Stakes: Grade I for 3-year-old thoroughbreds
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Date: March 30, 13
Post Time:6 p.m. ET
Type: Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep
Age: 3 Years Old
Coverage: NBC Sports Network
The Florida Derby Stakes, held annually at Gulfstream Park, is one of the preparatory races for 3-year-olds gunning for the Kentucky Derby race. But the Florida Derby remains one of the most anticipated prep races having sent 19 victories to Churchill Downs throughout the race's history.
The Florida Derby is a Grade I race for top 3-year-old thoroughbred horses in America, 9-furlong (1.1/8 miles) run and a $1 million purse up for grabs. It debuted at Gulfstream Park in 1952, in time with the race track's expansion. The next year the derby purse was raised to $100,000 making it the first stakes event so richly endowed in the Sunshine State.
It was in 1957, in a historic race where Gen. Duke equaled the world record 1:46.80 and defeating Bold Ruler, that the Florida Derby was established as a major stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown trail.
The race continued to rise in popularity over the next years, along with it the significant increase in the race's purse. Standing at $1 million today, the Florida Derby is still one of the richest horse racing stakes.