Meet the Contenders: 2023 Tampa Bay Derby

March 10th, 2023

Meet the horses running in the 2023 Tampa Bay Derby. For each horse, we're listing a pro, a con, and a rating of potential. The star rating of 1 to 5 represents opportunity to perform well in the Tampa Bay Derby field.

#1 LORD MILES          **

Lord Miles wins at Gulfstream (Photo by Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

Pro: Son of Curlin still has potential to excel with maturity and going long.

Con: Never factored in soft renewal of Holy Bull (G3), though blinkers come off here.

#2 CLASSIC CAR WASH          **

Pro: Solid third in Sam F. Davis (G3) after beating soft overnight company in previous two.
Con: Casse barn 0-for-11 to start the Tampa Bay Downs meeting.

#3 CLASSIC LEGACY          ***

Classic Legacy wins at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Pro: Kin to Art Collector has the potential to improve in second start off the layoff.

Con: No serious factor in the Sam F. Davis and competition is deeper this time.

#4 GROVELAND          ***

Pro: Consistent check getter and highest-placed finisher returning from Sam F. Davis.
Con: Davis was not one of the swiftest preps this year, so he’ll have to quicken.

#5 MIKEY BANANAS          *

Pro: Experience over the track is the slimmest of assets going in.

Con: Three straight local allowance losses by significant margins suggest he’s in too deep.

#6 TAPIT TRICE          *****

Tapit Trice wins maiden at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Pro: Looked a potential star winning Gulfstream allowance, earning 99 Brisnet Speed figure.

Con: Faces a more congested field here and surface can be tricky for newcomers.

#7 FREEDOM ROAD          *

Pro: Proven over the track based on last-out allowance win.

Con: Lone two-turn attempt, in the Sapling S. at Monmouth, was no great shakes.

#8 DREAMING OF KONA          **

Dreaming of Kona wins the Mucho Macho Man Stakes (Photo by Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photos)

Pro: One of several also-rans seemingly capable of better than what Sam F. Davis suggests.

Con: Both official losses have come over this track.

#9 SHESTERKIN          ****

Pro: Was the actual “buzz” horse going into his meeting with Tapit Trice and may close gap here.

Con: Two turns might benefit his favored stablemate more than him.

#10 CHAMPIONS DREAM          **

Champions Dream wins the Nashua Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Pro: Threw in towel very early in Sam F. Davis; prior stakes form generally good.

Con: Career highlight so far a win in weak renewal of the Nashua (G3).

#11 ZYDECEAUX          **

Zydeceaux (Photo by SV Photography)

Pro: Set pace in Sam F. Davis and held on longer than most bettors expected.

Con: Seemingly a cut or two below here and perhaps better suited to one turn.

#12 PRAIRIE HAWK          **

Pro: Was not seen to best effect in Sam F. Davis and probably can do much better.

Con: Best when able to show early foot, but tough to do from this draw.