HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Adore the Gold is ready to be adored.
Trainer Michael Gorham said the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred sired by Formal Gold is ready to take on the favorites one more time today in the Grade I, $1 million Florida Derby.
Gorham's colt faced Scat Daddy, Stormello and Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Fountain of Youth Stakes earlier this month and was beaten by just one length, despite an outside post and a tiring trip.
"I think he'll run big," said Gorham, who keeps a dozen horses at Laurel Park and is a familiar name to Maryland horsemen. "He's training well and he was all full of himself [yesterday] morning. He was happy on track, bucking and training and wanting to do more. That's always a good sign."
Adore the Gold will start in post No. 4, with the morning-line favorites, Scat Daddy, inside of him in post No. 3, and Stormello, on the outside in post No. 5, in this important prep race for horses building their resumes for the Kentucky Derby on May 5.
The race will be broadcast on HRTV, simulcast at area racetracks and also streamed on NBCSports.com for broadband users from 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
"I don't think Scat Daddy will be going from the start and I don't think we'll have to use our horse at all before the turn," said Gorham, who will have Gulfstream Park's leading jockey, Cornelio Velasquez, riding. Velasquez rode Adore the Gold to victory in the Grade II Swale Stakes on Feb. 3.
In the Fountain of Youth, jockey Edgar Prado, who will ride Scat Daddy today because trainer Todd Pletcher's usual jockey is in Dubai for the $6 million World Cup, had to use Adore the Gold early, breaking from the No. 9 post, to get position on Stormello, who broke fast to the front. As the horses approached the finish of the 1 1/8 -mile test, Adore the Gold got a bit tired.
"But he hung in over the last one-sixteenth of a mile, and Edgar said he still thought he could have won," Gorham said. "It was a competitive race and the difference was a length to the three top candidates for the Kentucky Derby. He fits in.
"He's the best 3-year-old I've ever had and you know a 3-year-old's development can change overnight. My horse is a May 30 foal who is still growing and developing and getting bigger, stronger and more aggressive all the time."
Adore the Gold's development has had only one blip, and that was in the Grade III Nashua on Nov. 3 in New York, where he didn't like the Aqueduct racing surface and came home fifth under jockey Joe Rocco Sr. But a month later, with Rocco again onboard, Gorham ran him in the H. Steward Mitchell Stakes at Laurel Park, and he won by four lengths.
"The Mitchell Stakes was a good step to get him back in form," said Gorham, who enjoys running his horses at the Maryland tracks, where he has been among the area's top 25 trainers for the past several years.
And when Rocco finished that race, the veteran rider who has more than 3,800 wins couldn't help gushing, "This colt is the best young colt I've ever sat on."
Notes -- Maryland trainer Michael Trombetta will run Street Magician, a chestnut colt by Street Cry, in the Aventura, a $175.000, 7-furlong race for 3-year-olds, this afternoon at Gulfstream. ... ABC will broadcast the Dubai World Cup from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., featuring the showdown between Horse of the Year Invasor and undefeated Discreet Cat.