The Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs
for three-year old thoroughbreds. The 12 entries in this race will cover 1 1/16 miles on dirt and
the prize purse is $400,000. As a Kentucky Derby prep race, they will compete for qualifying
points in the top four places.
The Tampa Bay Derby has my favorite, a trio of legitimate contenders and a live longshot to
watch in this race.
Tapit Trice is a Kentucky-bred colt that has raced for Whisper Hill Farms and Gainesway Stable.
As a 8-5 favorite, he is trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by jockey Luis Saez out of the No. 6
gate. As a son of Tapit, he kicked off his three-year career with a win in the one-mile Allowance
race at Gulfstream Park. Tapit Trice has the speed to go start to finish to lead this race.
Three Legitimate Contenders
My first legitimate contender at 10-1 odds is Shesterkin after finishing second to Tapit Trice in
the race at Gulfstream. His competitive racing has been at Florida tracks with his victory in his
two-year campaign at Gulfstream in a seven-furlong sprint. Making his way to Tampa Bay
Downs, Shesterkin is stepping up in distance and grade. However, his pedigree as a son of
Violence will get him into the money in this race starting at No. 9.
Trained by William Mott, Classic Legacy is another one of strong contenders with a rating of
6.15 from Horse Racing Nation and 6-1 odds on the morning line. He is starting at the No. 3
gate with Irad Ortiz Jr. as his jockey. Classic Legacy finished fourth in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis
Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 11 after winning a seven-furlong sprint at Aqueduct last
December as a juvenile. He has raced at Belmont Park, Saratoga and Aqueduct in New York
before making his way down to Tampa Bay Downs.
After placing third in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, Classic Car Wash has 8-1 odds for the Tampa
Bay Derby. He is trained by Mark Casse and the three-old gelding will start in the second gate
with jockey Emisael Jaramillo. Classic Car Wash won at Gulfstream Park as the three-year-old
in 1 mile and 70 yards on turf in an Allowance race on Jan. 6.
A Live Longshot
At 20-1 odds, the live long shot is Dreaming of Kona. Despite finishing seventh in the Sam F.
Davis Stakes, he has a rating of 6.07 from HRN heading into this race. Trained by Aldana
Spieth and ridden by jockey Scott Spieth, the three-year-old colt is breaking from the No. 8 gate
in the Tampa Bay Derby. Dreaming of Kona has raced more than the mile on dirt, and he should
be right in line with the leaders for the backstretch of this race.
Remember, you can get Kenneth Strong’s expert horse racing picks for Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Sanita Anaita, and more by clicking here
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