The Tampa Bay Derby (G2)
1 & 1/16 Miles on Dirt for Three-Year-Olds
Post Time: 2:20 PM PST
Analysis by Michael Patricks
Took a substantial beating in last week’s analysis as my Fountain of Youth selections were anything but inspiring. Good Magic was quite ordinary as an odds-on favorite and I paid the piper in the name of Ben Franklin for that poor choice. The race itself only reinforced my philosophy of trying to beat the chalk whenever I can. I don’t mind getting beat, when I go down in flames with all the other chalk-eating weasels out there, it really gets to me. Back to Sinatra and trying to do it “my way” once again.
This week I will examine the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. The race drew a field of 11 with two entrants expected to scratch and run in the Gotham: Enticed and Free Drop Billy. In the interests of time, I will assume they’re withdrawal from the race, but make sure their defections are confirmed before you start to getting trigger-happy at the windows like Dirty Harry.
1-Arazi Like Move 50/1 ML– Anyone who saw the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile quickly realizes that’s about where the comparisons stop between these two horses. He made a bold inside move running with Maiden 40’s in his debut and has been stuck on minor awards since. He’s been mopping up against cheaper and puts the Blinkers on today which really shouldn’t make much of a difference; confirmed also-ran.
2-Tiz Mischief 8/1 ML– Ran like a horse who really needed the race in the Holy Bull. His runner-up effort to Enticed and placing in front of Promises Fulfilled in the Kentucky Jockey Club suddenly looks pretty decent after Promises Fulfilled took the Fountain of Youth at a healthy number last Saturday. It’s a coin flip whether he steps forward or backwards in this spot and perhaps the shake-up to Rosario might wake him up a bit. Don’t like that he was so far back with the rest of the also-rans in the Holy Bull so I’m going to make him beat me.
3-Vino Rosso 4/1 ML– Blinkers go on Saturday for the Curlin colt who is still figuring this game out. He dropped back in the Sam F. Davis only to be resurgent in the stretch and eventually gallop out on top. Pletcher is very tough with this equipment angle and he’s won this race in 2004, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. If Vino Rosso doesn’t over race with the hood on then he should be an extremely tough to deal with in the lane; solid fit who should be in the 5/2 ball park at post time.
4-Grandpa Knows Best 30/1 ML– The Beyers look a bit light but keep in mind those were accomplished at two and this is his first start as a three-year-old. It’s a big ask to take on sharp horses in your graded-stakes debut off a four-month respite, but he’s got potential to grow up and take a step forward on Saturday. He races without Lasix which is interesting, and as a result, I’m of the mind to believe he might need this race before really stepping forward. Tipping Grandpa and all the other gamblers will know best by keeping their money safely in their pockets as far as backing him goes; outsider.
5-Flameaway 3/1 ML– Nice score at 10/1 in the Sam F. Davis and all of the sudden you’re getting a hot horse who likes the surface from a very capable outfit as the morning line favorite. He has done his best running while being forced along like a P.O.W. fearing capture on the front end. Some horses simply do their best work when they’re under pressure–whereas others fold up like a cheap suit in those moments of truth. Catholic Boy had dead aim on him and couldn’t get by last time out, but now Flameaway has to deal with World of Trouble and Vino Rosso who should definitely be nipping at his heels. If you missed the wedding at 10/1 last time out (as I did), don’t go to the funeral at 9/5 on Saturday (as I’ve done in the past); demand value if you’re banking on the repeat.
6-Enticed (Will be scratched and run in the Gotham)
7-Free Drop Billy (Will be scratched and run in the Gotham)
8-Word of Trouble 5/1 ML– He likes to run unbridled and has been able to stay out of trouble in his races by doing so. World of Trouble pummeled his competition in the Pasco here in January, and lures big money rider Irad Ortiz into town to take the call. With the expected scratches taking place, that will put him right next to Flameaway and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that one let this guy go out there so the racing world can see what he’s made of. This barn has massive numbers on the stretch out, off the layoff, and bats .290 overall. He’ll have his supporters for sure but with just two works in between races…I’m going to make him beat me; catch him to cash.
9-Untamed Domain 6/1 ML– Wild-card horse. All his races have come on turf, so the question naturally becomes whether he can perform on dirt. Racing fans looking at his pedigree can see the Animal Kingdom influence in him and should also recall the parallels in surface switch that benefitted his sire in order to win the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Graham Motion has had great success going turf to dirt and he’s been training over the local strip. Any horse that can come home behind Mendelssohn as a two-year-old that’s beaten just a length is a serious race horse. He stepped forward big time in his second start in his career, and I expect a big effort in his second start off the layoff as a three-year-old in the Tampa Bay Derby; player.
10-Quip 20/1 ML– Hails from a somewhat obscure barn but he’s shown that he can run and this is not an impossible spot for him. His last race came in the Kentucky Jockey Club behind Tiz Mischief and Promises Fulfilled and he was sent off at 7/1 in a 14-horse field, so he was solidly respected as a juvenile. The work tab is sparkling and consistent and he has a big money rider that knows him in Florent Geroux. If he steps forward in his 2018 bow he can definitely be a factor in this race. With the two scratches expected, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see his price cut in half; long shot potential.
11-Caloric 50/1 ML– 50 to 1 shots book end the starting gate and this runner looks like he’ll be in no man’s land leaving the club house turn. He’s got some speed but his last couple tries against maiden claimers and $16,000 sellers are canyons below this level of competition. Pletcher gave up on him after just one start and tossed him in for $25,000 after having paid $190,000 at auction. Half-mile breeze off the claim at the Classic Mile training center isn’t enough to tempt me into the empty calories; he’s 8/5 to run last since Arazi Like Move should blow by him like a freight train passing a hobo nearing the ¼ pole.