OLDSMAR, FL – WinStar Farm’s homebred Quip found himself the quickest horse in the field en route to conquering Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.
Breaking alertly from post 10 under Florent Geroux, Quip moved forward quickly and cleared much of the field, moving down into the two-path and applying pressure to the early leader, the favored World of Trouble, through opening splits of :24.54, :49.48, and 1:13.78. Hitting the top of the stretch just a head behind the pacesetter, Quip began moving under steady urging. The Rodolphe Brisset trainee edged clear to win by a length in a final time of 1:44.72 for the 8 1/2-furlong main track event.
“I’ve always thought a lot of him,” Geroux said. “The way the (Grade 2 Kentucky) Jockey Club unfolded, he was between horses most of the time, and he didn’t really respond when I called him. But I’ve always known he had talent. Rodolphe rides him in the morning, and he said he was doing fantastic. It seemed like he handled the track very well. Both horses (Quip and World of Trouble) were doing great, and I’m glad to know Quip was best today.”
Flameaway, winner of the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis here last time out, had a troubled trip but was able to get up just in time to neck out second over a fading World of Trouble. Vino Rosso was well-placed throughout but couldn’t muster a bid and finished fourth. Tiz Mischief, Untamed Domain, Caloric, Arazi Like Move, and Grandpa Knows Best completed the order of finish. Enticed and Free Drop Billy scratched in order to run in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
The Tampa Bay Derby is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Quip earned 50 points for the win, with Place receiving 20 for second, Show 10 for third, and Super 5 for fourth.
Quip’s win was his third in four starts, with his lone off-the-board finish coming last out in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Owned in partnership with WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, and SF Racing,
“He is a pretty forward horse and he’s a smart horse,” Brisset said. “On paper, it looked like we were going to be there early, and it was a matter if they were going to let us go (the 1/2-mile) in :47 or :49. I guess they let us go in :49, which was a little surprising to me. It was just a matter of him being fit enough; I’m not sure if we had him 100%, but he was fit enough to win today, and that’s the main thing.”
Quip returned $40.20 to win, $13.80 to place, and $6.60 to show. Flameaway brought back $6.80 to place and $4 to show, while World of Trouble paid $2.80 to show.