A well-matched group of 10 sophomores will take to the main track at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday for their shot at 50 points and a spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) starting gate in the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
The race is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series of points races and offers up 50-20-10-5 points to the respective top four.
Destin will be looking to take home the top prize after scoring by 2 1/4 lengths in the local prep, the Sam F. Davis (G3), on February 13. The Todd Pletcher trainee drew off in the 1 1/16-mile contest to earn a 100 BRIS Speed rating and 109 BRIS Late Pace figure. Javier Castellano has the call for the Tampa Bay Derby.
Perhaps the biggest threat to Destin’s quest for two straight graded wins is Brody’s Cause. The Dale Romans-conditioned colt will be making his sophomore bow in this spot after finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last October. Prior to that the son of Giant’s Causeway captured the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland over a muddy track. Corey Lanerie was aboard for both those starts and retains the mount here.
Rafting and Morning Fire will try to turn the tables on Destin after finishing second and third, respectively, in the Davis most recently. Each colt earned a stakes win prior to that race and own the numbers to challenge on Saturday. Daniel Centenao returns aboard Morning Fire while Edgar Prado remains in Rafting’s saddle.
Outwork and Star Hill each earned impressive wins in their last races but will be stretching out in the Tampa Bay Derby off those sprint scores.
Outwork is two-for-two in his lifetime, including a 4 1/4-length triumph against allowance/optional claiming rivals at Tampa Bay Downs while going six furlongs last out on February 13. Star Hill romped by 7 3/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park on the same day to break his maiden at seven furlongs in his fourth career try.
Awesome Banner and Economic Model face-off for a second straight time in the Tampa Bay Derby after running one-two, respectively, in the January 30 Swale (G2) going seven furlongs.
Awesome Banner effortlessly recorded a five-length victory that day but was no match stretching out to 1 1/16 miles just two weeks ago in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream. The bay colt will try a route once again this spot. Economic Model was making just his second career start in the Swale and hasn’t raced since.
Completing the Tampa Bay Derby field are Grade 3 winner Riker and Tale of S’avall.
Riker brought an unbeaten four-for-four mark into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last out and led the way early before fading to sixth on the wire. That was the Mark Casse trainee’s first try on a conventional dirt surface after competing exclusively over Woodbine’s synthetic Polytrack, including scoring a win in the Grey (Can-G3). Tale of S’avall broke his maiden last August at Saratoga and tired to fifth when making his last start in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park in October.
1 Million Points Tampa Bay Derby Betting Contest: Tampa Bay’s signature race, the $350K Tampa Bay Derby (G2), headlines a trio of graded stakes at the Oldsmar oval this Saturday.
Complete Details: http://www.twinspires.com/1-million-points-tampa-b...