logical choice in Tampa Bay Derby, but The Money Master beckons
2017 Tampa Bay Derby-G2, Race 11, Tampa Bay Downs, Saturday, March 11, 2017
3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16-miles, Dirt, Purse: $350,000
Tapwrit is the logical choice to win the 37th running of the Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday, but he probably doesn't have a whole lot of room for error. Improvement is expected as he makes his second start as a 3-year-old after a runner-up finish in the Sam F. Davis-G3 at Tampa Bay a month ago.
Top jockey Jose Ortiz will again be in the saddle for trainer Todd Pletcher and the race should set up perfectly for him. Tapwrit had a decent trip from the inside in the Davis and made a late surge, but he was never going to beat tough guy McCraken. There's enough speed in this race to set up his late rally again and with a clean trip he's the horse to beat.
Any combination of Sonic Mule, State of Honor, Beasley and Basha could show up on the front end in here. Sonic Mule exits the tough Swale Stakes-G2 at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs on February 4 and he could likely make the lead if he wanted to, but he can also rate. He could end up pressing State of Honor and going by that one into the stretch, only to succumb to the ralliers late.
While Tapwrit is the logical choice, there are a few angle-play longshots that could rally into the money assuming the speed horses cancel each other out turning for home.
Tale of Silence and No Dozing both ran in last year's Remsen-G2. Tale of Silence finished sixth in the race while No Dozing finished second with a decent rally. Tale of Silence recently rallied up the rail in a sprint at Gulfstream Park and could possibly sneak into the lower spots in the superfecta today.
No Dozing is more interesting. He made his first start since November 26 on February 11 in the Sam F. Davis and stalked outside before fading in the stretch with no air. He now has a tightener in him and could improve enough to rally into the money.
Wild Shot made a decent move in the Sam F. Davis to finish fourth in his first start since finishing second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes-G2 at Churchill Downs on November 26 last year. He has never really run a bad race and is expected to improve in this race, hence his 5-1 morning line odds.
Our flyer in here is The Money Monster, who gets a trainer switch to elite conditioner Bill Mott and a rider switch to Joel Rosario. Mott may not have had this horse long enough to make a difference, but he's certainly capable of improving on any trainer.
The Money Monster is an undefeated 2-for-2 and stretches out off a victory in the seven furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay on January 21. In that race he looked like he might get beat late, but he made a similar surge to the one Tapwrit made to turn back a challenge in deep stretch.
Tapwrit is the logical winner, so we'll use him as a key in our trifectas and superfectas in the top two spots. We'll also be hoping the speed caves turning for home and one of the longshot ralliers finishes first or second. We'll use Tale of Silence, No Dozing, Wild Shot, Sonic Mule and The Money Monster first and second in the exotic wagers with Tapwrit.
We'll also make a small win-place bet on The Money Monster based on the trainer switch, and wheel that one up and down in a small exacta wheel with all, just in case Mott pulls a rabbit from his hat.
We like magic.
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