The highly regarded Brody’s Cause makes his three-year-old debut as the 5-2 morning line favorite in a field of 10 in the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Dale Romans trainee makes his first start since running third and beaten 2 ¾ lengths in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland. The colt won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) in the mud in his previous outing.
The colt has received plenty of interest in Kentucky Derby future betting, currently at odds of +800 at Mybookie.ag.
He faces nine foes on Saturday including the top three finishers of the Sam F. Davis (G3), which was won by the Todd Pletcher trained Destin, who won by 2 ¼ lengths and is 9-2 on the morning line.
The Davis runner up Rafting is 6-1 on the morning line for trainer Graham Motion. The colt won the Smooth Air Stakes in his previous start at Gulfstream Park West.
The race is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, with 50-20-10-5 points up for grabs to the top four finishers.
The $400,000 San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita is the lone other Derby points race this weekend. A field of seven will line up led by Mor Spirit, winner of the Robert B. Lewis (G3) in his last outing. The Bob Baffert trainee is currently listed at odds of +700 in early Derby betting at Mybookie.ag.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday will include selections and analysis for the San Felipe along with the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and my strongest plays from Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.
Let’s head out to Tampa for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Tampa Bay Downs Race 11 The Tampa Bay Derby (G2) Post time 5:24 ET
2 Rafting 6-1
10 Awesome Banner 8-1
8 Brody’s Cause 5-2
7 Destin 9-2
Rafting exits a runner up finish in the Sam F. Davis (G3) last out where he was bumped coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace while three wide and was unable to get to the winner Destin late, beaten 2 ¼ lengths for the top spot. The colt made his stakes debut two back in a smart win in the Smooth Air at Gulfstream Park West.
The Graham Motion trainee looks to be heading in the right direction and should get a good tracking trip behind what could be a sharp pace. Five of the last 10 winners of this race exited the Davis. He makes his second start off a 2 ½ month break and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough.
Awesome Banner won the Hutcheson (G3) and Swale (G2) but failed in his first try around two turns in a fifth place finish in the Fountain of Youth (G2). He set the early fractions and faded badly in the stretch. The fact that his trainer Stanley Gold elects to bring him back here instead of cutting back to one turn has me figuring this guy may be worth another look here.
The abundance of early speed in here may scare off some bettors and this colt is going to go off at a generous price. Gallardo picks up the call and he is having a big meeting, hitting at a 27% clip and running away with the jockey title at Tampa Bay Downs.
Brody’s Cause is making his first start since running third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last fall at Keeneland. Last year’s winner of this race was Carpe Diem, who was making his first start since running second in the Juvenile. The colt is the lone Grade 1 winner in the field, taking the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) in the mud two back at Keeneland.
The colt has been working sharply at Gulfstream Park and got in a morning drill here on March 6. The Dale Romans barn is on the light side with layoff types, hitting at a 6% clip with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff.
There is a lot of talk about how much early speed is in here and that bodes well for this colt is the speed duel develops. However, his price is likely going to be on the light side and he is going to have to work out a good trip off a 4 ½ month break.
WIN: Rafting to win at 9-2 or better.
EXACTA: 2,10 / 2,7,8,10
TRIFECTA: 2,10 / 2,7,8,10 / 2,4,7,8,10
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