Stars of Yesterday: Wanting Again at Finest Tampa Bay Derby Winners

The Street to the Kentucky Derby Introduced by Woodford Reserve heads south this Saturday to Tampa Bay Downs, which hosts the $400,000, Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. Along with the profitable purse, this 1 1/16-mile race presents a complete of 100 Derby qualifying factors, with 50 going to the winner, 20 to second, 15 to 3rd, 10 to fourth, and 5 to fifth.

The Tampa Bay Derby was first held in 1981. It was a Grade 3 occasion from 1984 to 1989, and returned to Grade 3 standing in 2002. In 2011, it was upgraded to a Grade 2. It has at all times been contested at 1 1/16 miles.

Right here, we’ll have a look again at a few of the greatest Tampa Bay Derby winners.

Road Sense (2007)

This darkish bay son of Road Cry entered the 2007 Derby path with historical past in opposition to him. The earlier November, he received the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by 10 lengths with a dramatic transfer on the rail. On the time, no horse had received each the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby. As such, many observers have been skeptical Road Sense might win the Derby, even if his spectacular Juvenile win got here at Churchill Downs, the identical monitor that will host the Derby six months later.

Coach Carl Nafzger, who beforehand received the Derby in 1990 with Unbridled, determined to begin Road Sense’s 3-year-old marketing campaign within the Tampa Bay Derby. Six horses lined up in opposition to him that day, however just one appeared like a severe risk on paper. Any Given Saturday received the Sam F. Davis Stakes by 2 ¾ lengths as the favourite in his prior begin, and was beforehand second within the Kentucky Jockey Membership Stakes. The Todd Pletcher trainee went off because the 7-10 favourite, whereas Road Sense was the 6-5 second selection. Nobody else within the race went off at lower than 20.10-1.

Longshots All I Can Get and Most Distinguished set trustworthy fractions, whereas Any Given Saturday rated simply off of them in third. Road Sense sat in fourth, about seven lengths off the leaders by way of a half-mile. As the sector rounded the far flip, Any Given Saturday made his transfer after the pacesetters, and jockey Calvin Borel started to ask the 2-year-old champion for run on the identical level. Getting into the stretch, Road Sense got here up the rail and appeared able to run away, however Any Given Saturday fought again on the skin and wouldn’t relinquish management simply. The 2 dueled down the stretch in an epic stretch battle, however Road Sense finally prevailed by a nostril. His time of 1:43.11 for 1 1/16 miles established a brand new monitor report.

Regardless of a second-place end within the Blue Grass Stakes subsequent out, and the so-called “Juvenile Jinx” hanging over him, Road Sense was slight 4.90-1 favourite within the Derby. He got here from 19 ½ lengths again to win by 2 ½ lengths, saving each little bit of floor till Calvin “Bo-Rail” wheeled him out on the high of the stretch to glide previous Arduous Spun. Road Sense grew to become the primary horse to finish the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-Kentucky Derby combo.

Musket Man (2009)

Musket Man began his profession an ideal 3-for-3 for homeowners Eric Fein and Vic Carlson and coach Derek Ryan, together with a win within the Pasco Stakes within the first begin of his 3-year-old season. He then tasted defeat for the primary time within the Sam F. Davis, ending third after sitting close to the tempo.

Regardless of that loss, Musket Man pressed on to the Tampa Bay Derby, the place he was the 5.90-1 third betting selection. Very like within the Sam F. Davis, jockey Daniel Centeno stored him near the leaders whereas racing a number of paths off the within. He was behind horses getting into the stretch, however angled out into concerning the five-path and commenced to make his transfer.

Within the stretch, 35.60-1 shot Be part of within the Dance began to drag clear and it appeared as if an upset was within the works. Nevertheless, Musket Man closed with a full head of steam, and received up in the previous few jumps to win by a neck.

Musket Man remained in wonderful type over his subsequent few begins. In his final race earlier than the Kentucky Derby, he received the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne by two lengths. That victory made him one of many favorites for the run for the roses. He ran effectively however completed third within the Derby behind stunning 50.60-1 winner Mine That Chicken – however solely a nostril behind runner-up Pioneerof the Nile – and adopted that race with one other third-place efficiency within the Preakness Stakes. Though Musket Man didn’t win a graded stakes race as a 4-year-old in 2010, he completed second or third in a single 5 occasions, his greatest effort a nostril defeat within the Grade 1 Carter Handicap.

Verrazano (2013)

Verrazano made a robust first impression. In his debut in a maiden particular weight race on New 12 months’s Day at Gulfstream Park, he handily received by 7 ¼ lengths. After he posted a first-level allowance non-compulsory claiming win subsequent out at Gulfstream, Coolmore-backed Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier and Derrick Smith bought partial possession in Verrazano from Let’s Go Secure. Todd Pletcher then despatched the promising colt to the Tampa Bay Derby for his stakes debut and his third profession begin. The hype was overwhelming, as Verrazano went off because the 1-5 favourite within the nine-horse subject. Just one different horse within the race went off at lower than 10-1.

John Velazquez gave Verrazano an awesome journey, ranking him simply off chief Falling Sky within the early levels. Simply earlier than the half-mile level, Velazquez moved his mount to the entrance and took the lead with out a lot bother. Falling Sky stored him one path off the within, however that didn’t decelerate Verrazano, who drew off within the stretch and received by three lengths.

After that win, Verrazano was hailed as one of many high Derby prospects, and his standing solely grew following a three-quarter size win within the Wooden Memorial Stakes. He was the fourth selection in Orb’s Kentucky Derby, however stopped after urgent the tempo and completed 14th on a sloppy monitor.

Verrazano loved success later in his 3-year-old season, profitable the Haskell Invitational Stakes going away a number of weeks after the Derby. As a 4-year-old, Verrazano competed in Europe for coach Aiden O’Brien, and hit the board in Group 1 competitors twice.

Ring Weekend (2014)

This chestnut son of Tapit had by no means raced in stakes firm earlier than the 2014 Tampa Bay Derby. Coming in off a win in a maiden particular weight race at Gulfstream Park, the Graham Movement trainee went off at 14-1 in a wide-open subject of 10 horses.

Daniel Centeno had the mount on Ring Weekend for the primary time at Tampa. Breaking from the within put up, Centeno despatched him to the early lead and shortly established management. Regardless of quick fractions, together with a 23.06 second quarter-mile, Ring Weekend solely received stronger as the sector rounded the far flip. He opened up a five-length lead and left the remainder of his rivals reeling. The ultimate margin was a never-in-doubt three lengths.

Following that breakthrough win, Ring Weekend bypassed the Kentucky Derby in favor of the Preakness Stakes, however in his Preakness prep at Calder Race Course on April 5, he misplaced by a stunning 9 ¾ lengths because the 3-10 favourite. That made him a 30.10-1 longshot within the second leg of the Triple Crown, and he had a turbulent journey at Pimlico and completed a well-beaten fifth. Not lengthy after the Preakness, Ring Weekend started racing nearly completely on turf, and he excelled on the floor. He received 5 graded stakes races on grass, together with the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes at Santa Anita Park in 2015. His profession earnings finally totaled greater than $1.5 million.

Tapwrit (2017)

With a stakes win and a stakes inserting below his belt, Tapwrit had the look of a 3-year-old enhancing on the proper time getting into the 2017 Tampa Bay Derby. The grey Todd Pletcher trainee received the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 10, 2016, and adopted that efficiency with a second-place end within the Sam F. Davis Stakes, overwhelmed 1 ½ lengths by favored McCracken. Primarily based on these races, Tapwrit was the 11-10 favourite within the 10-horse Tampa Bay Derby.

Breaking from put up place 5, Tapwrit briefly raced broad however then made his strategy to the within and rated in direction of the again of the pack. As the sector rounded the far flip, Jose Ortiz requested his mount for run between horses, and Tapwrit responded with authority. He engulfed early chief State of Honor and sprinted clear within the stretch to win by 4 ½ lengths.

Though he dissatisfied in his subsequent two begins, together with a sixth-place end within the Kentucky Derby with a tough journey, Tapwrit bounced again in an enormous approach within the Belmont Stakes. He chased down pacesetter Irish Battle Cry and prevailed by two lengths, turning into the second Tampa Bay Derby winner to win a Triple Crown race.

Tacitus (2019)

The 2019 Tampa Bay Derby marked Tacitus’s stakes debut for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms. The grey son of Tapit out of champion Shut Hatches broke his maiden at Aqueduct the earlier November by a neck, and was off for a number of months after that race. Within the Tampa Bay Derby, he went off because the 8.90-1 fifth selection in a subject that included future Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston and eventual Grade 1 winner Win Win Win.

Tacitus rated a number of paths off the rail in mid-pack early on whereas the leaders set quick early fractions. That setup proved ripe for the Invoice Mott trainee, as he churned on within the stretch and pulled clear within the final sixteenth to win by 1 ½ lengths.

Tacitus received the Wooden Memorial Stakes in his subsequent begin, and completed third, elevated from fourth due to Most Safety’s disqualification, within the Kentucky Derby. He added on a number of extra placings in graded stakes firm in the remainder of his 3-year-old season, together with runner-up efforts within the Belmont Stakes, the Jim Dandy Stakes, and the Travers Stakes. As a 4-year-old in 2020, Tacitus added one other graded stakes win to his résumé when he received the Suburban Stakes. Tacitus retired in fall 2021 with a profession bankroll of over $3.7 million.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *