Top Three-Year-Olds Clash in $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby

Top Three-Year-Olds Clash in $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby

Category : News - Thu 05/03/2015 - 21:46 EST

On Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, a field of nine sophomores is set to compete in the 35th edition of the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby. In addition to Grade 2 status, the mile and a sixteenth race offers coveted points towards a berth in the Kentucky Derby.

Carpe Diem will be making his much-anticipated three-year-old debut and has been set as the morning line favorite at odds of 8-5 for trainer Todd Pletcher. Purchased for $1.6 million as a yearling, the chestnut son of Giant’s Causeway has won two of his three starts and was second as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). He has been training sharply for his return to the races and has clocked several recent bullet workouts. John Velazquez will be aboard from post position three.

Ocean Knight trying for third straight win

Second choice at 2-1 on the morning line is Ocean Knight, an undefeated son of Curlin trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. Purchased for $320,000 as a juvenile, he has won both starts to date and has gone off as the favorite in both races. Last time out, he won the Sam F. Davis by a neck at Tampa Bay Downs over a field of eleven rivals. Irad Ortiz, Jr., aboard for both career starts, will be back aboard from post position two.

Longshot Moonlight Bandit switching back to dirt

Also in the field and a longshot at 30-1 on the morning line is Moonlight Bandit for trainer Mark Casse. Purchased for $190,000 as a yearling by John Oxley, the dark bay son of Malibu Moon broke his maiden in his second career start as a juvenile and, after finishing eleventh in the Remsen (G2), finished third in an optional claiming race on the turf in his sophomore debut. He has had a bullet workout since that race and will break from post eight under Jose Lezcano.

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