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Superunknown
03-10-01, 10:07 PM
Did anyone see the Florida Derby earlier today? I watched it on the Web. I really liked the way Monarchos took command and pulled away from the field. It felt good to have a winning ticket for a change! Too bad he only paid $4.80. If he continues to run the way he ran today, that might be the longest price he ever pays!

http://www.drf2000.com/home/headline/headline.html

Devastating Monarchos By Mike Welsch

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Monarchos assumed undisputed leadership of the East Coast Kentucky Derby contingent with a convincing win in Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. His devastating run carried him from near the back of the bulky 13-horse field to a 4 1/2-length victory over Outofthebox.

Ridden confidently by Jorge Chavez, Monarchos had only two horses beat after the opening half-mile of the 1 1/8-mile Derby. But once Chavez asked Monarchos to pick up the pace leaving the five-furlong pole, he readily began passing rivals. Despite losing considerable ground into the stretch, he easily overtook the tiring leaders before pulling away to his third consecutive one-sided victory here this winter.

Outofthebox, reserved in midpack, finished with good energy but proved no match for the winner. He finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of Invisible Ink, who was blocked behind a tiring City Zip around the second bend. Dream Run finished fourth. Songandaprayer, the Fountain of Youth winner, was hung out wide the entire trip and finished a tiring fifth.

Monarchos, a son of Maria's Mon and Regal Band, is owned by John Oxley and trained by John Ward. He ran coupled in the wagering with Invisible Ink, the entry paying $4.80. Oxley owns a 24 percent share in Invisible Ink.

Monarchos completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.95 over a fast track. The race handle $5,180,004 was a record for the Florida Derby.

"I think his performance probably exceeded my expectations," said Ward. "I always said he was like a bulldog and he showed it when he came around horses at the top of the stretch, collared them, and drew away like he did."

Ward said Monarchos's effort also gives him a lot to build on.

"He was a little tired when he pulled up and appeared a bit fatigued in behind, but he still finished up strong, which is what you like to see in a young horse," said Ward. "He should have gotten a lot out of the race."

Ward said if all goes well, Monarchos will make his next start in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 14.

"I won't look to do much with him between now and his next race," said Ward. "I don't want him too overly prepared. The main goal is still the Kentucky Derby."

Assistant trainer Steve Flint was pleased with the effort of Outofthebox who also finished second in the Fountain of Youth.

"I'm very happy," said Flint. "[Outofthebox] ran his race and dug in for second. "Monarchos ran a fantastic race. "I don't see our plans changing from here. We plan to move on and go to the Flamingo next. We're fine."

"I thought he ran a game race," said John Dowd, trainer of Songandaprayer. "I wish things could have set up differently. I didn't want to be there [five wide]."