Precious Kentucky Derby points are at stake in Saturday’s Grade II, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby. Fifty points will be awarded to the winner of Tampa Bay Downs’ richest race, down to five points to fourth. A field of 11 has been entered for this 1 1/16th-mile test going at 5:20 p.m. EST, though scratches are expected. The Tampa Bay Derby runs as Race 11 of 12 on a stakes-laden card. In addition to watching and wagering, be sure to get involved in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#5 FLAMEAWAY (3-1, morning-line favorite) lulled the Sam F. Davis field to sleep last time out but will probably not enjoy similar fortune in the Tampa Bay Derby. WORLD OF TROUBLE, among others, will likely challenge FLAMEAWAY and Jose Lezcano for the lead. Should that come to pass, VINO ROSSO is the most likely entrant to take advantage of the circumstances.
#3 VINO ROSSO (4-1) was gaining late despite having little pace to work with in the Sam F. Davis. He has developed nicely for Todd Pletcher and retains John Velazquez, who chose not to travel west to ride World Approval in the Kilroe Mile. That is a big vote of confidence in VINO ROSSO, who could improve wearing blinkers for the first time.
#8 WORLD OF TROUBLE (5-1) takes a big step up in class today but was an emphatic winner of Tampa’s Pasco Stakes last time out, cruising by over 13 lengths, and attracts Irad Ortiz Jr. We’ll see just how fast Ortiz Jr. will allow him to go early; he’s set some blazing tempos in his first three starts to date, all sprints. His pedigree doesn’t suggest route running will be to his liking, but WORLD OF TROUBLE is too talented to ignore.
#2 TIZ MISCHIEF (8-1) was a distant third in the Holy Bull Stakes last time out. However, the competition appears to be a bit easier here and he may also enjoy the benefit of a fast early pace. Joel Rosario ships in for the assignment.
The play: $10 win 3
DFJ analysis: John Velazquez should have a fine day at Tampa Bay riding mainly for Todd Pletcher, who has amazingly hit the board with all 13 runners he’s sent to the Oldsmar, FL oval this season. Jockey and trainer will team up on five different runners this Saturday, chief among them VINO ROSSO. Of those five, two are favored, and all are 4-1 or below on the morning-line.
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