01/30/2014 2:24PM

Tampa Bay: Super Chunky tries to stand out amid rugged field in Tampa Bay Stakes

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Super Chunky, an earner of nearly $425,000, will start from post 2 in the $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on Saturday.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Super Chunky has a characteristic that makes him not unlike the rest of a rugged field of older turf runners in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes.

“He’s one classy, hard-trying son of a gun,” said Kenny Cox, who trains 8-year-old Super Chunky for the Euro Stable of Portuguese native Valter Ramos. “As long as you keep riding him, he’s going to keep digging in. He’s something else.”

Super Chunky, with Erick Rodriguez to ride, figures as a fringe player in the 28th running of the $150,000 Tampa Bay, which directly follows the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis as the 10th of 12 Saturday races at Tampa Bay Downs. The favorite should be Salto, a Todd Pletcher-trained 6-year-old who ships in from Palm Meadows and will start from post 6 in a capacity field of 12.

Super Chunky, an earner of nearly $425,000, draws favorably in post 2.

[Sam F. Davis Stakes: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

“He naturally lays close, but hopefully he’ll have something to run at, which is the style he prefers,” said Cox, in his first year at Tampa after years of staying home in Maryland for winter racing at Laurel.

There are all sorts of other viable options in this 1 1/16-mile race, including Seal Cove, Riding the River, Golden Sabre, Nicklaus Way, and Philly Ace.

Guys Reward and Looking Cool will be two of the longer-priced horses, but both have the back-class to jump up with a big effort.

“My horse really probably needed that last one at Gulfstream,” Dale Romans, trainer of Guys Reward, said in reference to a 10th-place effort on Dec. 28.

Please Explain in Suncoast

Tom Proctor isn’t necessarily ready to proclaim that two turns were the end-all solution for Please Explain, but the trainer might have more to say about that Saturday after the Curlin filly makes her stakes debut in the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes (race 8).

Please Explain broke loose with an eye-catching maiden victory Dec. 19 at Gulfstream when stretched out off three one-turn races.

“I’d like to see her show that more ground is a big reason she ran as well as she did breaking her maiden,” said Proctor.

Please Explain will have Julien Leparoux back aboard when breaking from the rail slot in an oversubscribed field in the one-mile and 40-yard Suncoast. Twelve 3-year-old fillies are entered, but only as many as 10 can start.

Other logical contenders include Playful Love, getting first Lasix; Nesso, winner of the Gasparilla here four weeks ago; Dame Dorothy, shipping in for Pletcher; Comme Chez Soi, trained by Michael Matz; and Light Bringer, already a three-time winner.