Hades Preps for March 30 Florida Derby
Saturday, March 23, 2024

    HALLANDALE BEACH - D. J. Stable and Robert Cotran’s Hades, who captured the Feb. 3 Holy Bull (G3) breezed a half-mile in 50.21 seconds Friday morning in preparation for a return to action in the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa March 30 at Gulfstream Park.

    Due to forecasts for heavy rain Friday and Saturday, trainer Joe Orseno opted to breeze Hades a day earlier than scheduled – a workout that was completed on Gulfstream’s fast main track.

    The 3-year-old gelded son of Awesome Slew will enter the Florida Derby undefeated in three starts. After rallying from far back to graduate at 5 ½ furlongs, Hades shook off heavy pressure in a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance before drawing off to victory by six lengths. In the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull Feb. 3, the Florida-bred gelding took control right from the start to set a pressured pace before again drawing off to win by two lengths.

    “He has exceeded my expectations,” Orseno said, “even with today’s last breeze going into the Florida Derby. “He did everything perfect. He just handles himself very professional. He gets things easily where other horses struggle.”

    At Palm Beach Downs, Repole Stable’s Fierceness, who finished a troubled third as the 1-5 favorite in the Holy Bull, breezed a half-mile in 47.43 seconds over a fast track at Palm Beach Downs Friday morning. After working in company with Be You, a Grade 1-placed Repole stablemate who is coming off an optional claiming allowance win, Fierceness galloped out five-furlongs in 1:00.63 under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. “It went very well,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He looked great.”

    Fierceness was voted 2023 Eclipse Award 2-year-old male champion after winning the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita by 6 ¼ lengths, rebounding from a disappointing performance in the Champagne (G1) at Aqueduct in his prior start.

    Notes: Frank DeLuca’s Frankie’s Empire, who finished third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) after winning the Swale (G3), breezed a half-mile in 48.02 seconds at Gulfstream Friday morning. The son of Classic Empire worked in company with Stonehedge LLC’s Davona Dale (G2) winner Fiona’s Magic, a leading prospect for the March 30 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) who was timed in 48.12. Both 3-year-olds are trained by Michael Yates.

Jockey Jose Ortiz has been confirmed to ride Conquest Warrior in the Florida Derby after riding the Shug McGaughey-trained colt to back-to-back wins during the Championship Meet… Edwin Gonzalez will return aboard Fountain of Youth and Swale runner-up Le Dom Bro for trainer Eniel Cordero in the Florida Derby. Le Dom Bro breezed a half-mile in 49.45 at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County Friday morning… Emisael Jaramillo has the mount on Victor Barboza Jr.-trained Grand Mo the First, who lost by a neck while finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).

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