Bet the Kentucky Derby preps: Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe Stakes

March 8, 2013

​TORONTO, March 8 – The road to the Kentucky Derby, to be held May 4 at Churchill Downs, continues on Saturday with the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby, at Tampa Bay Downs, and the Grade 2, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, at Santa Anita.

Racing fans can watch and wager on the Tampa Bay Derby (5:15 p.m. EST) and San Felipe Stakes (6:35 p.m. EST) via HorsePlayer Interactive.
Verrazano (4-5), undefeated in two starts, is the one to beat in the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby, fresh off a scintillating 16 1/2-length score at Gulfstream Park that earned a field-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Verrazano, a half-brother to Grade 2 winner El Padrino, will be heavily bet but must prove his ability around two-turns for the first time while also making his first trip over the Tampa Bay Downs main.
Dynamic Sky (4-1), an Ontario-bred son of Sky Mesa trained by Mark Casse for owner John C. Oxley, already boasts a win and place from two starts at Tampa.
“I think it’s a huge advantage,” said Casse. “You know, Mr. Oxley and I talked about it and Verrazano’s a tough horse. He’s going to be a tough horse. But…he’s coming to play at our house.”
Casse feels with a better trip, Dynamic Sky might have secured a victory.
“Without a doubt, I feel like we ran the best horse in the Sam Davis. We ran 52 feet farther than the winner, which is about eight lengths,” said Casse.
Dynamic Sky, piloted by Luis Contreras in the Sam F. Davis, drifted through the stretch run costing the colt valuable lengths.
“Once he (Contreras) got him corrected and headed in a straight direction, you saw he came running in late at the end,” said Casse.
Joel Rosario will take over from Contreras aboard Dynamic Sky on Saturday.
A pair of fresh horses worth considering is undefeated Purple Egg (10-1) and stakes winner Java’s War (12-1).
Purple Egg, trained by Jane Cibelli, has competed only in sprint races through three career starts including a sharp score in the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, last time out, on Dec. 1.
By Lion Heart, out of the Prized mare Luminous Prize, Purple Egg is bred to be a router and comes into this event with a work tab riddled with bullets – – and Cibelli is capable of having a horse fire fresh.
Java’s War, a Charles Fipke homebred, hasn’t raced since a troubled sixth-place run in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, on Nov. 24, won by Uncaptured.
Trained by Ken McPeek, Java’s War boasts a pair of strong works at Gulfstream training up to the Tampa Bay Derby and could be in the mix late if he can run back to his strong rally in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity (won by Joha) when third, just three-quarters of a length behind Dynamic Sky.
The talented field also includes Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes winner Honorable Dillon along with Eton Blue, Offlee Fast and Park City.
For great insight into the Tampa Bay Derby, read the full transcript of the NTRA’s Road To The Triple Crown interview with Bryan Sullivan, managing member of Let’s Go Stable (co-owners of Verrazano); and Mark Casse, who also speaks candidly about his other Kentucky Derby contender, Uncaptured.
Given Verrazano’s strong form, many handicappers may choose to single Verrazano in the late Pick Four or key him in vertical wagers.
Woodbine fans will note that the first leg of the Pick 4 wager (Race 9, 4:45 EST), the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes, features a trio of familiar names – – Mark Hoffman’s Hooh Why; along with multiple Woodbine stakes winners Blue Heart, trained by Brian Lynch, and Stars to Shine.
TAMPA BAY DERBY SELECTIONS:
  1. Verrazano
  2. Dynamic Sky
  3. Java’s War
Later in the day, Goldencents and Flashback go head-to-head in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes.
Flashback (8-5), undefeated in two starts for trainer Bob Baffert, ran away from a four-horse field last out in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis, taking the 1 1/16-mile test by 6 ¼-lengths.
A defeat to Shanghai Bobby in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont, is the lone blemish on the form of Goldencents (2-1) who has notched a trio of victories including a last to score in the Grade 3 Sham when sprinting seven furlongs at Santa Anita.
Hear the Ghost (6-1), a speedy son of Ghostzapper, could prove to be an interesting price play as he stretches out for the first time following a second-place run in the San Pedro.
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Woodbine fans will also want to pay attention to Gulfstream Park on Saturday as pair of Queen’s Plate contenders, both sons of top Ontario stallion Silent Name, make their three-year-old debut for trainer Mark Frostad.
In Race 3 (2:05 p.m. EST), County Lineman will try dirt for the first time in a 7 ½ furlong N1X sprint.
County Lineman broke his maiden in his second, and final, two-year-old start with a smart last-to-first rally under Luis Contreras, who retains the mount.
In Race 7 (4:05 p.m. EST), Pyrite Mountain will make his turf debut in a one-mile trip versus a strong Bill Mott trainee, Bold Dance.
Pyrite Mountain nearly scored an audacious maiden win at Woodbine when second, defeated a head at odds of 36-1, at first asking under Alex Solis.
Patrick Husbands picked up the mount for the colt’s second start and guided Pyrite Mountain to a dramatic nose win in the Kingarvie Stakes.
Husbands retains the mount and worth noting is that Pyrite Mountain will race with Lasix for the first time.
Racing fans can watch and wager on all of the above events via HorsePlayer Interactive.
CURRENT KENTUCKY DERBY POINT STANDINGS
Rank
Horse
Trainer
Points
1
Ive Struck A Nerve
Keith Desormeaux
51
2
Vyjack
Rudy Rodriguez
50
3
Orb
Shug McGaughey III
50
4
Shanghai Bobby
Todd Pletcher
24
5
Goldencents
Doug O’Neill
24
6
West Hills Giant
John Terranova
20
7
Code West
Bob Baffert
20
8
Oxbow
D. Wayne Lukas
16
9
Speak Logistics
Eddie Plesa Jr.
11
10
Itsmyluckyday
Eddie Plesa, Jr.
10
11
Overanalyze
Todd Pletcher
10
12
Uncaptured
Mark Casse
10
13
Den’s Legacy
Bob Baffert
10
14
Power Broker
Bob Baffert
10
15
Super Ninety Nine
Bob Baffert
10
16
Will Take Charge
D. Wayne Lukas
10
17
Falling Sky
John Terranova
10
t-18
Flashback
Bob Baffert
10
t-18
Revolutionary
Todd Pletcher
10
t-20
Elnaawi
Kiaran McLaughlin
10
t-20
Palace Malice
Todd Pletcher
10
22
Dynamic Sky
Mark Casse
8
23
Siete de Oros
Ramon Preciado
7
24
He’s Had Enough
Doug O’Neill
6
25
Fear The Kitten
Mike Maker
6
26
Tesseron
Josie Carroll
5
27
Majestic Hussar
Eddie Kenneally
5
28
Bern Identity
Kelly Breen
4
29
Capo Bastone
John Sadler
4
UPCOMING KENTUCKY DERBY PREP SCHEDULE
FIRST ROUND OF CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
date race track points (1-2-3-4)
March 9 Tampa Bay Derby Tampa Bay Downs 50-20-10-5
March 9 San Felipe Santa Anita 50-20-10-5
March 16 Rebel Oaklawn Park 50-20-10-5
March 23 Spiral Turfway Park 50-20-10-5
March 24 Sunland Derby Sunland Park 50-20-10-5
SECOND ROUND OF CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
date race track points (1-2-3-4)
March 30 Florida Derby Gulfstream Park 100-40-20-10
March 30 UAE Derby Meydan (Dubai) 100-40-20-10
March 30 Louisiana Derby Fair Grounds 100-40-20-10
April 6 Wood Memorial Aqueduct 100-40-20-10
April 6 Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita 100-40-20-10
April 13 Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park 100-40-20-10
April 13 Blue Grass Keeneland 100-40-20-10
“WILD CARD” RACES
date race track points (1-2-3-4)
April 20 Lexington Keeneland 20-8-4-2
April 27 Derby Trial Churchill Downs 20-8-4-2

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