Brian Nadeau’s Road to the Triple Crown: The Tampa Bay Derby

Tampa Bay Downs: The GII, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby at 1 1/16 miles (Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 50-20-10-5)

by Brian Nadeau

Brian handicaps at Capital OTB and Horseplayer Now, and he’ll offer analysis and selections of Derby points races, hoping to make us all a little money as we head to the Belmont Stakes. Follow him on Twitter here.

Spa City and Irad Ortiz at Gulfstream Park. Ryan Thompson photo.

A mixed bag of 12 takes the field for the Tampa Bay Derby, with several big barns shipping across the state from Gulfstream Park and bringing some hot speed with them as well, which could prove troublesome for several in the lane. That shouldn’t be an issue for #7 SOLE VOLANTE (2-1), though, as he closed from the clouds to win last month’s track and distance prep, the GIII Sam F. Davis, for Biancone, and this son of Karakontie (JPN) looks like he gets all the best of it behind the hot pace right back. The acid test comes for #2 SPA CITY (10-1), who sure looked like a new horse when stretching out to two turns and winning a 1 1/8-miles MSW at GP last time for McLaughlin, and while this is a big step up in class, this son of Street Sense is bred to be a star, and this post and his rating gear make him a big player. If you like Spa City, then you have to give a look to #9 UNRIGHTEOUS (20-1), the least fancied of three for Pletcher and still a maiden, but another that improved a ton going two turns, and, with blinkers going on today, this son of Violence could be poised for a breakthrough run. A bad post in last weekend’s Fountain of Youth detoured #4 CHANCE IT (5-2) here after Joseph scratched this son of Currency Swap, and that might prove to be the right move, but with plenty of pace to his inside and outside, throwing a lot of punches early might leave him very vulnerable late.

 Selections:

#7 Sole Volante

#2 Spa City

#9 Unrighteous

#4 Chance It

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