2015 Tampa Bay Derby Preview
The second Road to the Kentucky Derby race on Saturday, March 7 is the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. Nine horses will compete in the one mile and one sixteenth race on the main track. The Tampa Bay Derby is the eleventh race of the day.
The winner of the race will received 50 points, second place will receive 20 points, third place will receive 10 points, and fourth place will receive 5 points. The points will go towards the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, which is how the 20 starters for the Kentucky Derby are determined.
The purse for the Tampa Bay Derby is $350,000 with post time scheduled for 5:23 PM Eastern Time. Free past performances can be found here.
1. Divining Rod (6-1 Morning Line) – He started his career with a win at Laurel by 2 3/4 lengths before coming down to Tampa in his first turf start. He was third by 2 1/2 lengths and was then entered in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis here at Tampa on January 31. He just missed that win by a neck in a loss to Ocean Knight (the horse to his outside). That was his first start on lasix and he will have a chance to get excellent position, if not take the lead, from this rail post. He has a chance here.
2. Ocean Knight (2-1 ML) – The aforementioned Ocean Knight is a surprise inclusion here in the Tampa Bay Derby. His connections were going to run in the Gotham Stakes, but decided to keep him in Florida. He broke his maiden in his first try by 4 1/4 lengths at Aqueduct going 6 furlongs. He was shipped down to Florida for a start in the Grad 3 Sam F. Davis where he got up to win by a neck over his foe to the inside. He should have a great position in this race just behind the leaders and is the one to beat.
3. Carpe Diem (8-5 ML) – The morning line favorite hails from the barn of Todd Pletcher, but has not been seen in action for four months. He broke his maiden at Saratoga in his debut before stretching out in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. That proved to be no problem, as he won by 6 1/4 lengths. His next, and latest, start was in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he went off as the 9-5 favorite. He made a big move entering the stretch, but was no match for Texas Red finishing second by 6 1/2 lengths. He will take some action, but he may not be 100% cranked up for this race. Still, he deserves to get a serious look on all tickets.
4. Ami’s Flatter (15-1 ML) – Another horse exiting the Sam F. Davis, he was fourth beaten 6 1/2 lengths in that race. He broke his maiden going 7 furlongs at Woodbine in his debut on November 9, 2014. A little break and he came back for the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park where he was second by 1 3/4 lengths. The blinkers and lasix are being add for this race and he is an intriguing long shot possibility if he can rate properly.
5. My Johnny Be Good (15-1 ML) – He was the third place finisher in the Sam F. Davis. He started his career at Arlington Park with a third place finish before breaking his maiden second time out at 7 furlongs. He then went to Keeneland and finished second in an allowance before winning by 14 lengths here at Tampa Bay at the end of 2014. He tried pressuring the pace in the Sam F. Davis, but weakened and finished third. He has never missed the board in his career and always gives his best, but will that be enough here?
6. Souper Colossal (6-1 ML) – He started his career at Monmouth Park going three for three including 2 stakes victories. His fourth start was in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he failed to make an impact finishing 7th by 12 lengths. After a 3 month break, he went to the turf and won the Texas Glitter going 5 furlongs at Gulfstream. The concern here is whether his class level is up to the par of Ocean Knight or Carpe Diem.
7. Great Stuff (20-1 ML) – This guy is still a maiden having finished third in his first two starts and second last time out in his third start. He has come well off the pace in all three starts and missed by a head in his latest race. He will need to up his game considerably to challenge here.
8. Moonlight Bandit (30-1 ML) – After a poor debut at Keeneland (7th by 9 1/4 lengths), he went to Churchill and broke his maiden by 4 1/4 lengths. A try in the Grade 2 Remsen provided no answers to his ability as he struggled to an 11th place finish 26 lengths behind the winner. A try on grass last time out provided a third place finish, but it appears he has not found his niche yet. Pass on his chances.
9. Danzig Moon (12-1 ML) – This highly touted son of Malibu Moon broke his maiden last out at Gulfstream going a mile. He patiently waited until the stretch and drew off to a 4 3/4 length win. He will try to save ground and obtain a good position from this outside post and he can certainly provided some value to the exotics.
#2 Ocean Knight is the horse to beat given his affinity for running on this surface and his running style. #3 Carpe Diem looks like he will be a handful, but has not raced in four months and may need this race. #4 Ami’s Flatter, #5 My Johnny Be Good, and #9 Danzig Moon are all good options to add value underneath while #1 Divining Rod has a chance to pull the upset.
1. Ocean Knight
2. My Johnny Be Good
3. Divining Rod
4. Carpe Diem
Check back on Saturday evening for a recap of the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby.