By Emily Shields
A banner day at Tampa Bay Downs takes place March 7, where five stakes – four graded – are headlined by the $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2). The 1 1/16-mile race for sophomores is a major prep race for the 2020 Kentucky Derby, and drew a field of 12.
Chance It has been rerouted here after drawing outside in the Fountain of Youth (G2) last weekend. The son of Currency Swap has more experience than most, with six starts under his belt. He has four wins and two seconds, including three stakes scores to date. Most recently he won the Mucho Macho Man over a mile at Gulfstream Park. Paco Lopez will ride.
Sole Volante is the morning line favorite for hot trainer Patrick Biancone. The son of Karakontie has won three of four starts, including the Sam F Davis here a month ago. Keep in mind he lost to Chance It in the Mucho Macho Man, and was 5-1 when winning here last out. Florent Geroux will ride for the first time.
Market Analysis is the first of the Todd Pletcher brigade in here. The $250,000 son of Honor Code won his debut January 25 at Gulfstream, scoring by three-quarters of a length under John Velazquez, who rides back. This WinStar and China Horse Club runner has had four strong workouts since, including a half mile bullet a week ago.
The rest of the field is double digit morning line odds. Spa City is one of the final runners from the Kiaran McLaughlin barn, as that trainer is retiring. The son of Tampa Bay Derby winner Street Sense runs for Godolphin and broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park over 1 1/8 miles one month ago. He worked a bullet at Palm Meadows on February 28.
Texas Swing is the second of Pletcher’s three runners in the race. The son of Curlin is out of a Tiznow mare, and broke his maiden here in February. He has since had a bullet five furlong workout at Palm Beach Downs, and looks to add back to his $275,000 purchase price here. Javier Castellano will ride.
Letmeno rounds out the logical contenders. The son of Twirling Candy is trained by Ian Wilkes. He broke his maiden at Ellis Park sprinting last July, and has since struggled to win, but was third here on this surface in his 2020 debut last out. That was behind one of the hot Derby choices in Gouverneur Morris.
Relentless Dancer, Mo Mosa, Unrighteous, Bye Bye Melvin, King Guillermo, and Tons of Gold complete the field. Watch and wager with TVG on all the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep races.
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