Kentucky Derby 2018 trail: Tampa Bay Derby odds, analysis

Saturday’s Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby marks the last 2018 Kentucky Derby 2018 prep hosted by Tampa Bay Downs this year and is no doubt the biggest, offering up qualifying points on a 50-20-10-5 basis to the Top 4 finishers.

Returning for the 1 1/16-mile race is Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Flameaway, who will be up against the improving Vino Rosso as well as speedster World of Trouble. Note that both Free Drop Billy and Enticed were cross-entered in the Grade 3 Gotham and able to travel to New York following a midweek snowstorm. They will instead run at Aqueduct.

It's likely a Tampa Bay Derby win guarantees a horse a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs on a massive weekend that also includes the Grade 2 San Felipe at Santa Anita Park.

 Related odds and analysis: San Felipe | Gotham Stakes

Here’s a look at the field with odds reflecting the two anticipated scratches:

1.) Arazi Like Move, 25-1 (Graydar – Aldana Gonzalez/Scott Spieth – 5:1-2-0 – $34,540): Aside from a debut win in maiden claiming company, the best Arazi Like Move has managed is a second-place finish behind Prince Lucky in the allowance ranks and another runner-up finish in the Inaugural Stakes behind Tricks to Doo. Big step up here.

2.) Tiz Mischief, 6-1 (Into Mischief – Dale Romans/Joel Rosario – 5:1-2-1 – $121,600): Tiz Mischief followed up his head loss in the Kentucky Jockey Club with a distant third in the Holy Bull, beaten 13 ¼ lengths. He’s yet to pick up a stakes win and is currently sitting in 22nd on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. Must improve to factor.

3.) Vino Rosso, 3-1 (Curlin – Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez – 3:2-0-1 – $68,000): Undefeated in his first two starts, he closed with a good charge to claim third in the Sam F. Davis, 1 1/4 lengths behind Flameaway. Vino Rosso has come from off the pace in all three starts to date. If the speed falls apart, he could be right there to catch the pacesetters. Pletcher has also won four of the last five Tampa Bay Derbys. Last year he won with Tapwrit, who became the Belmont Stakes victor three months later. Will benefit from more experience this round.

4.) Grandpa Knows Best, 20-1 (More Than Ready – Kenny McPeek/Julien Leparoux – 5:2-0-1 – $81,215): Grandpa Knows Best broke his maiden and won a 1 1/16-mile allowance in his last two starts, but jumping into a Derby prep four months after his most recent start is a lot to ask for in a comeback race. No stakes experience.

Flameaway, 5-2 (Scat Daddy – Mark Casse/Jose Lezcano – 7:5-0-0 – $434,834): The Sam F. Davis winner showed grit when he fought back against Catholic Boy to upset last out. Tampa’s last Derby prep was a big step up for Flameaway, who previously only won turf or off-the-turf races. His two starts this year have resulted in gate-to-wire victories, and the rail post will likely put him on the front end again. But he may not have his way on the lead with World of Trouble entered. Could be the one to beat.

6.) Enticed, SCR (Medaglia d’Oro – Kiaran McLaughlin/Antonio Gallardo – 4:2-0-1 – $230,680): Mentioned earlier Enticed is cross-entered in the Tampa Bay Derby and the Gotham in case of travel issues. He finished up his juvenile season with a hard-fought win over Tiz Mischief in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and returned this year to finish a distant fourth in the Holy Bull. Finds a better spot in Gotham.

.) Free Drop Billy, SCR
 (Union Rags – Dale Romans/undecided – 6:2-3-0 – $495,220): If not for Audible, Free Drop Billy could have been a big winner in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2). Going back to last year, he scored at the top level in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, with the Holy Bull a solid rebound from his off-the-board Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Again, he's more likely to run in the Gotham. Would have been a top contender.

World of Trouble, 9-2 (Kantharos – Jason Servis/Irad Ortiz Jr. – 3:2-1-0 – $159,400): The Pasco Stakes winner attracted a lot of attention after his 13 3/4-length win while just missing the track record. His debut race was in maiden claiming company, but after a 14-length score he was sent to the Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes and lost by only half a length. World of Trouble still needs to show he can take on Derby contenders and that he can stretch out, but he’s an interesting newcomer to the Derby trail and could be a challenger to Flameaway on the front end. Dark horse in the running. 

Untamed Domain, 5-1 (Animal Kingdom – Graham Motion/Jose Ortiz – 6:2-1-2 – $345,200): He's set to make his dirt debut on Saturday. A son of the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, who won on dirt, turf and synthetic, Untamed Domain won the Summer Stakes (G2) before a runner up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Back at 3, he rallied to third in the Dania Beach Stakes (G3) with Motion focused on preparing him for a Derby prep. Since then he’s put in two five-furlong works over the Tampa Bay main track. Looks ready for dirt debut.

 Quip, 12-1 (Distorted Humor – Rudolph Brisset/Florent Geroux – 3:2-0-0 – $72,800): Undefeated in his first two starts, Quip finished seventh in the Kentucky Jockey Club without ever getting into the race. The Tampa Bay Derby will be his first start in over three months, but he did have a bullet workout at Fair Grounds Feb. 25 going five furlongs in 59.80 seconds. Quip also arrived at Tampa Bay Downs early, working four furlongs in 48 seconds flat on Monday. Receiving a test off a layoff.

11.) Caloric,
30-1 (Stay Thirsty – Michelle Winters/undecided – 3:2-0-0 – $26,800): After failing to make noise in a maiden special weight for Pletcher, Caloric picked up his first win in maiden claiming and transferred to the Jason Servis barn. He returned last month to win another claiming race, this time going to Odin Londono Jr.’s care. He's now trained by Winters. Asking too much.


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