How to Bet the Tampa Bay Derby

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TwinSpires Staff

March 8th, 2018

by Dick Powell

A field of nine will go 1 1/16 miles on the main track for the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) Saturday. Enticed and Free Drop Billy were cross-entered after having their travel to New York delayed, but they departed South Florida on Thursday and will scratch in favor of the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.

Todd Pletcher has won the Tampa Bay Derby five times, four of the last five years and three in a row. He sends out the talented VINO ROSSO, who won his first two career starts before running an even third in the Sam F Davis (G3) here going two turns. He is bred to run all day being by Curlin and out of a dam by Street Cry and Pletcher adds blinkers for the first time. He draws inside with Johnny Velazquez and should get an inside stalking trip.

FLAMEAWAY won the Sam F Davis gate to wire to win in a fast time. Despite having only seven career starts, he has won on synthetic, turf, dirt and slop during his brief career but the last performance came out of nowhere and I have some doubt as to whether he can do it again.

TIZ MISCHIEF is a one-dimensional closer who ran well two starts back in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) when his late rally fell a head short but he finished 2 ½ lengths ahead of Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Promises Fulfilled. However, his third last out in the Holy Bull Stakes G2 was uninspiring and Tiz Mischief will have to step up his game significantly to win this.

Flameaway was able to go from turf to dirt successfully and UNTAMED DOMAIN will try to do it for the first time. A good second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) when he flew home on the far outside, Untamed Domain was beaten at 6-5 last out in the Dania Beach (G3) at Gulfstream. Ironically, he is sired by Animal Kingdom, who won the Kentucky Derby G1 in his dirt debut for Graham Motion, who also trained Untamed Domain.

The horse that intrigues me the most is WORLD OF TROUBLE. He broke his maiden by 14 lengths going 5 ½ furlongs as the 9-5 favorite last August then and came back with a good second in the Affirmed Division of the Florida Stallion Series going seven furlongs behind Soutache, who came back to win the series finale as the 1-10 favorite.

Purchased privately by Michael Dubb et al, World of Trouble was turned over to Jason Servis and shipped to Tampa Bay Downs to win the Pasco Stakes by 13 lengths going seven furlongs in 1:21 and change. Now, he moves up in class and distance for a trainer who wins 28% stretching out.

Servis rarely shows you anything in the morning but World of Trouble has two breezes at Palm Meadows for this and picks up Irad Ortiz Jr., who 7-for-16 riding for Servis the past two months. The son of Kantharos is bred for speed top and bottom but we are not asking him to win the Kentucky Derby at 1 ¼ miles, just the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby against suspect company.

Wagering Strategy

Flameaway and Vino Rosso should take the most money and that means we can get 7-2 or better on #8 World of Trouble. Ortiz Jr. won the Fountain of Youth last Saturday by gunning to the front with Promises Fulfilled and he should be able to do it again.

We’ll go with a win bet on World of Trouble and play him in straight exactas over Flameaway, Vino Rosse and Tiz Mischief (8 over 2,3,5). No reverse. If we are right, we want to benefit the most.