Dream Maker returns to the stakes ranks after an 8 1/2-length allowance romp and Win Win Win stretches out to two turns following a track record-setting performance. The promising three-year-olds highlight a field of 11 in Saturday’s $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
Contested at 1 1/16 miles, the Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier offers points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers.
Dream Maker romped when making his career debut at Churchill Downs last June but needed three months off before recording a disappointing fifth in the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga. Trainer Mark Casse brought his charge back for the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland five weeks later but Dream Maker never fired after being roughed up at the break, retreating to last as the 5-2 favorite.
Unraced for four months, the gray son of Tapit opened his three-year-old campaign with a scintillating display of superiority at Fair Grounds. Dream Maker netted a 91 BRIS Speed rating winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance and was flattered when the runner-up came back to win. Florent Geroux will be back aboard.
Win Win Win posted an impressive 7 1/4-length tally in the seven-furlong Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs on January 19 and registered a field-best last-out BRIS Speed figure (101). A Florida-bred son of Hat Trick, the dark bay colt does his best running from off the pace and Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount for Michael Trombetta.
Sam F. Davis (G3) upsetter Well Defined also rates as a major contender. The gelding has proven to be an all-or-nothing type for Kathleen O’Connell, recording three convincing wire-to-wire stakes wins when he makes the early lead and a pair of unplaced finishes in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Mucho Macho Man Stakes when he doesn’t, and there isn’t an abundance of speed in the Tampa Bay Derby field. Well Defined steps up to face better off a sharp performance but remains a threat to lead all the way with Pablo Morales.
Other runners of interest include Tacitus, a Bill Mott-trained Tapit colt who will make his first appearance since a good-looking maiden win at Aqueduct in November; Outshine and The Right Path, the one-two finishers from a recent allowance at Gulfstream Park; and Swale (G3) runner-up Zelden.