03/07/2012 5:57PM

Tampa: Prospective draws rail in 12-horse field for Tampa Bay Derby

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Michael Burns
Prospective, winning the Grade 3 Grey for 2-year-olds, got a much better draw for the Tampa Bay Derby than he did when stuck far outside in his first two starts of the season.

More than anybody, trainer Mark Casse was anxiously awaiting Wednesday’s post position draw for Saturday’s Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. After all, his Prospective had been parked out wide in each of his previous two starts this winter at Tampa, including the Grade 3 Sam Davis, in which he finished second after racing very wide throughout.

When informed Prospective had drawn the rail in a full field of a dozen 3-year-olds entered for the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby, all Casse could do was let out a little laugh.

“Well it’s a whole lot better than 12,” said Casse, who trains Prospective for owner John Oxley. “Actually I don’t really mind the one. There’s something about this horse, he’s been able to overcome so much adversity. I’m just worried he won’t know what it is to have a short trip. But we think he’s doing extremely well and although it looks like this is going to be a tougher race than the last one, I think any horse that has run over the track has a little advantage.”

The Tampa Bay Derby lured three of the first four finishers from the Sam Davis – Battle Hardened, Prospective, and Ravelo’s Boy. Among the new faces are trainer Todd Pletcher’s undefeated Spring Hill Farm, who will break from post 9, and Take Charge Indy, runner-up to El Padrino in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park earlier this winter, who drew post 10.

The remainder of the field includes Golden Ticket, Twin, Chief Energy, Tell All You Know, Cozzetti, Fox Rules, and Cajun Charlie.

Battle Hardened, well-drawn in the middle of the field from post 7, won his maiden in the Sam Davis, rallying from just off the pace to a 1 1/4-length decision over Prospective. Reveron finished third, a nose back, and was followed by Ravelo's Boy, another nose back in fourth after rallying four wide into the stretch. Fox Rules finished sixth in the Sam Davis after contesting the early pace.

Spring Hill Farm may prove the one to catch in the Tampa Bay Derby. A son of Smart Strike, Spring Hill Farm has led at every call in both previous starts, a seven- furlong maiden victory on Jan. 14 and a one-mile allowance win over a sloppy track on Feb. 11. Both his wins came at Gulfstream.

 

Tampa Bay Derby (G2), Post Time: 5:28 ET Saturday

Purse: $350,000; 1 1/16 mile

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Prospective

M. Casse

L. Contreras

8-1

1

Golden Ticket

K. McPeek

M. Cruz

10-1

1

Twin

P. Maestre

D. Centeno

30-1

1

Chief Energy

J. Toner

P. Lopez

12-1

1

Tell All You Know

C. Stewart

L. Goncalves

15-1

1

Cozzetti

D. Romans

J. Lezcano

12-1

1

Battle Hardened

E. Kenneally

J. Leparoux

9-2

1

Ravelo's Boy

M. Azpurua

J. Sanchez

12-1

1

Spring Hill Farm

T. Pletcher

J. Castellano

5-2

1

Take Charge Indy

P. Byrne

C. Borel

3-1

1

Fox Rules

M. Ferraro

H. Villa-Gomez

30-1

1

Cajun Charlie

B. House

T. Hebert

15-1