the nine-furlong test.