OffTrackBetting.com - The Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby comes our way from Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Florida this Saturday, March 12. A purse of $350,000 and a 50-20-10-5 points scale toward the Kentucky Derby will be up for grabs when three year olds take to Tampa Bay's dirt track and race 1 1/16 miles.
A field of 10 will line up in the Tampa Bay Derby - race 11 on Tampa Bay's stacked Saturday card. Post time is 5:24 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all 10 combatants for this intriguing Road to the Kentucky Derby Grade 2 stakes.
2016 Tampa Bay Derby Race Preview
Brody's Cause - will race for the fifth time for trainer Dale Romans having won two of his first four starts. Last time out was a third as favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile behind Nyquist and Swipe after a terrific win in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity, a maiden score and a sixth in his debut. He has been OK so far, he breezed four furlongs here Sunday in 48 2/5 seconds, the sixth-fastest of 72 works at the distance, and would love to make a little noise Saturday. Corey Lanerie has the mount on the 122 pound highweight in Brody's Cause's first start in nearly four months - from gate 8.
Destin - will also hit the track for the fifth time for trainer Todd Pletcher having recorded two wins and a second place finish so far. Last time out was a terrific win by 2 1/4 lengths in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes here February 13 after his only off-the-board finish - a fourth in the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds January 16, a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream December 18 and a maiden score at first asking - back in October. Destin has been good so far and off a nice win here has to be in the conversation. Javier Castellano has been tabbed to ride from post 7.
Riker - has five career starts for trainer Nicholas Gonzalez with four wins - all at Woodbine. Last time out was a somewhat disappointing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after a win in his stakes graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Grey Stakes, consecutive minor stakes scores earlier this summer and a maiden score at first asking. Riker looked untouchable early on and will hope to bounce back Saturday with Florent Geroux in the reins from gate 6.
Rafting - will race for the sixth time for trainer Graham Motion after five career starts produced two wins, a second and a third place finish. He enters off a decent runner-up finish behind Destin in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes on this track February 13, a win in his stakes debut - the minor $75,000 Smooth Air Stakes in convincing fashion at Gulfstream Park West November 28, a third in an Allowance at Keeneland in October and a maiden score at Saratoga in September. Rafting has trained well and looks to keep his impressive run going form gate 2 with Edgar Prado guiding him.
Morning Fire - has placed in eight of nine career starts for trainer Keith Nations - three wins, three seconds and two third place finishes. Last time out was a respectable third place finish behind Destin and Rafting in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes here February 13 after a good win in the minor Pasco Stakes on this track January 23 and consecutive runner-up finishes - the minor Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes December 5 and the minor Christopher Elser Memorial Stakes in November. He also had an Allowance score at Parx in October. Morning Fire has been competitive every time out, he fired a bullet move in works ahead of this weekend and hopes to carry on his momentum from the rail with Daniel Centeno in the reins.
Awesome Banner - has four career starts for trainer Stanley Gold - three wins by a combined 19 1/2 lengths and a disappointing fifth last time out in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 27 - all results at Gulfstream. He debuted with a 9 3/4 length maiden score in record time for 4 1/2 furlongs way back in June and posted a great win by 4 3/4 lengths in the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes January 2 - that after a seven month layoff. Two starts back was yet another impressive win - in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes January 30. Awesome Banner had looked untouchable before last time out and will be out to avenge a serious disappointment from the outside gate 10 with Antonio Gallardo guiding him.
Outwork - Todd Pletcher trained colt has two career starts and two wins. Last time out was an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this very track February 13 after 10 months away from the track and a maiden score at first asking - at Keeneland back in April. Outwork has been impressive so far and looks to remain undefeated Saturday when he leaves from post 3 with John Velazquez aboard.
Economic Model - Chad Brown trained colt has just two career starts with a win and a runner-up finish. Last time out was a respectable second to Awesome Banner in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park January 30 after a maiden score at Saratoga August 8. He has been in the mix in both career starts so far and hopes to continue that trend from gate 4 Saturday. Irad Ortiz gets the call.
Star Hill - George Arnold trained colt has a win and two third place finishes in four career starts. He finally broke maiden last time out at Gulfstream Park February 13 after a third in a MSW in January and a sixth in his only stakes appearance - the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs September 13. Star Hill has been OK and hopes for his first stakes win from post 5 with Julien Leparoux in the irons.
Tale of S'avall - has just two career starts for trainer Barclay Tagg with one win - that coming in his debut at Saratoga August 29. He stepped into stakes company for the first time last time out way back on October 3 and finished fifth in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. Tale of S'avall hopes to bounce back off a pedestrian outing and to get his first graded stakes score. Joe Bravo gets the call from post 9.
2016 Tampa Bay Derby Entries & Odds
Race 11 on Tampa Bay Downs's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:24 PM.
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
||George Arnold, II
||Tale of S'avall