A partly cloudy day is in the forecast for Sunday at Tampa Bay Downs, with 12 races on tap for the day, 6 of whom are "Non-Graded" affairs of $110k each. A bit of a departure from his typical circuit, our turf-man has provided select analysis of the races at Tampa and has made picks for the entire card.
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Sunday, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
LEG 1: (Race 7: Dirt, 7F, Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore S. 110k, 3-FLA breds)
The 1st Leg of this All-Stakes stretch is a long sprint down the backside chute and onto the MT. There are a number of angles to argue, but isn’t it sometimes just to call a spade… a spade? I would only look to Ralph Nicks and his Breeze On By #4, who is playing the role of Gulfstream invader. Is there any horse in this race that can rival this gelding out of Cajun Breeze? Already earning $303k, it will be tough to best him after he has already dominated Black Type races, going 3 of 4. Should be an easy score…
LEG 2: (Race 8: Turf, 1 1/8th, Grey Goose Turf Classic S. 110k, 4+ FLA breds)
As we roll into the 1st turf race in this line-up of 5, we will be encountering a short field of 6. That can play into our hands if we are willing to be decisive. A couple of powerhouse trainers arrive off the plane to enter up in Tampa. Both Todd Pletcher and Mike Maker’s runners are ready to take this. The former has Shamrocket #2, who has not finished off the board since his first outing. That was 11 races ago! You pair him with Me and Mr. C #3 and Second Mate #6, and you have a solid amount of coverage. Actually, if you are looking for a single here, the #3 is an option. He is on the “Make” in more ways than one. Who doesn’t like a class riser that is coming into his own? Trust Maker…
Selections: 2/3/6 (3 Deep)
LEG 3: (Race 9: Dirt, 6F, NYRABETS Sprint S. 110k, 4+ FLA breds)
Headed down the hill in this sequence at the turn, so to speak, we are going to face a tough race. One of the next flight M/L favorites named Shivaree #7, did not make the trip. Conditioner Nicks kept him at Gulfstream just so he could run in the Sir Shackelton S. That did not go well, and he missed the board. Meanwhile… back at the Batcave… the rest of this field is ready to go. If you can afford it, I would go as deep as possible, using Mark Casse’s Tap It to Win #5 as the key horse. He will be very good, especially since Antonio Gallardo is going to ride. The one aspect that gives me pause is the layoff concern. Is he ready? Not sure… but just in case he is not, let’s add R Mercedes Boy #1 (with Paco aboard), Souper Stonehenge #2 (Casse’s other), Cajun Brother #8 (from the Yates Barn), and a few other long shots… like Old Time Revival #3, Hauntedbythemusic #4, Baby Boomer #6, and My Boy Lenny #9. That might not sound appealing, but trust me, this is a trap race. Tough…
Selections: 1/2/3/4/5/6/8/9 (8 Deep)
LEG 4: (Race 10: Turf, 1 1/16th, Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf S. 110k, F&M 3+ FLA breds)
I like a Tampa turf race more than almost anyone in the world. With a 10-horse field of older females routing on the grass, it should be a challenging race to “Single.” For that reason, having a strong opinion is really a prerequisite. My top choice that I am willing to strongly back is from the barn of Mike Maker. He just continues to excite and take on all-comers. I think highly of Sun Summers #10 because when Paradise Farms gets together with this conditioner, they can be pretty potent. Sure, this seasoned mare has not won since running at Aqueduct in an ALLW race in November, but she displayed some good efforts. She offers a nice turf pedigree, is fit for her 3rd off the short winter rest, and gets local man Daniel Centeno. If she is 6/1 or higher, that is a bet in itself. Just for insurance, let’s not leave out Christophe Clement’s entry, Beautiful Lover #6. She has been on the shelf since last September, but her conditioner is pretty proficient when it comes to readiness over at his Payson Park Florida base. Having her in our back pocket ensures success. Nothing too easy here though…
Selections: 6/10 (2 Deep)
LEG 5: (Race 11: Dirt, 7F, Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies S. 110k, 3F-FLA Breds)
The finale brings us to a group of fillies who are trying to make their mark at this level. We have managed pretty well to keep costs low. In here, finding a lone wolf that you can rely on sounds tricky, especially amongst a field with fillies like these. Some are untested, but I want to back Georgina Baxter’s runner because not only is she 3/3, but she also has Paco Lopez riding in this spot. R Adios Jersey #9, out of Adios Charlie, has run all her races at Gulfstream and graduated in each of them with flying colors. That is not easy to do, so making it in a “Non-G” event at Tampa, might not be that much of a stretch. Her fitness is strong and price should be right. Anything can happen with a 1-turn race, but I am banking that she is class elevating at the precise time she needs to. Good for Baxter… she deserves it!