The Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series will make its final stop at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday where Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper’s two-time winner Classic Causeway tops a field of 12 3-year-olds that entered the 42nd running of the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (Grade II).

The 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby will go as Race 11 of 12 with a post time of 5:23 p.m. (all times Eastern). Tampa Bay Downs’ first post is 12:15 p.m. The Tampa Bay Derby will award 85 points, split between the top 4 finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale, toward the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI).

Classic Causeway, who won the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (GII) in his last start at Tampa, drew post No. 4 for Saturday’s affair. Trained by Brian Lynch, Classic Causeway began his career with a debut win on Sept. 4 at Saratoga. The chestnut colt, who is by the late Giant’s Causeway, finished third as the 9-5 favorite in the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland. In his next start, Classic Causeway was second-best to Smile Happy in the $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs. Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Classic Causeway in the Sam F. Davis, will have the return call.

“We’ve been fortunate to not miss a beat with him,” Lynch said. “He has had two strong workouts (since the Sam F. Davis) and he’s on schedule to go back to a track he really liked.

“He came out of the (Sam F. Davis) very well, he’s carrying good weight and he has great energy so we’re counting our blessings. He seemed to really like the racetrack so we thought the smart thing was to take him back over there and have a crack at the Tampa Bay Derby.”

Other top contenders that entered the Tampa Bay Derby include WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s $300,000 Iroquois Stakes (GIII) winner Major GeneralIris Smith Stable’s Sam F. Davis runner-up ShipsationalWest Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stable’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) third-place finisher Giant Game; and Klaravich Stable’s impressive debut winner Money Supply.

Here’s the complete field for the Tampa Bay Derby from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Grantham (Samy Camacho, Mike Maker); Trademark (Danny Centeno, Vicki Oliver); Happy Boy Rocket (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott); Classic Causeway (Irad Ortiz Jr., Lynch); Giant Game (Joe Talamo, Dale Romans); Golden Glider (Antonio Gallardo, Mark Casse); Strike Hard (Luis Saez, Matt Williams); Major General (Javier Castellano, Todd Pletcher); Shipsational (Manny Franco, Ed Barker); Belgrade (Hector Diaz Jr., Graham Motion); Money Supply (Jose Ortiz, Chad Brown); and Spin Wheel (Jesus Castanon, Rusty Arnold II).

          Fans can bet the Tampa Bay Derby on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Incorporated.

          Fans can watch the Tampa Bay Derby program on TVG.

FORBIDDEN KINGDOM MADE OVERALL 5-1 FAVORITE IN POOL 4 OF KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGER; ECHO ZULU 4-1 CHOICE IN OAKS FUTURE WAGER – The fourth of five pools for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) is set for its three-day stand Friday-Sunday with MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm’s recent $400,000 San Felipe (Grade II) winner Forbidden Kingdom tabbed by veteran morning line oddsmaker Mike Battaglia as the 5-1 favorite in the field of 24 betting interests.

Pool 4 of the KDFW will run concurrently with the lone pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”). In addition to Win and Exacta betting, an Oaks/Derby Future Double is part of the wagering menu. The wagers will open Friday at noon (all times Eastern) and the KDFW will close Sunday at 6 p.m. while the KOFW will close 30 minutes later at 6:30 p.m. Betting on the KDFW and KOFW is available at simulcast centers around the country and ADW’s such as www.TwinSpires.com, the official platform for the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Incorporated.

In the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ brilliant filly Echo Zulu was made the 4-1 favorite in the field of 24 betting interests.

The speedy Forbidden Kingdom, trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, was the even-money favorite in last Saturday’s San Felipe where he dominated six rivals by 5 ¾ lengths. The San Felipe, which serves as the local prep to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (GI) on April 9, was the first time Forbidden Kingdom was tested around two turns.

Other top individual betting interests in Pool 4 of the KDFW appear to be Winchell Thoroughbreds’ $400,000 Risen Star (GII) winner Epicenter (8-1); Tami Bobo’s 3 ½-length winner of the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (GII) Simplification (12-1); and Lucky Seven Stable’s $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) hero Smile Happy (6-1), who closed as the 8-1 individual favorite in the first three pools of the KDFW.

Overall, there are eight new interests in Pool 4: Whisper Hill Farm’s 8 ½-length maiden winner Charge It (30-1); Gold Square’s flashy allowance winner Cyberknife (50-1); Aaron Sones Rebel (GII) runner-up Ethereal Road (50-1); Diamond T RacingBlue Lion Thoroughbreds and Craig Taylor’s $300,000 Gotham (GIII) winner Morello (10-1); Sumaya U.S. Stable’s Risen Star fourth-place finisher Pioneer of Medina (30-1); Iris Smith Stable’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis (GIII) runner-up Shipsational (50-1); Cypress Creek Equine’s $400,000 Rebel winner Un Ojo (50-1); and Barry and Joni Butzow’s undefeated Zozos (50-1).

Here’s the complete Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 field (with trainer and morning line odds): #1 Barber Road (John Ortiz, 50-1); #2 Call Me Midnight (Keith Desormeaux, 50-1); #3 Charge It (Todd Pletcher, 30-1); #4 Classic Causeway (Brian Lynch, 15-1); #5 Cyberknife (Brad Cox, 50-1); #6 Early Voting (Chad Brown, 30-1); #7 Emmanuel (Pletcher, 15-1); #8 Epicenter (Steve Asmussen, 8-1); #9 Ethereal Road (D. Wayne Lukas, 50-1); #10 Forbidden Kingdom (Mandella, 5-1); #11 In Due Time (Kelly Breen, 30-1); #12 Major General (Pletcher, 50-1); #13 Mo Donegal (Pletcher, 12-1); #14 Morello (Asmussen, 10-1); #15 Pioneer of Medina (Pletcher, 30-1); #16 Rattle N Roll (Kenny McPeek, 20-1); #17 Shipsational (Ed Barker, 50-1); #18 Simplification (Antonio Sano, 12-1); #19 Smile Happy (McPeek, 6-1); #20 Un Ojo (Ricky Courville, 50-1); #21 White Abarrio (Saffie Joseph Jr., 15-1); #22 Zandon (Brown, 12-1); #23 Zozos (Cox, 50-1); and #24 “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (6-1).

In the KOFW, Echo Zulu, trained by Steve Asmussen, is undefeated through four starts including a dominating 5 ¼-length victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI). The daughter of Gun Runner has been steadily training toward her 3-year-old debut at Fair Grounds.

Another filly that is expected to garner betting interest is Briland Farm’s $300,000 Honeybee (GIII) winner Secret Oath (6-1). Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Secret Oath has won her last three starts by a combined 23 lengths.  

               Here’s the field for the KOFW (with trainer and morning line odds): #1 A Mo Reay (Todd Pletcher, 30-1); #2 Ain’t Easy (Phil D’Amato, 20-1); #3 Awake At Midnyte (Doug O’Neill, 20-1); #4 Bernabreezy (Matt Shirer, 50-1); #5 Bubble Rock (Brad Cox, 30-1); #6 Classy Edition (Pletcher, 15-1); #7 Echo Zulu (Asmussen, 4-1); #8 Fannie and Freddie (Al Stall Jr., 30-1); #9 Favor (Pletcher, 20-1); #10 Goddess of Fire (Pletcher, 20-1); #11 Hidden Connection (Bret Calhoun, 50-1); #12 Ice Orchid (John Ortiz, 50-1); #13 Juju’s Map (Cox, 10-1); #14 Kathleen O. (Shug McGaughey, 8-1); #15 Nest (Pletcher, 8-1); #16 Nostalgic (Bill Mott, 20-1); #17 Sandstone (Kenny McPeek, 15-1); #18 Secret Oath (Lukas, 6-1); #19 Shahama (Pletcher, 30-1); #20 Turnerloose (Cox, 15-1); #21 Venti Valentine (Jorge Abreu, 15-1); #22 Veterans Highway (Rusty Arnold, 50-1); #23 Yuugiri (Rodolphe Brisset, 50-1); and #24 “All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies” (10-1).

The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Future Wagers provide fans of Thoroughbred racing with opportunities to place bets on possible entrants in the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) and $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) at odds that could be far greater and more attractive than those available on the day of the race. The 148th running of Kentucky Derby, America’s greatest race and the first leg of the Triple Crown, is set for Saturday, May 7 at Churchill Downs. The Longines Kentucky Oaks will run one day earlier on Friday, May 6. 

          There are no refunds in the Kentucky Derby or Oaks Future Wager. Should Churchill Downs officials determine during the duration of this week’s four-day pool that one of the wagering interests has experienced an injury, illness or other circumstance that would prevent the horse from participating in the Kentucky Derby or Oaks, betting on the individual horse will be suspended immediately.         

          More information, Brisnet.com past performances and real-time odds on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will be available before the pool opens Friday online at https://www.kentuckyderby.com/wager/future-wager.

Different from the first four pools of the KDFW, the fifth and final Pool 5 will run Thursday, March 31 and end prior to the first Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series race on Saturday, April 2.

 

OTHER 3-YEAR-OLD RACES TO WATCH – Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s $500,000 Champagne Stakes (GI) runner-up and $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) fourth-place finisher Commandperformance will attempt to garner his first lifetime victory in a maiden special weight contest Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Commandperformance drew the outside post 8 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle. The gray son of Union Rags will add blinkers for this start, which is slated as Race 5 at 2:13 p.m. ET.

          Another 3-year-old race Saturday that could have implications to the Road to the Kentucky Derby is Race 4 at Oaklawn where WinStar FarmCMNWLTH and Siena Farm’s eye-catching 5 ¾-length debut winner We the People will test allowance company. The field of six will head to post at 3:33 p.m. ET

         Here is a calendar of other 3-year-old races to watch this week:

         

Thursday

·        3:05 p.m. ET, GP 5, Mdn 60k, 3&up f, 7 F

·        4:05 p.m. ET, FG 5, Mdn 52k, 3yo f, 1 1/16 miles

·        4:37 p.m. ET, GP 8, OC 75000n1x, 3yo f, 7 F

·        8:14 p.m. ET, TP 5, Mdn 62k, 3yo f, 6 F

·        9:46 p.m. ET, TP 8, Mdn 62k, 3yo f, 6 F

Friday

·        3:23 p.m. ET, LRL 7, Mdn 50k, 3yo, 1 M

·        5:00 p.m. ET, SA 4, Mdn 67k, 3yo f, 1 M

·        5:05 p.m. ET, FG 7, Mdn 52k, 3yo and up, 6 F

·        8:14 p.m. ET, TP 5, Mdn 62k, 3yo f, 1 M (AW)

Saturday

·        1:20 p.m. ET, AQU 1, Mdn 80k, 3yo f, 6 ½ F

·        2:13 p.m. ET, TAM 5, Mdn 40k, 3yo, 1 M 40 Y

·        2:44 p.m. ET, TAM 6, Mdn 40k, 3yo f, 6 F

·        3:01 p.m. ET, GP 6, Mdn 60k, 3yo, 7 ½ F (T)

·        3:33 p.m. ET, OP 4, OC 80000n1x, 3yo, 1 1/16 M

·        4:20 p.m. ET, TAM 9, $200,000 Florida Oaks (GIII), 3yo f, 1 1/16 M (T)

·        4:38 p.m. ET, GP 9, Mdn 60k, 3yo, 6 F

·        4:51 p.m. ET, TAM 10, $75,000 Columbia Stakes, 3yo, 1 M (T)

·        5:23 p.m. ET, TAM 11, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (GII), 3yo, 1 1/16 M

·        5:33 p.m. ET, FG 7, OC 50000n1x, 3yo, 6 F

·        5:55 p.m. ET, TAM 12, Mdn 35k, 3yo f, 1 M (T)

·        9:16 p.m. ET, TP 7, OC 50000n1x, 3yo, 1 M (AW)

·        9:46 p.m. ET TP 8, Mdn 62k, 3yo, 1 M (AW)


FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, MORELLO, SIMPLIFICATION ADD 50 POINTS TO TOTAL FOLLOWING CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES VICTORIES – Last Saturday’s quartet of races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby saw promising 3-year-olds Forbidden Kingdom (San Felipe), Morello (Gotham) and Simplification (Fountain of Youth) add to their point total toward qualifying for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I).

          Magdalena Racing’s Tiz the Bomb, the hard-fought winner of the $125,000 John Battaglia Memorial, added 10 points in the closing race of the 21-race Prep Season.

          The speedy Forbidden Kingdom, trained by Richard Mandella and owned in partnership by MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm, cruised to a 5 ¼-length score in the $400,000 San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita. Earlier in the day, Diamond T RacingBlue Lion Thoroughbreds and Craig Taylor’s Morello remained undefeated with a victory in the $300,000 Gotham (GII). Also, Tami Bobo’s Simplification was able to avenge his runner-up finish in last month’s $250,000 Holy Bull (GIII) and drew clear late for a 3 ½-length win in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (GII).

          Here are the Top 20 horses on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard:

Horse

Trainer

Resume

Possible Next Start

Points

Epicenter

Steve Asmussen

1st – Risen Star

1st – Gun Runner

2nd – Lecomte

March 26: Louisiana Derby

64

Un Ojo

Ricky Courville

1st – Rebel

2nd - Withers

April 2: Arkansas Derby

54

Simplification

Antonio Sano

1st – Fountain of Youth

2nd – Holy Bull

April 2: Florida Derby

54

Forbidden Kingdom

Richard Mandella

1st – San Felipe

April 9: Santa Anita Derby

50

Morello

Steve Asmussen

1st – Gotham

April 9: Wood Memorial

50

Smile Happy

Kenny McPeek

1st – Ky Jockey Club

2nd – Risen Star

April 2: Florida Derby or April 9: Blue Grass

30

Ethereal Road

D. Wayne Lukas

2nd – Rebel

April 2: Arkansas Derby

20

In Due Time

Kelly Breen

2nd – Fountain of Youth

April 2: Florida Derby

20

Dean’s List

Todd Pletcher

2nd – Gotham

April 9: Wood Memorial

20

Barber Road

John Ortiz

2nd – Smarty Jones

2nd – Southwest

3rd – Rebel

April 2: Arkansas Derby

18

Classic Causeway

Brian Lynch

1st – Sam F. Davis

2nd – Ky Jockey Club

3rd – Breeders’ Futurity

March 12: Tampa Bay Derby

16

Pappacap

Mark Casse

2nd – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

2nd – American Pharoah

3rd – Lecomte

April 2: Florida Derby

14

Zandon

Chad Brown

2nd – Remsen

3rd – Risen Star

April 9: Blue Grass

14

White Abarrio

Saffie Joseph Jr.

1st – Holy Bull

3rd – Ky Jockey Club

April 2: Florida Derby

12

Mo Donegal

Todd Pletcher

1st – Remsen

3rd – Holy Bull

April 9: Wood Memorial

12

Tiz the Bomb

Kenny McPeek

1st – John Battaglia Memorial

April 2: Jeff Ruby Steaks

10

Rattle N Roll

Kenny McPeek

1st – Breeders’ Futurity

March 26: Louisiana Derby

10

Slow Down Andy

Doug O’Neill

1st – Los Al Futurity

TBA

10

Major General

Todd Pletcher

1st – Iroquois

March 12: Tampa Bay Derby

10

Dash Attack

Kenny McPeek

1st – Smarty Jones

TBA

10

DOWN THE STRETCH:

Trainer Todd Pletcher leads all conditioners with five victories in the Tampa Bay Derby: Limehouse (2004), Verrazano (2013), Carpe Diem (2015), Destin (2016), Tapwrit (2017). He’s represented in this year’s race by undefeated colt Major General. …

Just two horses have run in the Tampa Bay Derby and went on to win the Kentucky Derby (GI): Street Sense (2007) and Super Saver (2010). Since the Tampa Bay Derby was instituted in 1982, it has produced 43 Kentucky Derby starters. …

Since the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series began in 2013, horses that have run in the Risen Star have the best average finish in the Kentucky Derby of 7.6. It’s followed by the Louisiana Derby (8.2), Santa Anita Derby (8.5), Fountain of Youth (8.6), San Felipe (8.9), Florida Derby (9.9), Blue Grass (9.9), Rebel (10.3), Arkansas Derby (10.6), Tampa Bay Derby (10.8), Wood Memorial (11.6), UAE Derby (12.7), Jeff Ruby Steaks (13), Sunland Derby (13) and Gotham (13.3). (Note: the stat excludes the Lexington Stakes and additional races added in 2020 when the Kentucky Derby was moved to September). …

TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (GII) contender Epicenter continued to work toward the 1 3/16-mile race with a swift five-furlong move in :59.60 Monday at Fair Grounds. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13. …

New York-bred Shipsational will attempt to become only the third horse out of the Empire State to win the Tampa Bay Derby. The lone two winners were Big Truck (2009) and Champagneforashley (1990). …

Only two Tampa Bay Derby (GII) winners in the last 10 years broke their maiden in their previous start: Tacitus (2019) and Ring Weekend (2014). Recent maiden winners Happy Boy Rocket and Money Supply will attempt to accomplish that feat Saturday. …

The last four winners of the Tampa Bay Derby were making their first start of their 3-year-old campaign: Helium (2021), King Guillermo (2020), Tacitus (2019) and Quip (2018). Only one horse in this year’s Tampa Bay Derby field could add his name to that record and that’s Major General, who makes his first start since winning the $300,000 Iroquois (GIII) in September at Churchill Downs.

UPCOMING ROAD TO KENTUCKY DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES RACES

March 26 (six weeks out) – $1 million Louisiana Derby (GII), 1 3/16 miles, Fair Grounds (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10)

Known possible starters (with trainer): Call Me Midnight (Keith Desormeaux), Cyberknife (Brad Cox), Epicenter (Steve Asmussen), Pioneer of Medina (Todd Pletcher), Rattle N Roll (Kenny McPeek); and Zozos (Brad Cox)

March 26 (six weeks out) -- $1 million UAE Derby (GII), 1 3/16 miles, Meydan Racecourse (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10)

Known possible starters (with trainer): Gilded Age (Bill Mott); Pinehurst (Bob Baffert); and Sekifu (JPN) (Koshiro Take)

March 27 (six weeks out) – $500,000 Sunland Derby (GIII), 1 1/8 miles, Sunland Park (Top 4 points: 50-20-10-5)

April 2 (five weeks out) – $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (GI), 1 1/8 miles, Oaklawn Park (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10)

Known possible starters (with trainer): Barber Road (John Ortiz); Call Me Jamal (Michael Puhich), Ethereal Road (D. Wayne Lukas), Great Escape (Rodolphe Brisset); Secret Oath (Wayne Lukas); Un Ojo (Ricky Courville); and Zozos (Brad Cox)

April 2 (five weeks out) – $1 million Florida Derby (GI), 1 1/8 miles, Gulfstream Park (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10)

Known possible starters (with trainer): Pappacap (Mark Casse); Smile Happy (Kenny McPeek); and White Abarrio (Saffie Joseph Jr.)

 

April 2 (five weeks out) – $600,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII), 1 1/8 miles (Tapeta), Turfway Park (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10)

Known possible starters (with trainer): Slow Down Andy (Doug O’Neill); Stolen Base (Brad Cox); and Tiz the Bomb (Kenny McPeek)

April 9 (four weeks out) – $1 million Blue Grass (GI), 1 1/8 miles, Keeneland (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10)

Known possible starters (with trainer): Cyberknife (Brad Cox); Great Escape (Rodolphe Brisset); Slow Down Andy (Doug O’Neill); Smile Happy (Kenny McPeek); and Zandon (Chad Brown).

 

April 9 (four weeks out) – $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (GI), 1 1/8 miles, Santa Anita (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10)

Known possible starters (with trainer): Forbidden Kingdom (Richard Mandella) and Messier (Bob Baffert)

 

April 9 (four weeks out) – $750,000 Wood Memorial (GII), 1 1/8 miles, Aqueduct (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10)

Known possible starters (with trainer): Dean’s List (Todd Pletcher); Early Voting (Chad Brown); Morello (Steve Asmussen); and Mo Donegal (Todd Pletcher)

April 16 (three weeks out) – $400,000 Lexington (GIII), 1 1/16 miles, Keeneland (Top 4 points: 20-8-4-2)

Note: The possible fields for upcoming Kentucky Derby Championship Series races are fluid as owners and trainers vie for points. Known possible horses mentioned to be under consideration for each race are based on published news reports and other sources. Horses listed in italics are possible for multiple races.