Recent trends in the Tampa Bay Derby

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March 8th, 2022

Saturday's $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2), the only Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep over the next two weekends, is a 1 1/16-mile affair which has risen in stature over the last couple of decades. Here are three trends in the race since 2010 worth noting.

The Pletcher factor

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher's impact on the Tampa Bay Derby since 2010 can not be overstated. He's saddled the betting favorite in six of the last 12 runnings, won three times, and on two occasions had multiple horses finish in the top three.

More significantly from a bettors' perspective is that at least one Pletcher trainee has made the superfecta in all 12 editions of the Tampa Bay Derby during this period. These have included longer shots in the last two years: Texas Swing (third at 19-1 in 2020) and Unbridled Honor (fourth at 21-1 in 2021).

Sam F. Davis/Tampa Bay Derby an elusive double

The Sam F. Davis (G3), a track-and-distance prep held in February, has yielded multiple winners of the Tampa Bay Derby during the period in question, but the only horse to win both races was the Pletcher-trained Destin in 2016.

Season debuters have a recent edge

The last four winners of the Tampa Bay Derby were all making their three-year-old debuts in the race, and paying big to boot.

Quip ($40.20) in 2018, Tacitus ($19.80) in 2019, King Guillermo ($100.40) in 2020, and Helium ($32.80) in 2021 all turned in surprises off the bench. Indeed, if you had bet on all 17 season debut runners that have started in the Tampa Bay Derby since 2010, your ROI would have been $11.60 for every $2 wagered.