5 Fast Facts: Tampa Bay Derby

Mar 09, 2018 by Alastair Bull/TwinSpires.com

5 Fast Facts about the Tampa Bay Derby, a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race

1. Originated in 1981, the Tampa Bay Derby became an important part of the Kentucky Derby trail in Florida. It initially received Grade 3 status in 1984 and after being downgraded in the 1990s, the 1 1/16-mile race became a Grade 3 again in 2001. It was recognized as a Grade 2 event in 2011 and with a 50-point prize for first, the winner is all but guaranteed a Kentucky Derby start.

2. The Tampa Bay Derby attracted some notable performers from the start. The second winner, Reinvested, finished third in the Kentucky Derby and captured the Super Derby (G2). 1983 runner-up Slew o’ Gold could only muster fourth in the Kentucky Derby but went on to be named champion 3-year-old and champion older male the following season and was eventually inducted into the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame.

3. Street Sense earned a place in U.S. Thoroughbred racing history in 2007 when becoming the first horse to record the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-Kentucky Derby double. He also achieved a lesser-known piece of history as the first Tampa Bay Derby alumni to capturxe the first leg in the Triple Crown, opening his 3-year-old season with a nose score in Oldsmar, Florida. Super Saver, third in the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby, is the only other contestant to wear the roses at Churchill Downs.

4. Recent Tampa Bay Derby winners have made a major impact upon the Belmont Stakes, with Destin recording a nose second in 2016 and Tapwrit capturing the final jewel of the Triple Crown last year.

5. When it comes to trainers, Vino Rosso looks well-positioned for the 2018 Tampa Bay Derby. He’s the lone runner from the powerful Todd Pletcher stable, which has won a record five editions of the race including the last three with Tapwrit, Destin and Carpe Diem.

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