Barbaro Digs Deep to Win Florida Derby; Sharp Humor Very Game in Defeat
|Barbaro Digs Deep to Win Florida Derby, Sharp Humor Very Game in Defeat |
by Ultimatecapper.com Horse Handicapper Kenneth Strong
April 1, 2006 – The 2006 Florida Derby may have been the best display of courage under fire we have seen by a pair of 3-year-old racehorses this year. There were no losers in this fight – even if Barbaro did finish a half-length in front of Sharp Humor.
As expected, Sharp Humor ($6.40-1) bounded to an early lead and opened up a length and a half on the field while being perfectly rated by jockey Mark Guidry through fractions of 23.45 and 47.35. Favored Barbaro ($1.60-1) was bumped at the start but gradually moved forward from the outside and after six furlongs in 1:11.37 he was breathing down Sharp Humor’s neck.
The pair raced in tandem into the stretch and the battle was on after a mile in 1:36.08. On more than one occasion it appeared as if Sharp Humor was going to fold under heavy pressure from Barbaro, but every time the favorite looked like he might go by – the underdog found more.
The pair actually brushed in early stretch, and nearing mid stretch the undefeated Barbaro appeared surprised that he couldn’t get by. After being turned back more than once, he bobbled twice before continuing on with a long hard drive that would eventually get him by Sharp Humor in deep stretch.
For Sharp Humor, it was a repeat of his Swale Stakes performance – all guts – except for the result. For Barbaro, it was also a career-best performance. He proved he could dig in when it counted to defeat a horse that wouldn’t quit.
Owned by Lael Stables, trained by Michael Matz, and ridden by Edgar Prado, Barbaro got the mile and an eighth in 1:49.01 over the fast track. Sunriver, who was in tight early, finished third, three lengths behind Sharp Humor, but he was never going to threaten the top two regardless.
The winner, a dark bay colt by Dynaformer-La Ville Rouge by Carson City, returned $5.20, $3.69, $2.80 across the board and topped an overlay exacta of $18. He improved his record to a perfect 5-for-5 and increased his career earnings to $849,000.
Barbaro’s name means “barbarian” in Portuguese. It is also used to describe someone who does something superior – like win the Florida Derby – the way he did.