It's a big day in Tampa Saturday as the Derby trail comes to town with the $350,000 Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. The field of ten will decrease to nine when Uncle Mo, who's cross-entered in the Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream, opts out. Of the remaining nine, the most notable colt is Brethren, who won the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes last month on the Tampa Bay dirt. He is undefeated in three career starts, won the Sam F. Davis by four lengths, and is a half-brother to last year's Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver. Need I say more?
Trying again to hand Brethren his first defeat, are Too Experience and Watch Me Go, who finished second and third, respectively, to Brethren in the Sam F. Davis. Too Experience has five wins and one second from seven starts and may be eligible to improve in his second start this season. Watch Me Go finished five lengths behind Brethren in the Sam F. Davis at 30-1 odds. You won't get odds as high on him Saturday, but with a morning line of 12-1, he could add some value to the exotics.
Free Entry, 7-2 morning line, is making his stakes debut. He has two wins this year and shows a versatile running style, having won one of those races while leading on the front end and the other coming off the pace and closing strongly.
Completing the field are 8-1 Economic Summit, 10-1 Striding Ahead, 10-1 Beamer (trained by Carl Nafzger who also trained 2007 Tampa Bay Derby and Kentucky Derby winner, Street Sense), 20-1 Moonhanger, and 30-1 Crimson Knight.
The race is the 11th on the Tampa Bay card and follows the Suncoast Stakes for fillies which includes many Kentucky Oaks hopefuls. The Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled to run at 5:20 PM Saturday and can be seen on TVG and HRTV. As allows, we'll recap the race on Monday.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby