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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

It’s All Happening at Tampa Bay Downs

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 57

I have been to approximately forty thoroughbred racetracks in my life, and it is always a thrill to add a new one to the resume. It is especially pleasurable when the new track for me turns out to be a hidden gem. Ladies and gentleman, Tampa Bay Downs is that and more. I visited a few days ago, and I was thoroughly impressed with the quaint grounds, fan friendliness, full fields, and laid back atmosphere. Tampa Bay Downs is definitely a keeper. Tomorrow I will witness one of my new favorites in full flight, as the small Oldsmar oval hosts their marquee event, the Tampa Bay Derby.

The question for most Kentucky Derby watchers for months now has been whether or not champion Uncle Mo would show up on the Gulf Coast to try to take the same Kentucky Derby winning path of recent Tampa Bay Derby contestants, Street Sense, and Super Saver. The answer is no. No Mo.

Sans Mo, we move on, and I will have no problem getting excited for this edition of The Tampa Bay Derby. Most eyes will be on the undefeated half-brother of Super Saver, Brethren. Brethren has been sharp in three wins in three starts to date. The three victories came at three different racetracks and at three different distances, and the son of Distorted Humor has yet to be fully extended. While he has run fast as a juvenile, detractors are quick to point out that Brethren’s last win, the Sam F Davis at Tampa, was run in mediocre time. Those detractors, as well as, bettors looking for value, will try to beat Brethren tomorrow … I will not.

To me this race is all about Brethren. His last win was easy as could be, and while there are a few interesting colts in the field such as Free Entry, Too Experience, and Economic Summit, I feel none of them are ready to handle the unblemished colt from the Pletcher barn. Brethren (currently #4 on HRN's 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders) may not happen to be the best undefeated colt in that barn, but he still is one of the most promising young colts in the nation. I look for him to impress again tomorrow. From a betting standpoint, I will use him confidently in multi-race wagers that Tampa Bay Downs offers liberally.

And if the big race is not enough, the Tampa Bay Derby undercard includes three other races of strong interest. The Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes offers up a well matched field of hard knocking turf fillies, including one of my personal favorites, Askbut I Won’ttell. Meanwhile, the Suncoast Stakes features the long awaited return of huge maiden winner Royal Delta, who will make her second lifetime start against nine other sophomore fillies running one mile and 40 yards. Finally, there will be a Breeders’ Cup champion running at Tampa after all, as Pluck, the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner, will return on Saturday with a new trainer. Running for Graham Motion, the son of More Than Ready has picked a grassy allowance race to launch his three-year-old season.

As you can see, Mo, or no Mo, it’s all happening tomorrow at Tampa Bay Downs!


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Older Comments about It’s All Happening at Tampa Bay Downs...

You are starting to scare me, Mike ... our choices are virtually a perfect match, although Belmont, Monmouth and Delaware all deserve a happy mention.
Having visited many tracks across the US I would definitely put Tampa Bay Downs in my Top 5. Driving up to that track for the first time I didn't know what to expect. I thought that track might actually be in someone's back yard as I drove on the two lane road through a residential area to get there. Super friendly people, bright, clean, great views of the track. Great place to spend a day with the ponies. My top five tracks for atmosphere are Del Mar, Saratoga, Keeneland, Arlington Park and Tampa Bay Downs. For puring racing it would be Saratoga, Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Santa Anita
Thanks Cigar! Moonhanger, eh Scott? As long as Brethren wins for my Pick 4, I'm happy.
Brethren faces a pretty soft group tomorrow... he'll likely win (no guarantees) and the hype train will roll! Have fun at Tampa!
Brethren-Moonhanger straight exacta.. Will be playing it hard! :)

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website, and co-hosts the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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