by Jerry Shottenkirk
March 5, 2020
This far into the Derby prep season, the newcomers could take over with the Triple Crown as their target.
It’s been accepted in many corners of the nation’s racing map that 2-year-old Breeders’ Cup types of 2019 don’t necessary instill a lot of confidence.
The Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday is a good way to find out where some of the up-and-comers stand. And it’s nothing close to being easy to handicap. The suggested All-Stakes Pick 4 ticket (races 8-11) uses the headliner, which is the last of the sequence, as on of two “spread” races. The arithmetic on the ticket this week is 3x2x5x5 for a $75 ticket.
Those five selected on the Tampa Bay Derby leg are Spa City, Chance It, Market Analysis, Sole Volante and Letmeno. Here’s a look at their chances:
Spa City: An up and comer who debuted early in the week of Christmas and has shown considerable improvement in each of his subsequent starts and comes off a dandy of a maiden win – 1 length victory in a 1 1-8-mile race at Gulfstream. He can stalk and get the distance.
Chance It: It’s hard to find any faults as he’s won four of six (and second in the other two). He’s been two turns just one, and it was a smashing win against Florida-breds. Of course, he’s in open company today for this but really has shown a lot of heart when eyeballed. His connections will learn a lot today.
Market Analysis: He’s had just one start and he won all-out going seven furlongs at Gulfstream. He’s bred to go the distance and will be close-up throughout if he runs back to his only start.
Sole Volante: The choice if you believe there will be a speed battle between a cadre of runners. He’s the deep closer and comes in off a 2.5-length, going-away win of the Sam Davis Stakes here. Florent Geroux picks up the mount, which might be an indication of what kind of future trainer Patrick Biancone believes this one has. If any horse in his field, or for that matter, in this crop of 3-year-olds screams out “distance,” this is the one. He’ll get his biggest class challenge.
Letmeno: Was third in his only start over this strip. It was his first one since September and looks good going two turns. He’ll be the priciest of this group and is capable of running a big one. If speed falters he can pick up some, if not all, of the pieces. Has the good price and some promise and is worthy of inclusion
Here’s a suggested play in the Tampa Bay Downs All-Stakes Pick 4 on Saturday:
Race 8) #1 Big Dollar Bill, #3 Trophy Chaser, #5 King for a Day.
Race 9) #3 Magic Star, #7 Starship Jubilee.
Race 10) #1 Ivyetsu, #6 Walk In Marrakesh, #8 Outburst, #10 Secret Stash, #12 Micheline.
Race 11) #2 Spa City, #4 Chance It, #5 Market Analysis, #7 Sole Volante, #8 Letmeno.
50-cent Pick 4 ticket: 1-3-5 with 3-7 with 1-6-8-10-12 with 2-4-5-7-8 ($75).