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Bobby To Answer Derby Distance Riddle
Questions remain about whether last season's Champion 2YO Shanghai Bobby (Harlan's Holiday-Steelin', by Orientate) will be able to stay the distance of the Gr1 Kentucky Derby, but these questions should be answered for the Coolmore part-owned colt when he runs in the Gr1 Florida Derby on Saturday. Trainer Todd Pletcher told bloodhorse.com on Tuesday: "I thought his Holy Bull was a really good race. He was well clear of the third horse [Clearly Now], who came back and won the Swale. Itsmyluckyday was a little better than him that day. [I'm] hoping now that we've had a race and a good training schedule since then, we can turn the tables, but it's going to be hard to do. Itsmyluckyday's two races at Gulfstream have been powerful. Orb seems to be an improving horse all the time. It's not an easy race." With the new points qualifying system for the Kentucky Derby, Shanghai Bobby is not guaranteed entry to the race (even though in previous years, being Champion 2YO would have been enough). Instead, he will have to add to his total of 24 qualifying points. The Florida Derby offers 100 points to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 for third, and 10 for fourth. "I think this race will tell us a lot about how he's continued to develop," Pletcher said. "He needs to run well; he needs to get some points. If he's able to do that, we'll move on to the next stop. This is his first time at a mile and an eighth against a couple of really good horses. It's a test for him, a test for them, too."