On home shores, the race of the week—and as many a racing fan thought, of many weeks—was the mile-and-an-eighth Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. Odds-on favorite was the Wheatley Stable's Bold Ruler, last year's king of the 2-year-olds (SI, Dec. 10), trained by Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and ridden by Eddie Arcaro. But out to beat the favorite was Calumet Farm's one-two team of Gen. Duke and Iron Liege, trained by Jimmy Jones and ridden by Willie Hartack and Dave Erb. In flanking tandem, the Calumet colts tested Bold Ruler down the stretch. "I looked over one shoulder," said Arcaro wryly, "and there came Iron Liege; I looked over the other and there came the Duke." As the unusual picture on the opposite page shows, he and Bold Ruler did well to finish second (see page 57).
Yards from the finish of Florida Derby, the Big Three of this winter's 3-year-old crop roar down the furrowed stretch of Gulfstream Park—with favored Bold Ruler, Arcaro up, flanked by Calumet's Iron Liege (left, Erb up) and Gen. Duke (Hartack up). Bold Ruler, who followed the fast pace set by Federal Hill for a mile, was unable to hold off Gen. Duke in the stretch.