A trio of new challengers have set their sights on Gulfstream’s GI Floriday Derby Apr. 2, which features the highly anticipated match up of the undefeated Mohaymen (Tapit) and the also unbeaten champion Nyquist (Uncle Mo).
Ron Paolucci’s Looch Racing Stables’ will be represented by both Ifyousnoozeyoulose (Wilburn) and Sawyers Mickey (Flatter). Sawyers Mickey, who has previously been trained by Tom Amoss, will be saddled by Ifyousnoozeyoulose’s Florida-based conditioner Peter Walder.
“He’s really passionate,” said Walder. “He believes in not only his horses but his trainers. A lot of times he picks out some spots that seem like you’re really up against it but he’s going to get lucky. He’s gotten lucky before. The guy spends money. There’s no reason to think it’s not going to happen again. I don’t know whether it’s going to happen that day against those two horses, but the fact is third place gives you $100,000.”
Paolucci claimed Ifyousnoozeyoulose from Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker for $40,000 out of his 4 1/4-length graduation in Hallandale at fifth asking Feb. 4. The bay finished last after being bumped into the rail and forced to check sharply in a starter optional claimer at Gulfstream last time Feb. 26.
“[The Feb. 26 race] was a disaster,” Walder commented. “He got slammed and never got a chance to run. His maiden race was very impressive. Ron is higher on the maiden. He absolutely loves that horse. He’s run against some nice horses and Amoss likes him as well, but he’s still a maiden.”
The Ohio-bred Sawyers Mickey is still a maiden after seven starts, most recently finishing third in the John Battaglia Memorial S. over the Turfway synthetic Mar. 12.
The other addition to the list of Florida Derby probables is Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Majesto (Tiznow). The Gustavo Delgado pupil earned his diploma at fifth asking in a 1 1/16-mile test in Hallandale Feb. 27.
“I know that the two big horses are very, very, very strong. To finish third would be very good for me,” Delgado said. “It looks like only six or seven horses will be in the race. Racing is racing, and anything can happen”