CLEVELAND - Out of a field of nine there are a few potential Kentucky Derby contenders amidst the lineup for Saturday's Grade II Tampa Bay Derby.
Verrazano will break from post 6 and has been listed as the distinct favorite. With two wins to his credit and Johnny Velasquez steering they should dominate the field. Is there room for improvement after Verrazano won his maiden by 6 1/2 lengths and then took an allowance race at a mile distance weeks later on the Gulfstream track? The expectancy is that he will take on additional distances without problems. This Todd Pletcher trained horse has a lot of potential with current odds listed at 4/5.
Breaking from post 5, Dynamic Sky is the co-favorite with odds at 4/1. He is trained by Mark Casse and Joel Rosario will take the mount after winning last weeks Gotham at Aqueduct aboard Vyjack. He took 2nd in the Grade III Sam Davis last month and is ranked in the top 30 for possible Derby contenders.
Honorable Dillon will come from post 3 with odds of 6/1. He is trained by Eddie Kenneally and is sired by Tapit. In four starts he has never finished less than 3rd, and won the 7 furlong Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream last month by a head.
Purple Egg (pp2) and Falling Sky (pp9) are listed with odds of 10/1. Purple Egg will be challenged by the distance having never championed a race over 6 furlongs but his Lion Heart breeding is giving some reason to be hopeful. He is trained by Jane Cibelli and the jockey is Elvis Trujillo. Falling Sky ranks in the top 20 as a possible Derby contender. He beat contender Dynamic Sky (these two horses are unrelated) in the Sam Davis at 1-1/16 mile distance his last time out. He is also sired by Lion Heart and is trained by John Terranova. JL Espinoza will be the jockey.
Eton Blue has the inside post and is trained by Nick Zito. Some seem to think the level of competition may be a little tight for this colt after finishing 2nd behind Verrazano's 7-3/4 mile win last month. His breeding may dictate otherwise as the son of Giant's Causeway will make the run with Joe Bravo as the jockey. Current odds are at 20/1.
Java's War will break from post 4 without much consistency to his resume. His last time out was on the Churchill dirt in November but took 6th in the Kentucky Jockey Club. He is trained by Kenneth McPeek and W. Martinez will ride with current odds at 12/1.
Offlee Fast has gone the 1-1/16 mile distance in all of his career starts. He was narrowly beaten by Capo Bastone his last time out, and currently ranks on the Kentucky Derby top 30 list. His current odds are 30/1 and is trained by Ronald Pellegrini. Jozbin Santana will ride out of post 7.
Park City will break from post 8 and is Verrazano's stable mate, as he is trained by Todd Pletcher. Edgar Prado will ride the son of Harlan's Holiday who is undefeated in two starts. Current odds are 12/1.
The Tampa Bay Derby has become an important race for those looking to make it to Louisville the first weekend in May. While the track surface is somewhat gritty it can help to prepare the horse for future races. The winner of this race will accumulate 50 points, as 20 points will go to second place, 10 points for third and 5 points for fourth place. Post time is 5:15 (ET).
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