Tampa Bay Derby – Tampa Bay Downs March 12, 2022
The Tampa Bay Derby is a Grade 2 US thoroughbred horse race for three years old horses over the distance of 1 1/16th miles on the dirt at Tampa Bay Downs has existed for years within the shadows of the more luxurious Kentucky Derby prep races at nearby Gulfstream Park.
In an aspect of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series; The race offers 85 Derby qualifying points awarded to top-four finishers which are divided 50-20-10-5.
Although it has faced a lot of competition for the best three-year-olds from Florida; the Tampa Bay Derby has more than stood its ground as a highly successful preparation for the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday of May.
The first time it was to be held was in 1981 and got off to a rapid start after 1982 winner Reinvested ended up finishing third at the Kentucky Derby, but the race took off at the end of the ’90s.
Tampa Bay Derby runners-up Menifee (1999) and Impeachment (2000) succeeded at the board at the Kentucky Derby, stirring the race to be granted the status of Grade 3 in 2002. This improvement, along with the steady increase in purses, led to better and more powerful horses to focus on this race.
The 2006 second-placed Bluegrass Cat gave the race an advantage when it finished 2nd at the Kentucky Derby, and Street Sense did better in 2007, turning the narrow loss in the race at Tampa Bay Downs into a win that was a runaway on the first Saturday of May.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has been the most successful groomer of Tampa Bay Derby champions, winning with Limehouse in 2004 and riding four winners over the period of five years that ran between 2013 and 2017. Pletcher also sat on 2010 third-place winner Super Saver, who went on to win victory in the Kentucky Derby.
Continued to expand in the years 2010 and beyond, becoming the Grade 2 status in the year 2011 while riding the wave created through Street Sense and Super Saver.
The purse was $400,000 in the year 2018, one year following Pletcher’s Tapwrit utilized his Tampa Bay Derby victory as the basis for his success in Belmont Stakes (G1). Belmont Stakes (G1). In the year 2019, Tacitus won the Tampa Bay Derby in a stakes-record time of 1:41.90 and was the beginning of a very successful year which saw him win each of in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.
Fresh in his debut in October, D. J. Stable’s Helium was able to win the $350,000, Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby with a lengthy finale, scoring 50 points in the Road towards the Kentucky Derby and becoming his sire’s first graded stakes winner.
Try & Boost your chance of winning your horse bets with our Horse Betting Guide
Follow us on Social Media for instant Kentucky Derby prep races updates!