The $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) will be run Saturday as race 11 at Tampa Bay Downs.  The 1 1/16-mile race is for 3-year-olds and is part of the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby series with 50-20-10-5 points going to the top four finishers. BRIS Track Bias Stats show a severe inside speed bias going two turns on the dirt here so we will have to take that into account.

Top Picks for the Tampa Bay Derby

  • #7 Sole Volante
  • #4 Chance It
  • #2 Spa City
  • #1 Texas Swing

Betting the Tampa Bay Derby

  • $40 Exacta – 7 with 4
  • $10 exacta – 4 with 7

Tampa Bay Derby Contenders

#1 Texas Swing raced evenly going 6-furlongs first time out at Gulfstream Park then shipped here and went gate to wire for Todd Pletcher. Son of Curlin draws the inside with new rider Javier Castellano. His worktab looks solid, but nearly all the horses at Palm Beach Downs are trained by Pletcher so it’s hard to gauge them.

#2 Spa City was a good second going this distance second time out at Gulfstream Park then he came back to break his maiden there going 1 1/8 miles in stakes-quality time. His sire, Street Sense, won this race in 2007, and Spa City draws well with local rider Daniel Centeno.  

#3 Relentless Dancer did nothing in his career debut in a turf sprint at Saratoga then tried dirt for the first time and was a dead-heat winner. Mike Maker shipped him to Delta Downs where he beat Louisiana-breds by 10 lengths, but he ran poorly in the Holy Bull (G3) going two turns for the first time.

#4 Chance It scratched last week from the Fountain of Youth (G2) last week when he drew the far outside. He draws much better today and has the winning profile for two turns here. The only negative I have on his is that all six career starts came on the main track at Gulfstream Park and now he tries Tampa Bay’s main track. But, Saffie Joseph has been on a roll and Paco Lopez has been riding out of his mind.  

#5 Market Analysis was a professional winner going 7-furlongs in his well-bet career debut at Gulfstream Park for Pletcher. The trainer wins 26% first time going long and Johnny Velazquez rides back.   

#6 Mo Mosa makes his dirt debut off three starts on the synthetic track at Turfway Park. The son of Uncle Mo added blinkers last out in his two-turn debut and won by over five lengths, and he is certainly bred for two turns on the dirt.

#7 Sole Volante laughed at the prevailing speed bias here in the Sam F. Davis (G3) when he rallied from 15 lengths off a fast pace and went by the field easily. He faced Chance It two starts back and was third in a wide trip. Since his last start, Pat Biancone trained him 7-furlongs on the Palm Meadows turf course in 1:23 flat! Florent Geroux fills in for the injured Luca Panici.

#8 Letmeno raced evenly here behind two good ones in his first start in five months, but he will have to show even more improvement to be a factor in here.  

#9 Unrighteous was badly outrun in his career debut at Gulfstream Park then he was a good second there in fast time going two turns. Pletcher adds blinkers and Joe Bravo who is always reliable in big races.

#10 Bye Bye Melvin broke his maiden on the turf two starts back here then beat first-level allowance foes back on it. This looks like a one-off try to see if he has any future in major dirt stakes races.  I don’t think he does.

#11 King Guillermo did nothing in his career debut on the main track then ran well in two starts on the turf. Son of Uncle Mo is going to have to put the pedal down coming out of the gate to have any kind of chance.

#12 Tons of Gold would have little chance in here even if he drew well but post 12 seems impossible for him.

Tampa Bay Derby tipsheet