Spa City can spring upset in Tampa Bay Derby

The Grade II, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby, another important stepping stone toward the Kentucky Derby, takes place this Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. The 1 1/16th-mile heat drew 12 runners looking for their share of 85 Kentucky Derby points. Estimated post time for the Tampa Bay Derby, Race 11 of 12 on Saturday, is 5:32 p.m. ET.

#2 SPA CITY (10-1) was last seen breaking his maiden stylishly in a 1 1/8-mile event at Gulfstream. #9 UNRIGHTEOUS (20-1) fought him throughout the stretch run but never gained an inch. The speed figure SPA CITY earned last time out stamps him as a legitimate contender in the Tampa Bay Derby. Daniel Centeno takes over in the saddle.

#4 CHANCE IT (5-2) resurfaces here after scratching out of last week’s Fountain of Youth due to a bad draw. It would not be surprising if he runs well in the Tampa Bay Derby from post four. CHANCE IT has four wins in his first six starts, including his recent triumph in Gulfstream’s Mucho Macho Man Stakes. He beat Tampa Bay Derby favorite SOLE VOLANTE there by 2 1/2-lengths. CHANCE IT will have Paco Lopez aboard.

#7 SOLE VOLANTE (2-1, morning-line favorite) was an impressive winner of last month’s Sam F. Davis Stakes over this course, but he was gifted a very fast pace to close into. He’ll be hoping for a similar setup under Florent Geroux on Saturday. That might be the only way SOLE VOLANTE turns the tables on CHANCE IT.

#5 MARKET ANALYSIS (8-1) moves up if there’s a scratch. He was jockey John Velazquez’s choice over fellow Todd Pletcher trainee #1 TEXAS SWING (12-1). He spots seasoning to this field having only run once, but it was a solid victory going seven furlongs at Gulfstream.

The play: $10 win 2  

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