Betting the late Pick 4 on Tampa Bay Derby Day

March 8th, 2024

The signature program of Tampa Bay Downs' 2023-24 winter meet is Saturday's 12-race card, highlighted by the Tampa Bay Derby (G3). The last Pick 4 option includes three graded stakes and a turf allowance for fillies and mares, and here are thoughts on that sequence.

Race 9: Hillsborough (G2)

Trainer Chad Brown is loaded in all four legs of this wager, starting with this nine-furlong grass test for fillies and mares. However, I'll take a chance on singling the non-Brown #7 Elusive Princess (9-2), who kept very good company in France last year before coming over and convincingly winning the Saratoga Oaks (G3) in her U.S. debut.

Now trained by Arnaud Delacour, Elusive Princess wasn't quite as sharp in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) last time. The hope is that was less to do with the faster conditions of the course, which she likely finds here, too, but rather class as she was running into 1000 Guineas (G1) heroine and Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) runner-up Mawj.

Race 10: Florida Oaks (G3)

Brown and Mark Casse account for five of the 12 three-year-old fillies in this turf fixture, and I'll use one from each stable. The Brown-trained #10 Weigh the Risks (6-1) returns from a layoff dating to early September, when she graduated second out at Saratoga after missing by a neck on debut to eventual multiple stakes winner Ozara.

From Casse, #12 Witwatersrand (8-1) looks appealing in her turf debut. The daughter of Connect looked solid taking Canada's top open juvenile filly race, the Mazarine (G3), in early November, and her last-out flop in the Forward Gal (G3) is probably forgivable under the circumstances. The female side of her pedigree screams grass.

Race 11: Tampa Bay Derby

The pace of this race figures to be stronger, and thus more beneficial, to #5 Domestic Product (8-5) than the Holy Bull (G3) was early last month. Would like his chances even more if this were a sixteenth of a mile longer, but he's probably capable of asserting his superiority in the final stages against this crew.

Race 12: Allowance

Grade 3-placed Startup Mentality will take some beating in this allowance for Brown, but stablemate #3 Notinamillionyears (5-2) remains with upside and need not to have to improve a whole lot to beef up the payoff a bit at a slightly higher price.

I'll play the ticket for $5: 7 with 10,12 with 5 with 3 = $10.