Sunday Horse Racing at Tampa Bay Downs: Garrity picks 4 stakes races for Florida Cup Day
With short fields making the stakes races in New York and California unappealing, from a wagering if not a sporting standpoint, we have zeroed in on Tampa Bay Downs, where it is Florida Cup Day, and there is a six-pack of stakes races for state-breds. We have plays in four of them. The dirt will be fast, and the turf firm, so let’s go.
Tampa Bay Downs, Race 5, 1:55 pm ET
$110,000 Equifstaff Sophomore Turf Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Florida-bred 3-Year-Olds
We generally prefer to play tougher races, as they offer better pari-mutuel rewards, but every once in a while, we like a layup, and this is one: Favored 2-Chess’s Dream looks like he will have to fall down to lose. He’s run six times, and the only bad race among them is when trainer Mike Maker tried him on the dirt. That ended poorly, but since this race is on grass, not dirt, we expect a much better result. Look for Chess’s Dream to sit mid-pack early, and to blow away the field with a very strong run down the stretch. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Tampa Bay Downs, Race 5, $50 to win on 2-Chess’s Dream.
Tampa Bay Downs, Race 7, 2:55 pm ET
$110,000 Ocala Breeders Sales’ Sophomore Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Florida-bred 3-Year-Olds
A field of eight 3-year-old Florida-breds lines up for this dirt sprint. The pick is 4-Breeze on By, who cuts back to sprinting after an unsuccessful try going around two turns, and who gets Lasix for the first time, after running all four of his career starts at Gulfstream Park, where the administration of the anti-bleeding medication is not allowed. Look for Breeze on By to press the pace early, to breeze on by the rest of the field in mid-stretch, and to win comfortably. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Tampa Bay Downs, Race 7, $40 to win on 4-Breeze on By.
Tampa Bay Downs, Race 9, 3:57 pm ET
$110,000 NYRA Bets Sprint Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Florida-breds 4 & Up
8-Cajun Brother has spent most of his career running in open company, which means against horses bred in states like Kentucky and New York, but here will run in a race restricted to Florida-breds. This is roughly equivalent to a varsity basketball player dropping in to a JV game and scoring 35 points; we expect something similar to happen here. Cajun Brother is 6-1 on the morning line, but this looks like a bad line to us, and he will be shorter, probably much shorter, by post time; we will bet him anyway. Look for him to be right on the pace from his outside post, either in the lead or just off it, and to win from that forward position. We will bet him to win. The bet: Tampa Bay Downs, Race 9, $35 to win on 8-Cajun Brother.
Tampa Bay Downs, Race 10, 4:29 pm ET
$110,000 Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Florida-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A good field of ten older female turf runners goes to the post here. We like 6-Beautiful Lover, who makes her seasonal debut, and her first start for new trainer Christophe Clement, after running in some very tough races, including a Grade 1 stakes, last year. She hasn’t run since September, and while the layoff is a bit of a concern, we think she will fire today, partly because Clement is good with horses coming off the bench, and partly because we think the race shape will favor her, as she’s a closer in a race that we project to have a fast early pace, which should set the table for her late charge. Look for her to be flying late. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Tampa Bay Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 6-Beautiful Lover.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.