Tampa Bay Downs Stakes Plays for March 7

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 6th, 2020

The $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) is the centerpiece of a big Saturday card at Tampa Bay Downs. A total of five stakes races, with four of those being of the graded variety, are on the slate.

Tampa Bay Derby (G2)

I am not sure #8 Letmeno (12-1) can win the feature, but I expect the Twirling Candy colt to deliver a big performance from off the pace as a top-three contender. Ian Wilkes pupil had a good local prep when third in a strong allowance tilt on the surface in his 2020 debut, and he will be ready following a pair of useful morning drills in the interim.

Hillsborough (G2)

Turf affair at nine furlongs features 12 fillies and mares, led by the red-hot #7 Starship Jubilee (2-1). Florida-bred has romped in both 2020 engagements to date and I can’t leave her off of my tickets.

I will also use #2 Get Explicit (20-1) in the gimmicks. Get Stormy mare had no chance from a wide draw at Gulfstream off the bench and improvement is expected second time back.

Challenger (G3)

#7 Noble Drama (3-1) went last-to-first to take the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park most recently. The David Fawkes charge is stakes placed on the oval, and he could get a solid pace to rally into once again.

Florida Oaks (G3)

Gary Barber’s #10 Secret Stash (8-1) makes her seasonal debut and I am envisioning a big performance from the Irish-bred. Bay showed promise in a pair of stateside runs as a juvenile, and she will be ready for strong layoff conditioner Mark Casse.


Turf test for sophomores attracted a field of 10 led by Grade 3 winner #6 Chapalu (3-1). One of two in the field for Arnuad Delacour, the Flatter colt didn’t handle the dirt in the Holy Bull (G3) last time, but impressed in his lone route race on the grass as a juvenile. Kentucky-bred has versatility and looms large with a top showing under Castellano.