A field of ten or more 3-year-olds is expected for Saturday’s $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) at Tampa Bay Downs.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Oldsmar track will draw entries for the Tampa Bay Derby and the other races on Saturday’s 37th annual Festival Day card. The card will have five stakes races.
The feature Tampa Bay Derby is 1 1/16 miles om dirt and is a major prep race and points qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) that will be run May 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Tampa Bay Downs will begin its Festival week on Wednesday with nine races and first post of 12:55 p.m.
As usual, Tampa Bay Downs will be dark on Thursday. It will have ten races on Friday, with first post of 12:25 p.m.
Tampa Bay Downs has listed these horses as probable for the Tampa Bay Derby: Tapwrit, State of Honor, Wild Shot, No Dozing. Beasley, Third Day and Tale of Silence.
Tapwrit, State of Honor and Wild Shot finished second through fourth in the Sam F. Davis (Grade 3) at Tampa Bay on Feb. 11. No Dozing finished sixth in that 1 1/16 mile race.
The unbeaten McCraken, winner of the Sam F. Davis, will not run in the Tampa Bay Derby.
McCraken was sidelined from training last week because of a mild strain in his left front ankle. He resumed training on Sunday.
Trainer Ian Wilkes plans to bring McCraken back on April 8 in the 1 1/8 mile Blue Grass (Grade 2) at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., and then run him in the Kentucky Derby—if he has enough qualifying points.
The winner of the Tampa Bay Derby will earn 50 qualifying points and almost certainly gain a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Last year, the cutoff was 32 points for making the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field.
Second through fourth in the Tampa Bay Derby will be worth 20, 10 and five points.
The horses listed above have the following numbers of qualifying points: McCraken 20; Wild Shot 7; No Dozing 5; Tapwrit 4; and State of Honor 2.