Tampa Bay Derby
The Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, inaugurated in 1981, has become the marquee race at Tampa Bay Downs. In recent years, the race has increased in popularity, resulting in its elevation to Grade 2 status in 2011, and regularly attracts some of the nation’s top Triple Crown contenders. The Tampa Bay Derby is currently run for a purse of $350,000, and is listed as an official Kentucky Derby prep race with points awarded to the first through fourth place finishers on the 50-20-10-5 scale, placing it in the middle tier of the tri-leveled point system. The race has been run at the mile and one sixteenth distance since its inception.
In 2007 eventual Kentucky Derby winner, Street Sense, began his three year-old campaign in the Tampa Derby after winning the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Champion Two Year-Old Colt Eclipse Award. He was matched against top Kentucky Derby hopeful Any Given Saturday. Both colts were heavily-backed by the betting public in what was essentially a match race. The pair delivered a thrilling stretch duel with Street Sense emerging as the narrow winner in a photo finish. Street Sense went on to win the Run for the Roses and the Grade 1 Travers, while Any Given Saturday dominated the Grade 1 Haskell in the summer. The 2007 race would solidify the Tampa Bay Derby’s position as a high-profile Kentucky Derby prep race.
Other notable Triple Crown and Kentucky Derby hopefuls to win the Tampa Derby include Limehouse (2004) and Sun King (2005). Limehouse finished a credible fourth in the 2004 Kentucky Derby behind Smarty Jones, while Sun King ran a disappointing 15th. Both colts would continue to compete at the highest levels of racing throughout their careers. In 2008, War Pass attempted to follow the path of Street Sense, running in the Tampa Derby after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Two Year-Old Colt of the Year. Sent to post at odds of 1/9, the undefeated War Pass ran inexplicably poor, finishing last in the five horse field as Big Truck earned the upset victory. Big Truck went on to finish 18th in the Kentucky Derby, and War Pass ran second in the Wood Memorial before scratching from the Kentucky Derby.
Street Sense’s scintillating time of 1:43.11 in 2007 represents the stakes and track record for a mile and one sixteenth. No jockey, trainer or owner has won the Tampa Derby more than twice. Trainers Todd Pletcher and Graham Motion each have two Tampa Derby wins, while four different jockeys – Richard Migliore, Pat Day, Eibar Coa, and Daniel Centeno – have a pair of wins. Eric Fein is the only owner with two wins, recording consecutive victories with Big Truck in 2008 and Musket Man in 2009.
Tampa Bay Derby Betting Odds
There was no surprise when Carpe Diem seized the day to win the 2015 Tampa Bay Derby at even-money odds, but few expected both Ami's Flatter (14-1) and Divining Rod (9-1) to both crack the top three and fill out the exotic tickets to the tune of $40.40 for the $2 exacta, and $147.20 for the $2 trifecta. Putting a strong favorite on top of a couple live longshots is one of the best ways to cash big payouts, and those payouts get even bigger when you collect cash back and other bonuses when wagers are placed through an online racebook like Bovada, our #1 choice.
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2017 Tampa Bay Derby Contenders
Heading into the 2016 edition of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), there were several questions that needed to be answered. Was Grade 1 winner Brody’s Cause, the post time favorite, sharp enough off of a five-month layoff to have an impact? Was Destin, the well-bred winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3), the real deal?
Destin answered his question with an emphatic “yes”. Despite a bump at the start, he relaxed comfortably and stalked the pace set by his stablemate, Outwork, who was making his first start around two-turns. Destin seized the lead at the top of the stretch and kicked clear to win by one length while Outwork resiliently held on to finish second.
Destin is a full-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Creative Cause. His next start is undecided but could likely be the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
2016 Order of Finish: Win Place Show
1st: Destin $9.20 $4.80 $3.60
2nd Outwork $5.20 $4.20
3rd: Star Hill $6.80
(Also Ran: Rafting, Tale of S’avall, Riker, Brody’s Cause, Awesome Banner, Economic Model Scratched horses: Morning Fire)
Check back closer to the race for the contenders for the 2017 Tampa Bay Derby!