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April 07, 2019


by Mike Henry
At least three Tampa Bay Downs "graduates" are expected to run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4.

Saturday’s victory by Tacitus in the Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct boosted the 3-year-old colt to the No. 1 spot in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings with 150 points – which makes Tampa Bay Downs, where Tacitus won last month’s Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, the place to be on Saturday, May 4.

The Oldsmar oval will present a 12-race card that day leading to the simulcast of the 145th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve from Churchill Downs in Louisville. First-race post time here will be noon.

Patrons will be dressed to the nines in Derby finery, adding to the pageantry and aura of Thoroughbred racing’s greatest spectacle, and mint juleps will be sold in commemorative Kentucky Derby glasses, which sport the names of each winner from Aristides in 1875 through Justify in 2018.

Fans can reserve tickets on the track website at by clicking on “PREMIER DAY TICKETS” and following along. Call (813) 855-4401 for details.

Kentucky Derby Day at the Downs will be enhanced by a pair of $100,000, mile-and-40-yard stakes races for 3-year-olds: the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for males and the FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for fillies. Both contests are for registered Florida-breds sired by an FTBOA-registered Florida stallion.

Tampa Bay Downs “graduates” are likely to occupy three of the 20 available positions in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve starting gate. Likely to join Tacitus is Florida-bred Win Win Win, the Michael Trombetta-trained colt who won the Pasco Stakes here on Jan. 19 and finished third in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

Win Win Win ran a strong second to Vekoma in Saturday’s Grade II Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland to earn 40 qualifying points and secure his spot.

Also likely for the Kentucky Derby is trainer Todd Pletcher’s colt Spinoff, who posted a dominant allowance/optional claiming victory here on Feb. 22, followed by a second-place finish two weeks ago in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.

Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Outshine finished a disappointing ninth in the Wood Memorial and is currently on the outside looking in with 20 points, good for 28th place.

Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve hopefuls get their last chance for points on April 13 in the Grade I, $1-million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and the Grade III, $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington at Keeneland.

Here is the list of top-20 points-getters:

Tacitus, 150; Vekoma, 110; Plus Que Parfait, 104; Roadster, 100; By My Standards, 100; Maximum Security, 100; Game Winner, 85; Code of Honor, 74; Haikal, 70; War of Will, 60; Long Range Toddy, 53.5; Tax, 52; Cutting Humor, 50; Win Win Win, 50; Gray Magician, 41; Spinoff, 40; Bodexpress, 40; Signalman, 38; Omaha Beach, 37.5; Bourbon War, 31.

If all goes according to plan, Tacitus – bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Jose Ortiz – will attempt to become the second Tampa Bay Derby champion to win the Run for the Roses.

Street Sense is the only horse to accomplish the feat, in 2007. The third-place Tampa Bay Derby finisher in 2010, Super Saver, won the Kentucky Derby, and 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming broke his maiden here that winter before his rendezvous with destiny.

Is this the fourth time a Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve winner will lay claim to having prepped at Tampa Bay Downs? We’ll find out on the first Saturday in May.

Around the oval. Flossie won today’s Oldsmar Cup, an allowance/optional claiming event for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile on the turf. The Oldsmar Cup was contested as the sixth race.

Ridden by Pablo Morales, Flossie is a 4-year-old filly owned by David McCarty and trained by Ignacio Correas, IV. Her time was 1:36.62.

The Oldsmar Cup celebrates the track’s enduring, symbiotic relationship with the city.

World of Trouble, the 4-year-old Florida-bred colt who won the 2018 Pasco Stakes here and finished third in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, enhanced his resume Saturday by capturing the Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct.

Manuel Franco rode World of Trouble, who is owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables and trained by Jason Servis. The second-place finisher in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs, World of Trouble returned to action here on Dec. 15 with a victory in the FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes.

Thoroughbred racing continues Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:52 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule through May 5, with the exception of Easter Sunday, April 21, when the track is closed.

Otherwise, Tampa Bay Downs is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.