During its 52 runnings, the Florida Derby, taking off today at Gulfstream Park (901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale), has served as a prescient precursor to the more prestigious Kentucky Derby, with a handful of horses winning both races, notably Spectacular Bid (1979), Swale (1984), Unbridled (1990), Thunder Gulch (1995), and Monarchos (2001). Gen. Duke, knocked out of commission by an injury just prior to the May 1957 Kentucky Derby, enjoyed one of the most exciting victories. Five weeks earlier in the Florida Derby, Gen. Duke faced a stellar field, including the rugged Bold Ruler. After disposing of the pesky frontrunner Federal Hill, Bold Ruler surged to the lead on the final turn, only to be collared by a rallying Gen. Duke, who suddenly -- and mysteriously -- lost his action, momentarily falling back. Quickly regaining his stride, he streaked past his own stablemate, Iron Liege, and then by Bold Ruler to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Final time: 1.46 4/5, equaling the world mark for the distance.
Iron Liege went on to upset the Kentucky Derby. Bold Ruler captured the Preakness Stakes and was declared 1957 Horse of the Year. And Gen. Duke, as often happens in thoroughbred racing, has been reduced to a record-books footnote. Post time is 1:00 p.m. Admission is $5. Call 954-454-7000. -- By Michael Yockel
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Get fit now
If the thought of an 8-mile walk gives you searing chest pains, maybe you really need to attend today's 11:00 a.m. Health & Wellness Fair, sponsored by the North Miami Parks and Recreation Department at NANAY Health Center (12340 NE 6th Ct., North Miami). There you can take advantage of free blood pressure, glucose, and osteoporosis screenings; give blood; enjoy snacks from local health food eateries; plus pick up water safety and fitness tips. When you're done, you can begin your journey to better health by joining the Walk in the Park Fitness Walk, an 8-mile trek that visits many of the city's eastside parks. Don't freak: Water and rest stops will be provided. Admission is free. Call 305-893-6511, ext. 2260. -- By Nina Korman