When it comes to horse racing in Florida this Saturday, Gulfstream Park isn't the only game in town and the Tampa Bay Derby isn't the only big race at Tampa Bay Downs. The biggest day of the meet for the track on the west coast offers a 12 race card which features the Tampa Bay Derby, which is predicated by two other stakes races. The Suncoast 100K which is a three year old race for fillies, and the G3 Hillsborough, a race for fillies and mares run on the turf. With both aforementioned races kicking off the pick 5 and pick 4 respectively, lets see if we can find some good value to get started in the deep multi race wagers.
Manuka Honey- may be probable pace setter, took to dirt first time out after 5 attempts on grass/ (like 3 Close Hatches) broke maiden at GP @ 7 furlongs earning a race high 79 BSF. E Prado who is having a good meet @ GP sticks. What may benefit MH more than the pace factor, may be that she has a wealth of experience at two turns.
Cindys Casino- With two solid horses coming over from Gulfstream Park with good connections, Cindys Casino morning line odds of 7/2 may drift up to a very square price. Particularly if you take out her two turf races, and her sluggish start in the Sandpiper last December. Considering that she broke her maiden with an 8 3/4 length victory earning a competitive 71 BSF for the race, then she nearly blew up the tote board in January, with a game second place in the Gasparilla stakes at odds of 63-1, this horse has ability to fire a big race when she wants. Trainer William Downing certainly feels like she has a lot of up side, entering her on the turf in the G3 Florida Oaks. In that race she went off at 55-1 but after her saddle slipped she never had a chance. Since then she ran a sharp bullet workout, going :59 3/5th, besting 36 others that day.
Caraquista- coming out of the 1 post, the daughter of Ghostzapper is being rerouted back to dirt after a couple tough sessions with the big girls on the sod. Caraquista has an experienced nine races in her early career. And its not just quantity but quality, trainer Manuel Azpurua thought enough of her to get her in two minor stakes races, even before she broke her maiden. At 30-1 odds she is defiantly a horse you at least want on the back end of your exotic bets.
Hillsborough G3 Turf
Old Tune- If anyone is going to knock the morning line favorite off, their gonna have to chase her down. In her first race in N. America, trainer Todd Pletcher had Old Tune cranked and ready to fire as the multiple G1 winner in Brazil took an early lead in her last race, and was never threatened after that. The Brazilian bred finished the race in a blistering 1:41 and 2/5th earning a 90 Beyer Speed Figure, and giving herself her 5th win in a row. However the waters will get much deeper at Tampa Bay Downs this Saturday where she will run into some girls to compete with.
Mystical Star- Old tune will get a class test in the form of the 3 horse Mystical Star. Mystical Star is running in her first race of 2013 after a strong 2012. Last year she earned nearly 300K, winning the G2 New York Stakes and getting second in the G1 Spinster. Trainer Christophe Clement is 23% in 75 races off a 61-180 layoff, Mystical Star should have enough class to be there at the wire.
Forces of Darkness (Ire) -In his young career trainer Chad Brown has nearly mastered the art of running horses off the boat from Europe. In his career Chad Brown is an astounding 50%, 7 for 14 with first time North American imports, and this year he is striking at 44% with a ROI of $3.00. In this race he saddles four year old Forces Of Darkness. If her three year old season in Europe is any indication, Forces Of Darkness should be a handful this year in the states. Last year she won the G3 Prix Minerve, and the Kizil Kourgan, as well as running a fourth and third in highly competitive G1 races in France. The only knock on the filly in this race is the distance, the mile and an eighth may be a little short, as this girl likes to stretch her legs out in the longer distances. However if she goes off anywhere near her morning line odds of 9/2, she will be a great bet.
Absolute Crackers- If your looking for an improving filly to get a nice price on then Absolute Crackers is your bet. Coming out of the 12 post, the four year old out of Giant's Causeway will be a square price with a 12-1 morning line. Since coming to N. America the Irish bred has won two of four races under trainer Graham Motion. In her last race she took up on the rail to mount a late gain, but only good enough for sixth place. However the race was at a mile, and if the rest of the field doesn't want Old Tune to get too far away from the field, Absolute Crackers may take advantage of the pace and added distance to get up for a big price.