Tipsheet: 2023 Tampa Bay Derby

March 10th, 2023

A fantastic field of 12 three-year-olds will travel 1 1/16 miles on the dirt in Saturday’s $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G3). The 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier will reward the top five finishers with qualifying points on a 50-20-15-10-5 structure.

 Tampa Bay Derby Picks

  • #6 Tapit Trice
  • #9 Shesterkin
  • #3 Classic Legacy
  • #2 Classic Car Wash

 Tampa Bay Derby Wagers

  • $40 win #6 Tapit Trice
  • $1 superfecta 6 with 9 with 2,3 with all
  • $1 superfecta 6 with 2,3 with 9 with all

Tampa Bay Derby Contenders

#1 LORD MILES: Mucho Macho Man S. third draws inside and will aim to improve on his unplaced finish in the Holy Bull (G3) last time out for Saffie Joseph Jr. Curlin colt is eligible to improve obviously, and he comes in with a trio of nice morning drills in preparation for Saturday. Paco Lopez will be in the silks.

#2 CLASSIC CAR WASH: Dangerous contender broke his maiden with authority on the oval and comes off a solid third-place effort in the Sam F. Davis (G3) in his latest venture. Mark Casse trainee has displayed a nice turn of foot in three races in succession and could make noise with clear sailing in the lane against this cast. Emisael Jaramillo will be in the stirrups.

#3 CLASSIC LEGACY: Bill Mott trainee was an even fourth in the Sam F. Davis last time out and looms a danger as an exotics player in this spot with Irad Ortiz Jr. inheriting the mount. Bay son of Into Mischief has moved forward in a big way since December and will be a threat in the final furlong with another move in the right direction.

#4 GROVELAND: Davis second has been first or second in three straight route races and could be a contender with slightly better in this endeavor. Eoin Harty trainee has won or placed in each of his five career races to date and wouldn’t be a total surprise with Daniel Centeno in the irons.

#5 MIKEY BANANAS: Timmy Hamm charge finished a well-beaten second in a local allowance tilt while making his route debut and is difficult to back in this spot. Constitution colt will be rallying from off the pace with Pablo Morales riding. 

#6 TAPIT TRICE: Todd Pletcher pupil was most impressive in his allowance romp at Gulfstream Park in his 2023 debut and is the clear one to beat in his graded stakes bow. The $1.3 million yearling purchase will go two turns for the initial time and is bred to love distance. Luis Saez retains the mount aboard the gray and will be tracking the pace from the opening bell.

#7 FREEDOM ROAD: Malibu Moon sophomore has outrun his $20,000 sales price tag but must prove to be capable of handling a route of ground at this level. Greg Sacco trainee has ability and could rally for a minor award with a lifetime-best showing under Hector Diaz Jr.

#8 DREAMING OF KONA: Gray son of Fast Anna was outrun at Tampa Bay most recently and looks to be in deep while making his second graded attempt. The talented three-year-old will have Scott Spieth in the silks.

#9 SHESTERKIN: Second from the Pletcher barn was outrun by the top selection last time out but rates a chance with expected improvement in his third career outing. The $330,000 son of Violence will add blinkers for this test and could be the one to catch turning for home if he gets sent from the opening bell. The Kentucky-bred will force the issue from the start beneath Edgard Zayas.

#10 CHAMPIONS DREAM: Grade 3-winning son of Justify stopped early in the Sam F. Davis most recently but gets another look with sure improvement on this occasion. Talented sophomore is bred to like two turns and can surely be involved with something resembling his best under the guidance of Antonio Gallardo.

#11 ZYDECEAUX: Speedy Ramon Minguet trainee held on well late at Tampa Bay most recently but faces a tougher task against this cast. Florida-bred son of Cajun Breeze will be involved early but looms to be in a tough spot.

#12 PRAIRIE HAWK: Joseph charge gets the widest post in the field and looks to be a notch below the top runners. Curlin colt was a smart allowance winner on the course two prior, but he’d be a shocker from this slot in my opinion. Samy Camacho will be in the stirrups.