Hades, Fierceness Tune Up For Curlin Florida Derby

Hades | Ryan Thompson

D J Stable and Robert Cotran's GIII Holy Bull S. winner Hades (Awesome Slew) worked a half-mile in an easy :50.21 over the Gulfstream Park main track Friday morning, his final serious gallop ahead of next Saturday's $1-million GI Curlin Florida Derby.

A perfect three-for-three in his career, Hades was scheduled to breeze Saturday, but forecast heavy rains led trainer Joe Orseno to call an audible and work the gelding 24 hours earlier.

“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.”

Eclipse Award-winning 'TDN Rising Star' Fierceness (City of Light) will try to atone for his third-place effort in the Holy Bull when he lines up next weekend, and the Todd Pletcher trainee went four furlongs in :47.43 at Palm Beach Downs Friday morning. He galloped out an extra eighth of a mile in 1:00.63. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez was in the irons for the move.

“It went very well, he looked great,” Pletcher commented.

Trainer Gustavo Delgado took to X Friday afternoon to report that Victory Avenue (Arrogate), a big-figure runner-up on his lone racetrack appearance Jan. 27, would be passing the Florida Derby.

“For clarity, we have decided not to pursue a Florida Derby entry with Victory Avenue,” Delgado posted. “Being a very talented son of Arrogate, at this moment we feel that time and patience to let him grow up physically + mentally is the best plan. Plenty of goals for him to achieve down the line.”

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