Tampa Bay Downs runs an excellent all-stakes pick-5 on Saturday that wraps up with the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, the biggest race of their meeting.
Let’s take a look at the sequence, which begins on race 7 at 3:15 pm.
Race 7 (Columbia Stakes) – This is a turf mile for three year olds and we like #2 Captivating Moon (5-1) for trainer Chris Block. His prep for this was very good as he closed well into a slow pace after being slammed at the start. His other previous turf start was a strong close to win on debut at Arlington. #7 Gidu (2-1) is the obvious favorite and ran very well tracking a solid pace behind a good rival in Speed Franco last time in the Dania Beach at Gulfstream. We do want to use #9 Street Copper (8-1) on the ticket after he was compromised by a slow pace last time and two-back ran into the impressive Maraud, who last week won the Palm Beach at Gulfstream. We’ll throw in #5 John Tipmann (15-1), who was a good second to the talented Snapper Sinclair behind a moderate pace at Kentucky Downs in his lone other turf start.
A – 2, 7
B – 9
C – 5
Race 8 (Challenger) – This is an 8.5 furlong dirt race for older horses and the favorite is #7 War Story (8-5), who drops out of the Pegasus and is prepping for the Charles Town Classic next month. He’ll be coming late and can obviously win but this race might be a bit more complicated than just him. #5 Jay’s Way (3-1) was tremendously game in the Sunshine Millions Classic in January and then was cooked in a fast pace in a race won by Page McKenney on February 17th at Gulfstream. As a C, we’ll use #3 Rafting (4-1), who is cycling forward for Graham Motion with back to back wins over the track after missing nearly two years.
A – 5, 7
B – none
C – 3
Race 9 (G2 Hillsborough) – This is the best race of the day and we’re using three. #2 Off Limits (3-1) won the G1 Matriarch last time for Chad Brown, though got a sensational ride from Joel Rosario. She got very good over the last few months of last year. #9 La Coronel (5-2) ran an enormous race last time, missing the break and then rallying well as impressive winner Dona Bruja was left alone setting a slow pace. Finally, #10 Proctor’s Ledge (8-1) comes off the bench but ran two big races at Saratoga last year. Trainer Brendan Walsh is excellent off layoffs.
A – 2, 9
B – 10
C – none
Race 10 (G3 Florida Oaks) – Chad Brown sends out two, but the one we want the most is #2 Altea (7-2) who gets Lasix and Jose Ortiz. She won once in five starts overseas, but caught soft turf a few times and logically seeks out firm turf here in the United States. She beat Fatale Bere in France last September and that one won a stakes at Santa Anita before having a hopelessly wide trip in the Breeders Cup. Brown also sends out #12 Salsa Bella (4-1), but that one is drawn way outside and we thought had a good trip last time behind Thewayiam, who had a great trip and returned to win last week at Gulfstream. We’ll use Salsa Bella but only as a backup. #7 Cash Out (10-1) maybe needed her first start of the year for Rusty Arnold and last year ran a decent third behind Rushing Fall in the Jessamine at Keeneland. #5 Andina del Sur (8-1) has been beaten by Thewayiam twice in a row, but is now third off the bench and had to go wide two-back while that one saved ground. She was a little flat late in the last race but we’ll give her another chance.
A – 2, 5
B – 7
C – 12
Race 11 – You can read our write-up of the Tampa Bay Derby here. But we are not using the favorite Flameaway and will live and die with Tiz Mischief and Vino Rosso.
A – 2, 3
B – none
C – none
The Play – The play on 50-cent tickets (5A, 4A/1B, 3A/2B, 4A/1C) is $76.