"March Madness" has given way to "April Anticipation" as the 3-year-old Kentucky Derby contenders vie for a spot in the starting gate on May 5; Jesus Castanon goes 3-for-3 in saddle, winning twice for trainer Derek Ryan.
Quip and Flameaway, the winners of Tampa Bay Downs’ “Road to the Kentucky Derby” graded stakes, are among 15 3-year-olds entered in Saturday’s Grade II, $1-million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
The mile-and-an-eighth Toyota Blue Grass is Keeneland’s 10th race Saturday. The entire card will be simulcast at the Oldsmar oval. The Toyota Blue Grass is one of three major Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve preps that will be shown, along with the Grade II, $750,000 Wood Memorial Presented by NYRA Bets from Aqueduct and the Grade I, $1-million Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita.
Grade II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip, a Kentucky-bred colt owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm and SF Racing and trained by Rodolphe Brisset, drew the No. 5 post and is the 6-1 co-third choice on the morning line. He will again be ridden by Florent Geroux.
Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Flameaway, an Ontario-bred colt who finished second in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, drew the No. 12 post for owner John C. Oxley and trainer Mark Casse. Jose Lezcano will be the jockey. Flameaway is also 6-1.
The 2-1 morning-line choice is Good Magic, last year’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Eclipse Award Champion 2-Year-Old Colt who finished third in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes in his most recent start.
Also on the Keeneland card Saturday is the Grade I, $500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, in which a pair of Tampa Bay Downs stakes winners are entered: Grade III Florida Oaks winner Andina Del Sur, from the barn of trainer Tom Albertrani, and Suncoast Stakes winner C. S. Incharge, trained by Dale Romans.
Included in the nine-horse Wood Memorial Presented by NYRA Bets field is trainer Todd Pletcher’s Vino Rosso, who finished third in the Sam F. Davis and fourth in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.
All told, Tampa Bay Downs will simulcast 14 graded stakes Saturday: five apiece from Aqueduct and Keeneland and four from Santa Anita, all in addition to a 10-race card beginning at 12:22 p.m.
And with the Run for the Roses a mere 31 days away, “March Madness” has given way to “April Anticipation.”
Around the oval. Jockey Jesus Castanon won with each of his three mounts today, two from the barn of trainer Derek Ryan. Castanon won the fourth race on American Tzar, a 17-1 shot. The 4-year-old colt is owned and trained by M. Anthony Ferraro.
Castanon won the fifth on the turf on the 3-year-old maiden filly Rove, owned by Metro Thoroughbreds and trained by Ryan. The rider won the eighth race on the turf for the same connections with Pure Magic, a 3-year-old maiden filly.
Samy Camacho rode two winners today. He scored on the first race on What to Expect, a 4-year-old filly owned by Jose Argueta and trained by Edward C. Sexton. Camacho added the sixth race with Spring Mist, a 4-year-old filly owned by Kim Deaton and trained by William Deaton.
Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:52 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs conducts racing each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 6, with the exception of May 2.
The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.