Expecting Brody’s Cause to come back strong in Tampa Bay Derby; playing speed in San Felipe

Profile Picture: James Scully

March 12th, 2016

The Tampa Bay Derby (G2) has a need-the-lead type in Awesome Banner and Outwork figures to be prompting a solid pace as well. Brody’s Cause has displayed an excellent late kick in all three dirt starts and figures to benefit from the projected set-up; it’s his race to lose.

After dropping his first start on turf, Brody’s Cause rallied to a sharp maiden tally at Churchill Downs, easily defeating a well-regarded Conquest Big E that afternoon, and the Dale Romans trainee jumped straight to stakes company with superb one-length tally in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1), rallying past Exaggerator in the short stretch at Keeneland to win going away again.

He was too far back during the early stages of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), offering a belated rally to finish a respectable third behind Nyquist, and Brody’s Cause displayed excellent class last season in a limited number of starts. I thought it was easy to label him as a horse who will keep improving with added maturity and longer distances.

Brody’s Cause is training favorably for his return, according to reports, and I don’t think he’s getting enough credit for his accomplishments – his 2-year-old form lays over this field. As a point of measurement, Brody’s Cause was better than Exaggerator both times they met. And given the expected pace scenario, Brody’s Cause is eligible to win the Tampa Bay Derby in facile fashion.

If Brody’s Cause does come up short, anything’s possible in my estimation. I respect the 2-for-2 Outwork, especially since John Velazquez bailed on Sam F. Davis (G3) winner Destin to ride the colt in his stakes and two-turn debut, and his 12-1 morning line odds are appealing. And I’ll mention another longshot in Tale of S’avall, who flashed talent in an impressive debut maiden win on the Travers undercard before being compromised by foot problems. Tale of S’avall has drilled a series of fast 5-furlong workouts at Palm Meadows – his feet appear to be just fine presently -- and could show much more at age 3.

Brody’s Cause looks like a standout and I’ll single the probable favorite in multi-race tickets, playing a couple of straight exactas over Outwork and Tale of S’avall (8 over 3,9).

In the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita, Exaggerator is a top contender along with the Bob Baffert-trained Mor Spirit. Smokey Image is another well-regarded prospect; the unbeaten Cal-bred star will be guided by Victor Espinoza, the regular rider aboard the last two Kentucky Derby winners, American Pharoah and California Chrome.

I’ve landed on a promising colt making his stakes bow, Danzing Candy. A son of Twirling Candy, the dark bay has led wire to wire in his last two starts, defeating maiden special weight foes by a 3 1/4 –length margin at 7-furlongs before stretching out to two turns with a 5 ¾-length romp over entry-level allowance rivals.

His BRIS Speed numbers are formidable and Danzing Candy broke better last time than in his first two starts; I’m expecting another wire-to-wire performance under Mike Smith. Danzing Candy is a win bet as the likely fourth choice in the wagering and I’ll recommend a pair of straight exactas over Mor Spirit and Exaggerator (2 over 3,7).

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Brody's Cause winning the Breeders' Futurity courtesy of Coady Phtography