Fierceness Demolition Job in Florida Derby

Following Fierceness' remarkable record-setting victory in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, those hesitant to rejoin the bandwagon after his disappointing third-place finish in the Grade 3 Holy Bull might struggle to find space. Fierceness, the reigning juvenile champion, dominated with a staggering 13 3/4-length win, marking the largest winning margin in the event's 73-year history, surpassing Empire Maker's 2003 record of 9 3/4 lengths. Trainer Todd Pletcher secured his eighth Florida Derby win, while jockey John Velazquez clinched his sixth.

Fierceness entered the race with two impressive wins, including a commanding victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but faced setbacks, notably a distant defeat in the Grade 1 Champagne. Despite uncertainties, Fierceness delivered a commanding performance, leading from the start and extending his lead effortlessly. Catalytic, with limited experience, secured second place, followed by Grand Mo the First and a disappointing Conquest Warrior.

Hades, previously undefeated, failed to make an impact, finishing fifth. Fierceness' victory earned him 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, with Catalytic and Grand Mo the First also likely securing spots. Owner Mike Repole celebrated his second consecutive Florida Derby win.

Clocking 1:48.22 over 1 1/8 miles, Fierceness impressed trainer Pletcher, who attributed previous setbacks to minor issues. Pletcher expressed confidence in Fierceness' performance, echoing Velazquez's belief in the horse's potential. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. praised Fierceness while looking ahead to the Derby for Catalytic. Meanwhile, trainer Joe Orseno expressed disappointment with Hades' performance, citing a poor start and traffic issues.

The Florida Derby affirmed Fierceness' talent and reignited hopes for a successful Derby campaign. 

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