Looking at early favorites to triumph in San Felipe, Tampa Bay Derby

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

March 10th, 2017

Saturday's $400,000 San Felipe (G2) appears a three-horse race on paper, while the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) looks slightly more contentious. That's the broad view ahead of this week's betting opportunities in the $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet.

A reminder to those participating in the contest to play both races and pad your total for an opportunity to win Qualifying Round Prizes. More information on the contest and prizes can be found here.

Of the three protagonists in the San Felipe, I'll be siding with Mastery (#4, 6-5) over Gormley and Iliad. The Bob Baffert-trained colt is getting a somewhat belated start to his three-year-old campaign, but has turned in a series of impressive, long works in preparation for this 1 1/16-mile affair.

Undefeated in three starts last season, including a tour de force in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), I expect Mastery to rate slightly behind a likely honest pace set by Iliad and then to get the jump on Gormley, with those two proving themselves the top two male contenders for the Santa Anita Derby (G1) next month.

I could see four or five come through in the Tampa Bay Derby in the right circumstances, but in the end I'm not being very creative selecting morning-line favorite Tapwrit (#5, 3-1). The $1.2 million yearling buy showed solid improvement in last month's Sam F. Davis (G3) finishing a clear second to McCraken, who is forced to forfeit this opportunity due to a recent minor setback.

Having beaten the likes of No Dozing, State of Honor, and Wild Shot in the Sam Davis, Tapwrit seemingly won't have to progress a whole lot to do so again. Two-time allowance runner-up Beasley is a dangerous up-and-comer, but could be part of a contentious pace with Sonic Mule, State of Honor, and possibly Wild Shot that might ultimately benefit Tapwrit in the end.