After recording a 10-1 upset in the Sam F. Davis (G3), Flameaway has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2). He’s won three of his last four starts for trainer Mark Casse and heads an 11-horse field that includes a couple of runners cross-entered to Saturday’s Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.
The 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby offers a total of 85 points (50-20-10-5) as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.
Flameaway switched back to the main track for the Sam F. Davis after opening 2018 with a victory in the grassy Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream Park. A versatile son of Scat Daddy, the chestnut colt had won on turf, synthetics and slop before notching his first victory on a fast track last time. He registered a career-best 101 BRIS Speed rating for the wire-to-wire decision, gamely denying heavily favored Catholic Boy by a half-length.
Jose Lezcano retains the mount.
Free Drop Bill comes next at 7-2 but the Tampa Bay Derby is a back-up plan for the Holy Bull (G2) runner-up, whose flight to New York for the Gotham was canceled on Wednesday. He’s scheduled to travel Thursday along with juvenile Grade 2 scorer Enticed, who was listed at 6-1 on the Tampa Bay Derby morning line (both made the trip and will scratch from the Tampa Bay Derby).
Vino Rosso is confirmed after recording a fast-closing third in the Sam F. Davis. A maiden and allowance winner in his first two starts, the Curlin colt showed signs of immaturity making his stakes debut last time and Todd Pletcher will add blinkers in an attempt to keep his charge focused. John Velazquez will be up on the early 4-1 third choice.
World of Trouble will try a route of ground after romping by 13 lengths in the 7-furlong Pasco at Tampa on Janaury 20 and Irad Ortiz Jr. takes over the reins aboard the speedy colt for Jason Servis. Tiz Mischief, who concluded his juvenile season with a head second to Enticed in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), will try to improve upon a well-beaten third in the Holy Bull and Dale Romans has tabbed a new rider in Joel Rosario.
Untamed Domain brings plenty of juvenile class to the festivities but looms as an enigma in his dirt debut. His sire, Animal Kingdom, captured the 2010 Kentucky Derby in his first dirt appearance and Untamed Domain has the same conditioner in Graham Motion. Jose Ortiz guides the Breeders’ cup Juvenile Turf (G1) runner-up.
Completing the field are Arazi Like Move, Caloric, Grandpa Knows Best and Quip.