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Mohaymen Battles Nyquist in Florida Derby

Horseplayers will get an early preview of this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) on Saturday, with the top two betting choices for this year’s Run for the Roses squaring off in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1).

Mohaymen is the early betting choice at Bovada for the Kentucky Derby at 4-1 and was installed as the 1-1 morning line favorite for the Florida Derby.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the colt has won all five of his career starts including the Holy Bull (G2) and Fountain of Youth (G2) over the Gulfstream Park main track. The colt is third in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points standings with 70. The Florida Derby offers up 100-40-20-10 points toward entry into the Run for the Roses.

Mohaymen has enough points to assure a starting spot and will get the toughest test of his career facing off with the undefeated Nyquist, who is the 6-5 second choice on the morning line and the second wagering choice in early Kentucky Derby betting at Bovada at 8-1.

The colt capped off his 2015 campaign by winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and earning the Eclipse Award for top juvenile. He won the seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita in his first start of 2016.

Based in Southern California with trainer Doug O’Neill, they are bypassing the Santa Anita Derby (G1) to ship to Florida, and as a sales graduate of the Fasig-Tipton auction is eligible for a $1 million bonus if the colt wins the Florida Derby.

Based on the odds, it certainly looks like a match race between the two. Next on the morning line is Fellowship at 15-1. The colt ran third behind Mohaymen in both the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth, beaten a combined 12 ¼ lengths.

The $500,000 Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park on Saturday is also a Derby points race, with 50-20-10-5 points up for grabs. The race drew a full field of 12 along with a couple of also-eligibles.

The Mark Casse trained Airoforce is looking to rebound off a 10th place finish in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds in his last outing. The colt won the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last November and was beaten just a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). This will be his first start on polytrack.

Airoforce is currently listed at 50-1 in early Derby betting at Bovada.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey provides his full card analysis for Gulfstream Park daily and selections for all the major Kentucky Derby prep races at turfnsport.com.

Here's the current odds for the race:

2016 Florida Derby - Odds to Win

Odds as of April 2 at Bovada

  • Mohaymen 1/1
  • Nyquist 6/5
  • Fellowship 15/1
  • Takeittotheedge 20/1
  • Majesto 20/1
  • Sawyers Mickey 30/1
  • Chovanes 30/1
  • Fashionable Freddy 30/1
  • Isofass 30/1
  • Copingaway 50/1

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