The Grade II, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby, the centerpiece race of the year at Tampa Bay Downs, takes place this Saturday. The 1 1/16th-mile heat drew a field of 11 seeking valuable Kentucky Derby points. Fifty will go to the winner, down to five for finishing fourth. Post time for the Tampa Bay Derby is 5:25 p.m. EST; it’s the 11th of 12 races on the program.
#7 WIN WIN WIN (5-2, morning-line favorite) gets the nod to ace his route debut in the Tampa Bay Derby. The Michael Trombetta trainee was much the best in Tampa’s Pasco Stakes when last seen, winning by over seven lengths. WIN WIN WIN has fired back-to-back bullets for his first start since that January romp. Irad Ortiz Jr. takes over today, which should aid his cause. WIN WIN WIN could lay close or drop back if the pace heats up. He’s lost just one race, which occurred after a slow break, and has gradually improved with every start.
#5 WELL DEFINED (7-2) is expected to be the pacesetter in the Tampa Bay Derby. He loped along up front on a slow pace in the Sam F. Davis when last seen and had plenty left in the tank to stave off Kentucky Wildcat. If both WIN WIN WIN and #11 ZENDEN leave WELL DEFINED alone early on, the Sam F. Davis result could be repeated. However, that doesn’t seem likely.
#10 TACITUS (12-1) is the best guess for third in what seems like an open scramble for the minor spoils. The regally-bred son of Tapit out of the multiple Grade I-winning mare Close Hatches gets Lasix for his first start against winners and first try at age three. TACITUS’ speed figures need improvement if he wants to win, but Jose Ortiz sees fit to stay aboard. The Bill Mott trainee is working steadily for his first start since November.
The play: $10 win 7
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