Benny Southstreet’s Florida Derby Day Trip Notes

Something else you don’t know about Benny Southstreet. He’s very superstitious. This isn’t uncommon when it comes to gamblers, but is a little odd for someone as calculating and well-reasoned as Benny. One of his many — let’s call them issues — concerns a certain number. If I type the number in the piece he’ll get mad at me and sulk and withhold trips so I’ll just refer to it as the number between 12 and 14. One night in The Parting Glass he told me the truth after a few two many Dirty Shirley Temples (Benny’s drink of choice; it’s a regular Shirley Temple, spiked with a shot of bonded rye). It was his birthday, the one between 12 and 14. His loved ones threw him a party at Chuck E Cheese’s (bad enough, right?) but earlier that day he was skateboarding and face planted knocking out a few teeth leaving him mildly concussed. So he spent a certain birthday at Chuck E. Cheese’s unable to eat pizza and feeling too frazzled to jump in the ball pit. And that’s why there are no trip notes for the Pan American. But he did the rest of the Pick Six so there’s that. Benny, go on with your bad self.

Florida Derby Day – most of the Pick 6 races

Race 9


2-6-19: Away well.  Clean. Entered first turn contesting lead in 2 path while on hold. Pace was on slower side throughout despite the field being strung out. Big edge to speed. 1-2-3-4 early finished 1st– 3rd-2nd-4th. Gained slight lead leaving first turn all the way down the backstretch. Was head and head for lead entering far turn and through turn while still in 2 path. Late in the far turn the other speed horse kicked away from this one. Winner was 2-1 second choice from Pletcher barn & place horse was 8-5* from Chad Brown barn.

Mayan Ghost

12-16-18: Was 10-1 M/L and get bet. Away just a touch slow. Clean. Pace seemed slow early and then picked up after clear leader was contested by the outside post & favorite. This one found a decent enough spot early while in 2-3 path through first turn. Plenty of open air for this down backstretch. Was 3 wide entering and through the far turn. Asked midway in turn and deeper marker and eventual winner went by this one’s outside. Grinded evenly through the stretch. Not a terrible run from this 2YO while going long in only start. Would expect improvement.

Freedom’s Flight

2-10-19: First time blinkers. Away touch slow and banged around from inside foe into outside foe. Took off while keen from near back & a touch keen early. Was 5-4-3 wide through first turn. Pace was very fast. Leaving first turn he found a great spot. 4 foes were mixing it up ahead of him and he relaxed with a few lengths of open air in front. Earned the good spot but at a cost.  Probably had to go nearly as fast as early leaders to get there. Began moving in entering the far turn. At rail. Found seam to ease out late in the turn & eased to 3 path. Professional stretch and only beaten by 2 deep closers who had a great trip in consideration of this pace. Gallop out was very, very strong.

Social Paranoia

9-29-18: Outside of a 70-1 and 60-1 shot, speed did very well in this race. Away fine. Clean. Some nibbling early for speed. Found a decent enough spot early while in the 2-3 path down backstretch. Was in hand early in the far turn and then 2 outside foes blasted off to this one’s outside. Jock went from being in hand to all out ask to hold his spot and push those ones wide. Success – this was a nice turn of foot to hold that spot, but now he was in all out spring for home very early in the race. Tried hard the rest of the way and certainly not disgraced at all considering a MDN racing against G3 foes.  This was a very good race.

Bad Boy

3-3-19: Away quick but inward. Didn’t hurt this one at all. Absolute dream spot early with hooked leaders several clear and this one finding the rail through the first turn. Pace backed up the 2nd quarter and this one on a good hold. Loose pocket 3rd down backstretch in dream spot. On hold entering far turn while at rail. Continued at rail through turn and eased to the 2 path late in the turn to engage leader. Clear shot in lane & couldn’t get by leader. Seemed a bit green in the lane & even looked like he saw the whip from the leader and refused to run by him b.c of it – but no matter – you just couldn’t have a better turf trip. Pass for me.

Game Day Decision:

2-24-18: Chad Brown horse runs 3rd at 3-5*. Away fine. Clean Keen early and stuck 3 wide while contesting. Awful spot and rails at 0 feet makes it much worse. Favorite at rail and leading, this one earned a clear stalk by the early point of the backstretch. Paced seemed to back off a bit on the 2nd quarter. Was 2-3 wide through 2nd turn while taking a shot at the leader, but couldn’t get by. Tired stretch run and not switching leads. This wasn’t a bad run b.c the 1st quarter mile was a mess for this one and I’m sure he needed the race. Should improve.

Tiberius Mercurius

2-16-19: Away OK. Clean. Made lead and rail on a dawdle. Entire field separated by 5-6 lengths after ¼. Didn’t corner well and ceded lead to his stalker midway in the first turn. Entering backstretch was now on the outside and in a clear stalking spot. Leader was also a bomb. Going well enough entire backstretch. Asked late in turn as eventual winner was lapping onto this one while 3 wide, but unable to with him. Was ridden through the stretch with no resistance to the back markers. Normally I’d say, “Yuck,” but this was a first timer who may have bled given that he’s slated for Lasix, so who knows. Winner of this race was 9-5 second choice that beat 4-5* Chad Brown trainee.

Clear Blue Sky

3-7-19: Away fine. Clean. To lead and rank. Was unhappy despite making lead and didn’t listen to rider for over 3/8 of a mile. Finally settled down the backstretch. Nibbled through the turn and a nice kick at the top of the stretch.  Surprising.  Backed into the eventual leader late – but this was the only speed to stay on and he did it while being rank throughout.  Good effort – just not sure what was in here.  Wish he was taking blinkers off.

Race 10


3-7-19: Away well. Clean. On hold entering the first turn. Found a good spot in the clear through 1st turn. Pace was slow and validated by 1-2-3-4-5 early finishing 4th-2nd-3rd-1st-5th. Relaxed most the race and then some ask early in the far turn. 2-3+ wide late in the turn. Clear shot in lane but this was a merry go round with nobody making up any ground in the stretch. Winner was 8-5* that was hammered at the windows.

Fire Key

3-2-19: Chad Brown trainee wins at 1-2*. Away fine. Clean. Not the best spot through the 1st turn while in between and in 2-3 path. Pace was and the faster side and field was strung out. Entering the backstretch was still in between. Still not in a good spot entering and most of the far turn. Asked and responded through the turn while 3 wide. Clear shot in lane but not good enough. Pros and cons out of this one. Pace was a help but so much in between – this one gets a pass.

Mrs. Ramona G.

1-19-19: Away fine. Clean. Good trip early, getting to the 2 path and several ling up in front of her entering the first turn. Allowed to relax while field picked up the pace out of the first turn. Good spot down backstretch and plenty of open air. Making up ground entering far turn while in 2 path. Eased to 3 path midway in turn and hard ask. Spun to 4 path late in turn and into drive. Even stretch while coughing up the place spot. This was a pretty good trip with no visible trouble. Winner was 1-1* favorite that broke from the 13 hole and galloped out 12 miles in front.


12-29-19: Away fine and then a mild bump. Meant nothing. Tracked lone speed early while in the 2 path. Earned a clear stalking spot through 1st turn. Good enough spot down the backstretch. Not asked until midway in far turn while saving pretty good ground. Clear shot throughout & no trouble to speak of.


3-2-19: Away best. Clean. Good spot into & through the entire 1st turn. Pace on the faster side. Allowed to settle at rail entire backstretch. 6-7 back at midway point of the far turn….then asked and huge run at the rail, making up ground quickly. Up for lead by the top of the stretch and firing a big shot. Switched leads late in stretch & backed into the favored winner late.  Feel like this one was asked to sprint for too long.

Too Charming

12-29-19: Away well. Clean. To lead & made rail easily into first turn. A bit keen early. Clear & uncontested down backstretch. Pace was honest. Maintained a measured lead through the far turn while in hand jock peeking around for competition – clearly wanting to save. Ridden at top of the stretch and spurted away. Was getting tired late with several closing in – but she got there.

Andina Del Sur

1-26-19: Ignoring yielding turf.

12-29-18: Away below average. Was last from the gate and recovered quick. Up to an in between position and in tight entering first turn. Had to suck out of that spot. Didn’t find anything better through the turn – in between throughout turn and on hold in a bad spot. BTW the entire backstretch. Still BTW through the turn, then finally out midway in far turn, moving 3-4 wide late in turn. Clear shot in lane.  Gaining. Ran out of time and definitely better than the winner.

Proctor’s Ledge

10-13-18: Ignoring due to layoff but note that Chad Brown had 3 in here with best runner finishing 3rd.

8-25-18: Ignoring due to layoff but note that Chad Brown had 3 in here also.  Had winner, 4th and 5th place finishers.

Race 11

Green Mansions

3-3-19: Away well. Clean. Pace was fast early & validated by a last to first winner. The results of the entire race were almost a perfect inverse of the early speed.  This this one found a pretty good spot after ¼, albeit a touch wide, down the backstretch and entering the far turn. Asked midway in turn and making up ground while grinding 4 wide. Clear shot in the lane and tried hard throughout. Gallop out was poor.  Have to say that overall this one had a good trip. Chad Brown runs second at 4-5*.


3-3-19: Away a bit awkward but not a big deal. Pace was fast early & validated by a last to first winner. The results of the entire race were almost a perfect inverse of the early speed. Traveled in hand near a fast pace while 4-5 wide down the backstretch. Moving well into far turn while 4 wide. Asked midway in turn while 3-4 wide and surprisingly didn’t have much. Clear shot in the lane and outrun to the wire by a host of back markers. Will say this – despite getting outfinished, this one had the best gallop out and likely needed the race anyway. Interesting.

The Gospel of John

12-26-19: Away with a mild bump. No big deal. Earned a clear stalking spot while outside of a bomb that carved out a slightly quicker than normal pace. On hold entering the far turn and eager to take off. Paco looking around like he was riding Justify. Spurted clear when asked, but did get a bit tired late. Visually a big filly – but not sure why she’s trying the boys and plenty of other speed in here.  Will need huge move up.

Fast Pass

3-3-19: Away fine. Clean. Allowed to settle near the back early. Found ground saving trip through the turn and moving in. Great trip continued with ease out in the lane and found a seam, only to barely claim 3rd. Despite all the heat signed up, this one will not be getting any of my money.


1-19-19: Chad Brown trainee runs 2nd at 3-5*.  Away fine. Clean. Took off early to clear easily. Wow. Pace was very fast. Clear and really rolling into & through the far turn. Top 3 were about 7-8 clear of the rest with 3/16 to go. Despite being past early in the stretch by a good one, Articulator didn’t pack it in – all while never switching leads.  Given the pace, this one had a poor trip and can really run.

So Long Chuck

3-9-19: Away OK. Pace fast early. Earned clear stalk down backstretch with runoff leader. Easily gaining on that leader in turn. Up for lead and good kick at top of stretch, but couldn’t hold off 3-5* or perfect tripper up the rail.  This was a very good race considering the pace.


3-3-19: Away OK and then bumped outside foe. Not good & lost some momentum. Fearful of losing positions, jock immediately asked for run and pushed through an in between spot early. Got to the 2nd position but then beaten to the stalk and had to wait at rail behind a 70-1 leader that was going fast, validated by a last to first winner. Was going well enough while in behind late in the turn. Forced to cut to the rail at the top of the stretch, but had a foe on his outside for the entire lane. Tried through the lane and could have easily packed it in.  Another one that had a very good gallop out, and like Gleason, likely needed the race.

Race 12


1-13-19: Away fine. Clean. Ridden for speed and cleared early. Saved ground through 1st turn and perfect lone speed trip. Single file and no movement. On hold and ears forward, listening for cues. Not asked until late in turn and spurted away nicely. Great trip and solid run. Ears forward on gallop out. More here.

Space Mountain

2-22-19: Rails at 0 feet helped speed a bit and winner came back to score again on Friday. Away well. Clean. Allowed to settle in the back and saved ground throughout first down and down backstretch. Pace seemed honest. Still at rail through far turn and through lane. Seemed a bit shy at rail in stretch, but wasn’t enough to give a pass. Eh.  Maker will have to move this one up.

Black Sea

3-10-19: Away OK. Awkward spot for the first 1/8 while in between most of it and on hold. Pace was slow early and race turned into a sprint for home at the midway point of the far turn – closers had no shot. Finally made rail by midway of the first turn and stayed there the rest of the race. Unhurried at rail entering far turn. Asked to quicken in turn and OK/good stretch run. Wasn’t a terrible trip despite the pace disadvantage b.c this one saved throughout.


2-22-19: Rails at 0 feet helped speed a bit and winner came back to score again on Friday. Away fine. Great spot early, at rail through first turn with no trouble. Relaxed backstretch and going well. On hold entering far turn and going well. Eased off of rail in turn and asked for more. No real gain. Intimidated a bit when inside foe moved outward towards this one at the top of the stretch but he wasn’t going anywhere anyway.  Overall this one had a very good trip and should have run better.

Battle of Blenheim

2-22-19: Rails at 0 feet helped speed a bit and winner came back to score again on Friday. Away fine. Great spot early at rail throughout the first turn. Stalking in 3rd at rail coming out of the first turn and on hold. At rail entering the far turn. Really a great spot through far turn while still saving ground and now being asked to pick up leaders. Had absolutely zero in the lane. Wow was this a bad effort given the trip. Very curious to know why he gets Saez – even for Pletcher. Saez is trying for a riding title – would think he could opt elsewhere if he wanted…so that makes it interesting, and it’s especially interesting given that Irad rode him last time and he’s found on Pagliacci.


2-22-19: Rails at 0 feet helped speed a bit and winner came back to score again on Friday. Away below average. Clean. To the back early with no speed. Three wide through the first turn. Still in the back entering the far turn; asked while 4 wide throughout the turn. Had pretty much no chance with this trip and is given a pass.

Ambassador Jim

2-2-19: Away fine. Clean. Really fell into a good spot entering the first turn. Saved ground throughout this turn. A bit of a tight spot coming out of the first turn and forced to steady a bit. Loaded entering the far turn – still at rail. No room while at rail in turn. Finally able to ease out nearing the top of the stretch and massive stretch run. This one ran away from everyone rather easily.

Second Mate

2-18-19: Away fine. Clean. In two path and in between through the first turn. Not the best spot. Not much better down the backstretch. In between and on hold. Seemed to be going well. 2 path through far turn, then finally room to go around. To 3-4 path the second half of turn and all out ask. Understandably not making up any ground on what was a dawdle early. This one gets a pass based on the pace and being in between for much of the race.

Race 14

Hidden Scroll

3-2-19: Away a touch slow. Took off and up for lead, disputing with a 99-1 shot. Was doing it so easily the rider probably had no clue he was carving suicidal fractions. Clear entering the far turn. Stalker was all out trying to get to this one – but he died.  Now Hidden Scroll was asked to hold off the fresh late runners – this just wasn’t possible.  An unbelievable run by this one. Clearly was best – like a pole the best.

Harvey Wallbanger

2-2-19:  Away fine. Clean. Allowed to settle at the back – which was a good thing because the pace was very fast and the field was strung out. No breathers up front. Saved ground throughout the far turn and snuck up the rail to surprise.  Couldn’t have had a better trip given the pace and ground save.  Poor gallop out. Wouldn’t bet Monopoly Money on this one.

Bourbon War

3-2-19: Away below average and mild bump. To last early and at rail. A great spot actually, given what shaped up in front of him. Saving ground moved him up several positions. At rail most of backstretch and then to the 2 path entering far turn. Some slight pausing while looking for room in between in the far turn. Finally powered through and eased out into lane. Clear shot through lane but trouble switching lead. We he finally did he really leveled nicely, only to run out of time. Was the only runner on the gallop out with his ears forward that seemed comfortable.


3-2-19: Away great. Clean. 5 wide through first turn. Maintained a wide path entire backstretch with rider nibbling at this one. Wide entering the far turn and now an all-out shove. Outrun by most, now able to ease to 3-2 path for the rest of the turn. Coasted in stretch with token whipping.

Code of Honor

3-2-19: Away fine. Clean. Great spot through the first turn, saving ground throughout and being reserved while watching the bareknuckle fight up ahead. Great spot down backstretch and especially perfect spot in the far turn, saving ground and no traffic. Easily around the 99-1 fader and a dream run easing around the fire breathing Hidden Scroll. Switched leads back and forth at top of stretch. Got job done but have no faith in this one in the top spot.

Union’s Destiny

3-2-19: Away a bit outward and clumsy. Shoved wide and jock attempting to reserve this one. Not able. Very wide through first turn and good a good view of the parking lot. 5 wide down backstretch and wide entering far turn. 5 wide through turn. Wider entering the stretch and through the stretch. This was a painfully wide trip.  He got a massive set up, but he ran a very, very long way also.  This one wasn’t that bad and will be a massive, massive number.

Garter and Tie

2-2-19: Away fine. No speed and at rail throughout first turn while next to last – a good thing as pace was very, very fast. Making a nice move late in the backstretch and then began stalling while entering the far turn.  All out drive for more while ‘Wallbanger’ went right by this one. Saved ground the rest of the turn and a non-competitive stretch drive.  Yuck.


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