Down to the Wire: Tampa Bay Derby + Quick Picks

Last week, Samraat and Uncle Sigh dueled once again and In Trouble rode along the rail to join in on their showdown. Ultimately, Samraat got the best of our choice Uncle Sigh, who finished second once again. Both of them are expected to make their final Kentucky Derby prep appearance in the Wood Memorial, so it will be interesting to see if they duel one more time. This week, we have a great lineup of races across the country, so without further ado, let's get to the picks. 

3/8/2014: Tampa Bay Downs Race 6 (8f, turf)--
If you follow me on Twitter or watch our Down to the Wire videos, then you probably know I'm a big Bobby's Kitten fan and that I definitely view him as a potential Kentucky Derby horse. Unless he has trip troubles here, I think this should be a pretty straightforward race for him. He has a distinct speed advantage over the rest of this field and you'd think his early speed will be put to good use with him breaking from the rail. There is another speed horse in this race, in first time router Cool Cowboy, who could give Bobby's Kitten a bit of trouble up front, so it will be interesting to see how the son of Kitten's Joy handles that situation if it arises. Global View, a half million dollar son of Galileo, has garnered some attention here, but he probably needs that potential speed duel to happen if he wants to catch Bobby's Kitten and he'll most likely be an underlay in the betting. While I believe this race is Bobby's Kitten's to lose, a show bet on Ride Away, looks to be the play. He'll likely be overlooked in the betting and he had an impressive come from the back run along the outside of a large field over course and distance last time out. It's a tough ask for him to get the win, but he could definitely finish underneath and may very well pay similar (or better) than the winner in doing so.

Pick: Bobby's Kitten to win
Suggested Play: Show bet on Ride Away

3/8/2014: Tampa Bay Downs Race 9 (9f, turf)--
This race includes several fillies and mares who were either bred in Europe or have been running overseas. My choice of those is Riposte, a daughter of my favorite turf sire Dansili, whose progeny, which include Dank and the dearly departed Laughing, tend to take to American turf tracks well. Riposte won a G2 at Ascot last summer and she finished a good second in her first race on this side of the pond over one and one eighth miles in a grade three last month. She figures to improve in her second start in America.

Pick: Riposte to win
Suggested Play: Pick 3-- 3,4,6 / 1,4,10,12 / 4,5

3/8/2014: Tampa Bay Downs Race 11: G2 Tampa Bay Derby (8.5f, dirt)--
Tipped up as a horse to watch last year, Coltimus Prime makes his three-year-old debut here in a field where I think he has a great chance to make some noise. Unlike many of the others here, I think he's a horse who still has plenty of room for improvement. Last year, he impressively broke his maiden by a wide margin and he came back to give the more experienced Jose Sea View all he could handle in the Display Stakes, which was Coltimus Prime's first time routing and first time against winners. He'll be on or near the lead here and although the pace should be honest, I don't expect it to be too quick. Based on class and form, Conquest Titan should win this race, but he'll need a pace to close into and will be hammered at the windows, so although he's who I would expect to win, he's a bad bet.

Bankroll Play: $2 to win, $5 to place, & $10 to show on Coltimus Prime

3/8/2014: Gulfstream Park Race 9: G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap (8f, dirt)--
There isn't an American horse I love more than Palace Malice and on class alone, he towers above these and although I'd love to see him win here, I can't side with him. A one turn mile is definitely not his strength and with a bonafide speedster in Falling Sky, he could be a bit up against from a pace perspective since he's typically forwardly placed. My choice in here is Brujo de Olleros. The Brazilian-bred has had tough goings having run on arguably "speed favoring" tracks in his last two outings, and yet he finished a strong third after a tough trip in the BC Dirt Mile and he backed that up with another third place finish in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes last month, which was won by the aforementioned Falling Sky. By all accounts, Brujo de Olleros has been working really well and he could be the one to take advantage if Palace Malice doesn't fire in his first start of the season.

Pick & Suggested Play: Brujo de Olleros to win  (scratched) Exacta: 7,8 / 2,6,7,8

3/8/2014: Fair Grounds Race 7: Duncan F. Kenner Stakes (6f, dirt)--
I absolutely adore Heitai, as anyone who follows me on Twitter probably knows, but for some reason, I seem to always forget to include him on here when he runs. My favorite son of Fusaichi Pegasus has won three straight, two of which were at the Fair Grounds, but his most recent race in the LA Bred Premier Night Sprint Stakes at Delta Downs was more impressive than I can even begin to describe, so I encourage you to look up the replay if you haven't seen it before. He got a 104 Beyer Speed Figure in that race and a run anywhere near that effort should get him the victory. His morning line odds are 5/2, which is much higher than I expected, so keep an eye on his odds near post time and if he's 2/1+ then take advantage.

Pick and Suggested Play: Heitai to win (play if 2/1 odds or higher)

I also wanted to note that if you watch the video above, you can see my choice for the San Felipe, which is the Kentucky Derby prep race being run at Santa Anita on Saturday. I will also be doing analysis and picks for the entire Santa Anita card for Saturday aka Big 'Cap day on Danonymous, which will be posted tomorrow. Lastly, I will be doing analysis and suggested plays for the Cheltenham Festival, which will be posted on that same website (likely on Monday). If you have never watched National Hunt/jumps racing or haven't watched racing from Cheltenham before, I strongly encourage you to put it on in the morning next week, maybe while you're eating your breakfast before work, and enjoy some top quality racing (and hopefully get a few winners). 

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