03/10/2017 12:58PM

King: Tampa Bay Downs pick four for Saturday, March 11


Anchored by a single in the last race at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, a debuting 3-year-old filly in a maiden special weight contest, here is my strategy for playing the late pick four there, a sequence that includes three graded stakes, including the Tampa Bay Derby.

Race 9, Florida Oaks

This 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies attracted a top field with a mixture of in-form Florida competitors and a couple of graded-stakes-winning comebackers kicking off their 2017 campaigns. Little separates the leading contenders, leading me to go four deep with Fifty Five (6), Compelled (9), La Coronel (5), and Dynatail (3).

Fifty Five and Compelled come off fine efforts in the Feb. 4 Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream, where they were third and second; La Coronel is the established class on the grass but is unraced since a wide sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; and Dynatail is razor sharp, having won three in a row, including a stake at OBS in her last start.

Race 10, Hillsborough

I’ve always thought highly of Isabella Sings (6), whose blazing speed and ability to sustain it makes her difficult to catch. She is a must-use. Still, this is a talented group, so I will also use Dickinson (3) and Elysea’s World (5), the one-two finishers from last month’s Suwannee River at Gulfstream Park.

Race 11, Tampa Bay Derby

Tapwrit (5) impressed with his long, sustained rally to be second in the Sam. F. Davis Stakes and, following an effortless breeze last week at Palm Meadows, is my selection to win.  But he rates just narrowly on top over Beasley (6), who has twice been second in allowances at Gulfstream this winter against talented colts.

They are the two I like best, but I will toss one more into the pick four in No Dozing (4), who is a candidate to improve in his second start of 2017 after a promising 2-year-old year.

:: TAMPA BAY DERBY: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

Race 12, maiden special weight

Last up is a straight maiden race at six furlongs for 3-year-old fillies in which I think it’s best to take a stand and single first-time starter Include the Best (7) in what seems like a soft field. She has been working quickly for trainer Tom Proctor, with three of her last five breezes ranking as either the fastest or second-fastest at the distance on those mornings.

The tickets

Playing the horses outlined above, a 50-cent pick four of 3,5,6,9 with 3,5,6 with 4,5,6 with 7 costs $18.