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Lambholm Tampa Bay Derby 2016: Posts, Odds, Plays

Lambholm Tampa Bay Derby 2016: Posts, Odds, Plays– Let the Derby fever begin, as we head to Florida this weekend for the 36th edition of the Grade II, Tampa Bay Derby. The race is set for Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Tampa Bay Downs, in Tampa, Florida. The race is now an official prep for the Kentucky Derby and will offer points of 50-20-10-5 for the first four finishers to compete in the 2016 Yums Brand Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7. Since its gain in popularity, the Tampa Bay Derby was upgraded to a Grade II in 2011. The race is for 3 year-olds going a 1 1/16 on the dirt for a purse of $350,000.

Awesome Banner Horse

Awesome Banner, pictured above in the Swale Stakes, will break from post position #10 in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, Match 12, 2016. Photo: Leslie Martin, Coglianese

The speed record is held by Street Sense, set in 2007, which still stands as the stakes & track record for this distance. Street Sense also became the first Tampa Bay Derby participant to win the Kentucky Derby. Super Saver finished 3rd in the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby and went on to win the Kentucky Derby for trainer Todd Pletcher that year. Mr. Pletcher also owns the most trainer wins for this race with three: 2004 with Limehouse, 2013 with Verrazano and 2015 with Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem went on to win the 1 1/8 miles Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and finished up 10th in the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

Tampa Bay Downs is kicking of the weekend with Festival Day 36 which features four stakes races worth $850,000. Also on the card is the 18th running of the Grade II $200,000 Hillsborough Stakes, which is a 1 1/8 event on the turf for fillies and mares. We also have the 33rd running of the Grade III $200,000 Florida Oaks, which is a 1 1/16 grass race for 3 year-old fillies. Last, but not least, we have the 25th running of the $100,000 Challenger Stakes.

The 2016 Tampa Bay Derby is the 11th race of the day on a card of 12 with a start time of 5:24 p.m. EST. This is one full-punch card day at Tampa Bay Downs, with most likely a full-house, so get there early folks. The gates open at 10:30 a.m. with the first race starting at noon. Cooler bags with an embroidered Tampa Bay Downs logo will be handed-out to the first 7,500 entrants, free of charge, with paid admission. Game on! I can’t wait to watch this card Saturday.

We have a salty group of ten entered in this race and it looks like a nice deep field to me for a Grade II.

I have to say, I got sucked onto the Destin bandwagon early last year after finding out this son of Giant’s Causeway/Dream of Summer, was a full-brother to Creative Cause. Creative Cause broke my heart on the 2011 Triple Crown trail as he always tried his hardest but couldn’t quite make it, finishing a respectable 5th in the Kentucky Derby and 3rd in the Preakness, to be retired after. I’m hoping his little brother can step-up to the plate this year in the three big-ones.

Destin has a very light racing career with 4:2:1 and reeks of continued improvement to me. He broke his maiden at first asking last October at Belmont, then subsequently ran second in an allowance race and 4th in the Lecomte. He definitely ran much better winning the Sam F. Davis on this track February 13th digging in hard to overcome his challenger Rafting by 2 ¼ lengths. If he can at least come in the top two places Saturday, he should make the starting gate for the 2016 Kentucky Derby. He may buck the trend, but the Sam F. Davis winner hasn’t fared too well in the Tampa Bay Derby; however, I’m hoping he makes a good showing of himself Saturday as the competition continues to stiffen. It doesn’t hurt that he’s won on this track either, that is a plus for me. Destin could be a handful come the first Saturday in May if he continues to move forward, as he has, from start to start.

It’s tough to look past Economic Model coming in sharp, 2nd off the layoff and lightly raced for trainer Chad Brown. The son of Flatter has two races under his belt. Most recently, finishing up 2nd in the Grade II Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January, at 7 furlongs, making a huge late rally off the rail. He should dig the added real-estate and it doesn’t hurt that Brown is 30% going sprint to route. The colt broke his maiden in August of last year at 6 furlongs by 2 ¼ length under Irad Ortiz, who gets the mount again. He is coming in with some nice works and looks ready to romp.

Another interesting character in here is the speedy colt Riker, who was bought privately by Team Valor International and Gary Barber to be handed over to trainer Mark Casse. This son of Include is a three-time stakes winner at Woodbine, all going gate to wire, after breaking his maiden at first asking. Two races back he became a Grade III winner at Woodbine October 4th of last year in the Grey stakes winning that race by 1 ¼ lengths at 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic. His only loss came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last October 31st finishing up 6th by only 4 lengths after faltering as the pace setter in the final stages. He’s got a few sharp works and is sitting just inside Destin in post #6 with Florent Geroux up, which doesn’t hurt a bit. He could wire this group firing fresh off the bench.

This is a tough race with a lot of early speed signed on with #1 Morning Fire, who is speedy already and will be coming from the rail. Outwork, whom is also very lightly raced and coming in second off the lay, who has won gate-to-wire in both of his races (I’m wondering if they will try to rate him). Then we have the speedy Awesome Banner coming from outside post #10.

I look for Riker to take up the front with Awesome Banner to possibly wear him out on the front-end. I’m banking on Destin to hang back a bit and hopefully win this race, when and IF, the pace collapses. I’ll be playing a win bet on Destin if he is 3-1 or higher. I’ll also post my plays the day of the race on Twitter.

Best of luck to everyone and giddy-up!

Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby 2016 Post Positions & Odds
Race 11 5:24 PM ET
1 Morning Fire* 15-1 Centeno/Nations
2 Rafting 6-1 Prado/Motion
3 Outwork 12-1 Velazquez/Pletcher
4 Economic Model 5-1 Ortiz, Jr./Brown
5 Star Hill 15-1 Leparoux/Arnold, II
6 Riker 8-1 Geroux/Casse
7 Destin 9-2 Castellano/Pletcher
8 Brody’s Cause 5-1 Lanerie/Romans
9 Tale of S’avall 12-1 Bravo/Tagg
10 Awesome Banner 8-1 Gallardo/Gold
*Blinkers off Morning Fire.