Best Horse Racing Picks This Weekend Tampa Bay Downs

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Saturday Races

Tampa Bay Derby (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 miles (dirt), 3-year-olds

A big field of a dozen 3-year-olds, headed by Classic Causeway, the impressive winner of the local Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes, will try to prove they belong on the Kentucky Derby trail when they meet in the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

Classic Causeway, a sparkling Saratoga debut winner, has moved up to graded stakes racing. He proved himself worthy. The third place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity was followed by a second-place finish at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2. Kentucky Jockey Club. Brian Lynch trained the son of Giant’s Causeway, who won his second stakes victory. He beat his competitors by almost four lengths.

Chief among his competitors in the Grade 2-feature will be Major General, a strong barn owned by Todd Pletcher. The son of Constitution, a Saratoga debut winner, won the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs last year in his second career start.

Not seen since that September score, he will be making his first start in six months in the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby. Other notables on Saturday are the Sam F. Davis’s Shipsational rallying runner up and Money Supply’s impressive debut winner. The signature race at Tampa Bay Downs, the Tampa Bay Derby will offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers.

Our Pick: Classic Causeway (8/5) – The impressive colt looked like a real Kentucky Derby threat in his seasonal debut and has the speed to control this race throughout.

Hillsborough Stakes (G2), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 4-year-olds and up fillies & mares

The rematch between the unbeaten Bleecker Street and the talented Lady Speightspeare is the big story as a field of nine older females will look for the top prize in the $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes on the Tampa Bay Downs turf course. Bleecker Street, a Chad Brown-trained mare, ran her record to 4-for-4 after she beat her rival in the Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes at Tampa five week ago.

A 4-year-old grey daughter of Quality Road she is looking to win her third consecutive local victory. She won in the allowance race at Tampa five weeks ago.

Lady Spightspeare was, however, a Grade 1-winning 2-year-old horse for Roger Attfield. That victory came in the Natalma at Woodbine 18 months ago. After a lengthy layoff, Speightstown’s speedy girl has won 2 of 4 and won 6 overall. The only losses she suffered were in her last two races, though she was third at the Tropical Park Oaks at Gulfstream Park last year and the runner-up in last year’s Gulfstream Park race. HTML3_ HTML4_ HTML5_ HTML6_ HTML7_ HTML8_ HTML9_ HTML7_ HTML9_ HTML10_ HTML11_ HTML5_ HTML8_ HTML9_ HTML9_ HTML9_ HTML9_ HTML5_ HTML8_ HTML7_ HTML7_ HTML9_ HTML6_ Among the others, Runaway Rumour (a stakes winner from New York) and Rocky Sky (an Irish import for Chad Brown), merit attention.

Our Pick: Bleecker Street (2/1) – The last one points out that this improving filly could be in store for a big season in 2022.

Challenger Stakes (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 miles (dirt), 4-year-olds and up

Rivals on the Kentucky Derby trail last year, Greatest Honour and Dynamic One will renew acquaintances when they top a field of ten older males set for Saturday’s Grade 3 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Greatest Honour, a 3-year-old mare trained by Shug McGaughey was victorious in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Holy Bull. After finishing third in the Grade 1-Florida Derby, he also beat Dynamic One. However, his Derby dreams were ended when a serious injury forced him to retire. He will race for the Challenger in his first race since almost one year.

Dynamic One is the morning line favorite for Saturday. Todd Pletcher has trained the son of Union Rags, a 4-year-old colt, to win the Challenger three times. He also won it four other times. Although he had not luck the first Saturday of May, he won the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga and finished the race in the Grade 2 Travers. He will be making his debut of the year.

Our Pick: Scalding (12/1) – Lightly raced runner is getting better with each start for trainer Shug McGaughey and comes into this race off a sharp win over the track.

Florida Oaks (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 miles (turf), 3-year-old fillies

A wide-open group of nine sophomore fillies will be in search of their biggest win to date when they do battle on the Tampa Bay Downs turf in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks. The morning line favorite for the $200,000 affair is the Graham Motion-trained Ambitieuse. She is a daughter of Medaglia D’Oro and was the fastest finishing runner up in Grade 3 Sweetest Chant Stakes, Gulfstream Park. She also broke her maiden on the South Florida oval’s new synthetic surface.

Chad Brown will be sending out the Florida Oaks’ third and fourth choices at the morning line. The Eclipse Award winner trainer is the one who should get to vote. Spicer won an Aqueduct maiden race turf four months back in her second career start. Jose Oritz will ride the Quality Road filly on Saturday. She was third in her debut. Dolce Zel is her stablemate and will make her debut in the U.S., having broken her maiden in France’s maiden race. It is also worth noting that the field has no stakes winners. Alittleloveandluck was the Ginger Brew winner at Gulfstream Park two years ago, and Mrs. Barbara won in Woodbine’s Mazarine at Woodbine her last start.

Our Pick: Dolce Zel (5/1) – French filly should be involved throughout and is likely coming to her new barn with plenty of talent.

Columbia Stakes, Tampa Bay Downs, one mile (turf), 3-year-olds

A wide-open field of ten sophomore colts will take to the Tampa Bay Downs turf course in search of their first stakes victory of the season in Saturday’s $75,000 Columbia Stakes. Gingrich, who is trained by Brian Lynch, is one of the leading contenders. Trainer of Tampa Bay Derby favourite Gingrich will be hoping to make more with his son of Mr. Speaker. He has run on grass five times already, including a win and two second places. He was also a fourth-place finisher in the Dania Beach Stakes, Gulfstream Park.

Other horses to consider are Heaven Street who was runner-up in two of the four turf races last year and who has since moved to Christophe Clement’s top turf barn. Also, Fort Washington who was a strong rallying winner in his second career out at Aqueduct; Fort Washington who was a winner in his first career start; Wake Surf who was a maiden winner on Gulfstream Park turf two years back. Kitten Mischief is changing to turf for Jonathan Thomas after finishing in the Grade 3. Sam F. Davis. Davis.

Our Pick: Fort Washington (9/2) – Shug McGaughey-trained runner adds Lasix for the first time and should be rolling late in this wide open affair.

Azeri Stakes (G2), Oaklawn Park, 1 1/16 miles (dirt), 4-year-olds and up fillies & mares

Two of the nation’s top older females, Shedaresthedevil and Ce Ce, will return to a track where they have had big success when they headline a field of eight older females entered for Saturday’s Grade 2 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Ce Ce is the champion of the two, but Shedaresthedevil is more accomplished around two turns and might hold a slight edge in the 1 1/16-mile Azeri.

This is the race in which the Brad Cox-trained daughter, Daredevil, defeated Letruska last year. The Kentucky Oaks winner of 2020 has won 9-of-17 overall, but will be making her first start since a losing effort in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Shedaresthedevil was defeated in the Breeders’ Cup, but it was Ce Ce’s day to shine as she ran right by the heavily favored Gamine in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. She was awarded the Eclipse Award for being the top national female sprinter.

She has one race to her name this season after finishing second in Grade 2 Santa Monica. Also, she has good experience with the trip having won the Grade 1 Apple Blossom in Oaklawn last month. 2020. The streaking Pauline’s Pearl, which is a contender to the two top spots, should be considered. Tapit’s 4-year-old daughter is a winner in two races. She won the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic with impressive ease. Last year’s Grade 3 Fantasy win at Oaklawn Park is one of her three career stakes victories.

Our Pick: Ce Ce (3/1) – The champion mare should enjoy the pace set up in this one as she returns to the site of her biggest career two-turn victory.

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