Kentucky Derby 2023 trail: Tampa Bay Derby odds, free PPs, more

Kentucky Derby 2023 trail: Tampa Bay Derby odds, free PPs, more
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Last weekend featured four Kentucky Derby 2023 preps running from coast to coast. Tampa Bay Downs gets the Derby trail spotlight on itself this week.

Tapit Trice is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the Grade 3, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby. Post time from Tampa Bay is 5:15 p.m. EST, with FanDuel TV showing the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds.

The Tampa Bay Derby is the lone Kentucky Derby trail event on Saturday’s schedule, paying Derby points on a 50-20-15-10-5.

Fifty points have been enough to make the Derby field each year since Churchill Downs instituted the points system before the 2013 running. That makes the Tampa Bay Derby a virtual “win and you’re in” toward the Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has two runners who would qualify the Derby field if the race was today in last Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) hero Forte and Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) winner Litigate. He has the two shortest prices on the Tampa Bay Derby morning line in Tapit Trice and Shesterkin (9-2).

Tapit Trice enters the Derby trail off an allowance win Feb. 4 at Gulfstream Park. In his third start overall, and first facing fellow winners, he aired by eight lengths going one mile under jockey Luis Saez.

Saez stays aboard the Tapit colt, who garnered $1.3 million as a yearling from owner Whisper Hill Farm. Gainesway Stable also campaigns the Pletcher charge.

Shesterkin was runner-up to Tapit Trice that day at Gulfstream. The Tampa Bay Derby marks only the third start of his young career.

Classic Legacy (6-1) made his Derby trail debut Feb. 11 in the Sam F. Davis, where he finished fourth. Trainer Bill Mott owns a recent win in this event thanks to 2019 victor Tacitus.

Groveland (6-1) also exits the Davis, in which he was runner-up for trainer Eoin Harty. He finished 1 1/4 lengths shy of winner Litigate in that race as a 22-1 long shot.

Classic Car Wash (8-1) finished third in the Davis for trainer Mark Casse, who took the Tampa Bay Derby two years ago with Helium.

The Tampa Bay Derby has twice produced a Kentucky Derby victor. Street Sense swept both races in 2007 for trainer Carl Nafzger, three years before the Pletcher-trained Super Saver ran third at Tampa and first at Churchill Downs.

2022 Tampa Bay Derby winner Classic Causeway was the only starter in that race to make the Kentucky Derby field. He was 11th on the first Saturday in May.

Here is a look at the field for the 2023 Tampa Bay Derby (trainers and jockeys in parentheses) with morning-line odds:

1. Lord Miles (Saffie Joseph Jr., Paco Lopez), 12-1

2. Classic Car Wash (Mark Casse, Emisael Jaramillo), 8-1

3. Classic Legacy (Bill Mott, Irad Ortiz Jr.), 6-1

4. Groveland (Eoin Harty, Daniel Centeno), 6-1

5. Mikey Bananas (Timothy Hamm, Pablo Morales), 30-1

6. Tapit Trice (Todd Pletcher, Luis Saez), 8-5

7. Freedom Road (Gregg Sacco, Hector Diaz Jr.), 15-1

8. Dreaming of Kona (Aldana Spieth, Scott Spieth), 30-1

9. Shesterkin (Todd Pletcher, Edgard Zayas), 9-2

10. Champions Dream (Mark Casse, Antonio Gallardo), 20-1

11. Zydeceaux (Ramon Minguet, Samuel Marin), 20-1

12. Prairie Hawk (Saffie Joseph Jr., Samy Camacho), 20-1

TimeformUS pace projections show Dreaming of Kona under jockey Scott Spieth and Zydeceaux under jockey Samuel Marin sharing the early lead with Shesterkin up close. TimeformUS projects a fast early pace.

Visit Horse Racing Nation’s free past performances page for more information on both the Tampa Bay Derby and the Azeri Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn.

Prospective Kentucky Derby field

The top 18 points earners nominated for the Kentucky Derby will earn a spot in the starting gates for the Grade 1, $3 million race May 6. One spot is reserved for the top points earners on the European and Japanese Derby trails. Here is a look at who would make up the current field.

1. Forte, 90

2. Practical Move, 60

3. Confidence Game, 57

4. Angel of Empire, 54

5. Raise Cain, 54

6. Rocket Can, 40

7. Red Route One, 33

8. Instant Coffee, 32

9. Sun Thunder, 24

10. General Banker, 24

11. Two Phil’s, 23

12. Congruent, 20

13. Hit Show, 20

14. Litigate, 20

15. Geaux Rocket Ride, 20

16. Slip Mahoney, 20

17. Curly Jack, 17

18. Blazing Sevens, 16

Europe. Cairo

Japan. Perrière

Related: HorseCenter: Kentucky Derby top 12, Tampa Bay Derby picks | What can bettors learn from Rebel, Gotham upsets? | Derby trail: How good is Practical Move after San Felipe win?

Other Saturday stakes

Here is a look at other graded stakes taking place Saturday across the U.S. All post times are EST and all races can be seen on FanDuel TV.

3:33 p.m. – $100,000 Challenger Stakes (G3), 4-and-up, 1 1/16 miles, Tampa Bay

Skippylongstocking (8-5), a dual Grade 3 winner for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., drops in class after finishing seventh Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1). Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride the 4-year-old Exaggerator colt, third-place finisher in the 2022 Belmont Stakes. Danny Gargan trains Grade 2 victor Tax (4-1), who was ninth New Year’s Day at Gulfstream in an allowance race. Trademark (6-1) closed 2022 with back-to-back wins for trainer Vicki Oliver, including in the Commonwealth Turf Stakes on Nov. 27 at Churchill Downs.

4:04 p.m. – $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes (G2), 4-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/8 miles (turf), Tampa Bay

Shantisara (2-1) owns a Grade 1 win for trainer Chad Brown and was second last out Jan. 28 at Gulfstream in the Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3). Ortiz has the assignment on the 5-year-old Coulsty mare. Brown also trains Grade 1 and Group 1 winner Rougir (7-2), whose last race was an 11th-place effort Nov. 5 at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Surprisingly (5-1) enters off a win in the local Endeavour Stakes (G3) on Feb. 4 for trainer Shug McGaughey.

4:07 p.m. – $125,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3), 4-and-up fillies and mares, 6 1/2 furlongs, Gulfstream Park

Frank’s Rockette (4-5), a Grade 2 winner, has four graded scores for trainer Bill Mott, including in the Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) on New Year’s Eve at Gulfstream. Jockey Junior Alvarado will be aboard for the Into Mischief mare’s first start of her 6-year-old season. Todd Pletcher trains Colorful Mischief (7-2), runner-up Jan. 28 in the local Inside Information Stakes (G2). Drifaros (6-1) aims to make the grade for trainer Teresa Pompay after winning Tampa Bay’s Minaret Stakes on Feb. 11.

4:45 p.m. – $200,000 Florida Oaks (G3), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles (turf), Tampa Bay

Free Look (2-1) has won one of her four career starts and was fifth Nov. 4 at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Brown and Ortiz team up with the Tapit filly. Pletcher trains Alpha Bella (9-2), second-place finisher Feb. 4 at Gulfstream in the Sweetest Chant Stakes (G3). Navy Goat (6-1) was third Jan. 7 in the Ginger Brew Stakes, also at Gulfstream, for trainer Arnaud Delacour.

5:29 p.m. – $200,000 San Carlos Stakes (G3), 4-and-up, seven furlongs, Santa Anita

Forbidden Kingdom (8-5), twice a Grade 2 hero, makes his first start since a second-place run at this same distance over this same surface Dec. 26 in the Malibu Stakes (G1). Jockey Juan Hernandez will get a leg up on the 4-year-old American Pharoah colt for trainer Richard Mandella. Peter Miller trains Grade 1 winner Get Her Number (9-5), who cuts back in distance off a ninth-place effort going 1 1/8 miles in the Pegasus World Cup. Spirit of Makena (4-1), a local allowance winner Feb. 11, makes a stakes bow for trainer George Papaprodromou.

Related: Super Screener has a need for speed in the San Carlos

5:54 p.m. – $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2), 4-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/16 miles, Oaklawn

Clairiere (6-5) makes the first start of her 5-year-old season for trainer Steve Asmussen, with her most recent race a third-place finish – just a head shy of winner Malathaat – on Nov. 5 at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The double Grade 1-winning Curlin mare will have jockey Joel Rosario up. D. Wayne Lukas trains 2022 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Secret Oath (5-2), who was fifth last out in the Distaff. Grade 2 victor Interstatedaydream (3-1) last raced Aug. 23 at Parx, finishing second in the Cathryn Sophia Stakes for trainer Brad Cox.

Related: Vic Stauffer no longer will call races at Oaklawn | Hot and Sultry stretches out for 2-turn test in Azeri | Secret Oath 'looks really good' ahead of 4-year-old debut

6:59 p.m. – $500,000 Beholder Mile Stakes (G1), 4-and-up fillies and mares, one mile, Santa Anita

Fun to Dream (5-2) has won four straight starts for trainer Bob Baffert, including the local Santa Monica Stakes (G2) on Feb. 4 and local La Brea Stakes (G1) one race prior in December. Hernandez gets the call on the 4-year-old Arrogate filly. Asmussen trains fellow Grade 1 heroine Pauline’s Pearl (7-2), who steps up in class after taking the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (G3) on Jan. 28 at Sam Houston. Midnight Memories (4-1), a Grade 2 winner for Baffert, was fourth in the La Brea as a 2-1 favorite.

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