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2023 Tampa Bay Derby Preview & FREE Picks | Time For Tapit Trice To Make Kentucky Derby Impact
Tapit Trice (Coglianese Photo)

2023 Tampa Bay Derby Preview & FREE Picks | Time For Tapit Trice To Make Kentucky Derby Impact

Aaron previews the 2023 Tampa Bay Derby (G3) from Tampa Bay Downs, then gives his top picks & long shots from this 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race worth 50 points to the winner. Following a pair of impressive victories against lesser competition, now is the time for the Todd Pletcher-trained Tapit Trice to make his Kentucky Derby trail impact. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher is set to seek his sixth victory in the Grade III, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday in the 43rd edition of the 3-year-old showcase at Tampa Bay Downs.

Pletcher, who last won the race in 2017 with Tapwrit, has entered two horses in the mile-and-a-sixteenth “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep race: Tapit Trice, a gray colt owned by Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable, and Shesterkin, a dark bay trained by Robert V. LaPenta.

Tapit Trice and Shesterkin are part of a 12-horse field for the mile-and-a-sixteenth Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, which is the 11th race on a 12-race card. The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby should go off around 5:15 p.m. Post time for Saturday’s first race is 11:55 a.m.

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The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is one of five stakes worth a combined $1-million in purse money Saturday. Also on tap are the 25th running of the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes, for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf course; the 40th edition of the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; the 32nd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes, for horses 4-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track; and the 17th running of the $75,000 Columbia Stakes, for 3-year-olds racing a mile on the turf.

The five stakes races comprise an additional 50-cent Pick 5 wagering opportunity on the 7th-through-11th races..

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby awards 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner and 20, 15, 10 and 5 to the next four finishers.

Tapit Trice, who drew the No. 6 post position for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, and Shesterkin, who drew the No. 9 post, finished 1-2 in an allowance/optional claiming race on Feb. 4 at Gulfstream Park, with Tapit Trice drawing off for an 8-length victory from his stablemate. Both horses worked out Saturday at Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs base in Delray Beach, with Tapit Trice breezing 4 furlongs in 49.34 seconds and Shesterkin being timed in a more leisurely 51.68.

Luis Saez again will ride Tapit Trice, while Edgard Zayas has been named on Shesterkin.

Here is the field for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby in post position order, with horse, trainer, and jockey listed:

  1. Lord Miles, Saffie A. Joseph, Jr., Paco Lopez
  2. Classic Car Wash, Mark Casse, Emisael Jaramillo
  3. Classic Legacy, Bill Mott, Irad Ortiz, Jr.
  4. Groveland, Eoin Harty, Daniel Centeno
  5. Mikey Bananas, Tim Hamm, Pablo Morales
  6. Tapit Trice, Todd Pletcher, Luis Saez
  7. Freedom Road, Gregg Sacco, Hector Rafael Diaz, Jr.
  8. Dreaming of Kona, Aldana spieth, Scott Spieth
  9. Shesterkin, Todd Pletcher, Edgard Zayas
  10. Champions Dream, Mark Casse, Antonio Gallardo
  11. Zydeceaux, Ramon Minguet, Samuel Marin
  12. Prairie Hawk, Saffie A. Joseph, Jr., Samy Camacho