By Jim Freer
Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday will have its annual Festival Day with the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) and four other stakes races.
First post is 12:30 p.m. for the 12-race card.
The Tampa Bay Derby is 1 1/16 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds. It is the 11th race with scheduled post of 5:32 p.m.
It is a second round points scoring race for berths in the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby. (Grade1), which will be run on May 2 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
The first four finishers in the Tampa Bay Derby will earn 50, 20, 10 and 5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points respectively.
Last year, the cutoff was 41 points to gain one of the 18 Kentucky Derby spots that are reserved for horses that race in U.S. qualifying races
Multiple stakes winners Sole Volante and Chance It are likely favorites among the 12 entrants in the Tampa Bay Derby field.
Sole Volante's ten qualifying points are the most among horses in the Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 3). All of those points came in his win in the Sam F. Davis (Grade 3) at Tampa Bay on Feb. 8
Chance It has won three stakes at Gulfstream Park. But all were in ungraded stakes, which did not have any Kentucky Derby points.
On Saturday afternoon, we will have additional previews and live coverage of the Tampa Bay stakes. Here is the schedule, with the sequence set to start at 3:25 p.m.
*7th race: $75,000 Columbia -- one mile turf, 3-YOs
*8th race: $100,000 Challenger (Grade 3) -- 1 mile and 40 yards dirt, 4-YO and up
*9th race: $225,000 Hillsborough (Grade 2)-- 1 1/8 miles turf, fillies and mares, 4-YO and up
*10th race: $200,000 Florida Oaks (Grade 3)-- one mile turf, 3-YO fillies
*11th race: $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) -- 1 1/16 miles dirt, 3-YO
Tampa Bay will have an all-stakes Pick 5 on those races, with a 50 cent minimum bet.
On Saturday morning, we will have HorseRacingFLA's handicapper Bob Bauer's selections for Win, Place and Show selections for the stakes races.
Bauer also will have a suggested ticket on the Pick 5.
RadioStPete to Air Races
Internet station RadioStPetehttps://radiostpete.com/
will carry track announcer Richard Grunder's live calls of each of the five stakes races.
Bauer will be on the air to provide pre-race and post-race analysis of each stakes race. We will have results of those races on this blog.
*The link that follows is to the Equibase entries at Tampa Bay Downs for Saturday. It provides access to handicapping informtikon-psome for free and som,e at a charge