There is some interesting racing on both coasts this weekend. We've already taken a look at the west coast with the San Felipe at Santa Anita, and now we move east to check out the Tampa Bay Derby.
This is an interesting race just for the fact that the Todd Pletcher entrant, "Carpe Diem", returns to the races today. He last raced in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile. In that race he just got up to finish second as the 9/5 favorite. He was 6 1/2 lengths behind the winner, "Texas Red". With that out of the way, let's run down the entire field and see if we can come up with a few solid horse racing picks.
Divining Rod: Has made 3 lifetime starts with his maiden score his only victory. That victory was at first asking. Next out he finished third going 1 1/16 miles on the turf and he certainly did not disgrace himself. Last out he was a bang up second at better than 28-1 to the undefeated "Ocean Knight" who draws the post just outside of him in this race. He will be getting lasix for the second time which is a strong angle that is not mentioned often by most commercial talking heads. He is very legit in here from the rail and you will get good value.
Ocean Knight: Will get tons of love in this race and rightfully so. The beautifully bred son of "Curlin" out of a "Stormy Atlantic" mare is undefeated in both of his lifetime starts and has gone off the favorite both times. He was purchased for $320k at the Ocala Breeders Sale in March of 2014. He has a win at this track going today's distance and shows three works since. Irad Ortiz Jr. is back aboard for trainer Kieran McLaughlin.
Carpe Diem: Is the big one in this race. As previously mentioned, he is trained by Todd Pletcher and was the runner up in last year's Breeder's Cup Juvenile. This son of "Giants Causeway" out of an "Unbriddled Song" mare was purchased for $1.6 million at the Ocala Breeder's Sale in March of 2014. This is a very serious animal. He's been burning up the track in the AM and it will take a monster effort to beat him today. Often one wonders if a horse is fully cranked for his return. From the looks of his works and the fact that Johnnie V. is back aboard, I see this one ready for a top effort.
Ami's Flatter: Won at first asking and then finished second and fourth in his next 2 starts. Three horses that finished ahead of him are entered in this race so he needs to show a lot of improvement if he is to hit the board today. While he is getting blinkers on for the first time today, I'm inclined to look elsewhere. I do believe he needs softer.
Johnny Be Good: Was soundly beaten last out finishing third to the #1 and #2 horses in his last race. On the plus side is the fact that he is honest having hit the board in all 5 of his starts. My feeling for today is that he hasn't faced this kind of company before and it would surprise me if managed to hit the board today.
Souper Colossal: Is very interesting. This magnificent son of "War Front" out of a "Kingmambo" mare has won 4 of his 5 lifetime starts. The only start where he failed to hit the board was last year's Breeder's Cup Juvenile. He had an excuse as he stumbled at the start and was then rushed to the lead racing 3 wide. Joel Rosario took over for his return last out and he was a winner on the turf going 5 furlongs. Joel Rosario stays aboard today and I like this one very much. Trainer Ed Peasa wins at a 23% clip going turf to dirt. He's listed at 6-1 on the morning line and anything close to that makes this one a real value play.
Great Stuff: Is still a maiden after 3 races and by my standards merits absolutely no consideration in the race. He is a complete toss.
Moonlight Bandit: Is another total toss. He has started four times with his lone score coming against maidens. He next ran in the G2 Remsen and he finished 26 lengths behind the winner. Next out he finished third on the turf for a tag. This is his fifth start and he will be getting his fifth rider aboard. This one needs to be run through his conditions before he tackles stakes foes again and don't be surprised to see this one running for a tag before long.
Danzig Moon: Broke his maiden last out in his third lifetime start. He is eligible to improve but he has given the top players in this race too much of a head start. Down the road perhaps but definitely not today.
Tampa Bay Derby Picks:
#6 Souper Colossal - $WN $8 Place = $12
Exactas: $2 BOX
2,3,6 = $12
Trifectas: $1 Box = $24
Total Race Outlay = $48