Remsen Form Can Shine Again in Tampa Bay Derby

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman") Twitter: @J_Keelerman

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues this Saturday with the running of the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. Meanwhile at Santa Anita, the $100,000 Santa Ysabel (G3) serves as the latest stop on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

Let's take a look at both races:

Tampa Bay Derby (G3)

The 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby typically draws a competitive field, and this year is no exception. There are many viable win contenders among the 10 entrants.

One runner who's bound to draw plenty of betting support is #7 No More Time, a gate-to-wire winner of the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa last month. The speedy son of Not This Time figures to be prominent from the outset, especially after breezing a bullet half-mile in :47 4/5 last Saturday. But No More Time's Sam F. Davis triumph yielded a modest 80 Beyer Speed Figure, suggesting #5 Domestic Product might be a more likely winner of the Tampa Bay Derby.

Domestic Product impressed when employing pace-tracking tactics to dominate a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight at Aqueduct last fall by 4 1/2 lengths, counting fellow Tampa Bay Derby entrant #10 Sturdy among his beaten rivals. Domestic Product subsequently finished seventh when joining the Road to the Kentucky Derby in Aqueduct's 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2), but I won't judge his defeat too harshly. Domestic Product settled behind the leaders over a strongly speed-favoring track, and it turns out the Remsen was a very deep race, producing Fountain of Youth (G2) 1-2 finishers Dornoch and Le Dom Bro, Risen Star (G2) hero Sierra Leone, and Jerome S. winner Drum Roll Please.

Domestic Product himself returned to action in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park, where he was compromised by racing off the pace against slow fractions of :25.03, :50.53, and 1:14.25 set by gate-to-wire winner Hades. But despite this disadvantage, Domestic Product rallied gamely to finish second by two lengths, ahead of Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and champion two-year-old male Fierceness.

I'm optimistic the Tampa Bay Derby will unfold at a quicker tempo, opening the door for Domestic Product to deliver a career-best performance. The 87 Beyer Speed Figure he posted in the Holy Bull tops the Tampa Bay Derby field, so any improvement at all from Domestic Product can land him in the winner's circle.

Santa Ysabel (G3)

Eight sophomore fillies will race 1 1/16 miles in the Santa Ysabel, a race Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won a record eight times. Baffert's tally includes three consecutive victories with Beautiful Gift (2021), Eda (2022), and Faiza (2023).

Baffert can pick up a fourth straight Santa Ysabel and a ninth win overall courtesy of #4 Kinza. The undefeated daughter of Carpe Diem debuted in a six-furlong maiden special weight on Dec. 29 at Santa Anita and left no doubt about her superiority, pressing a quick pace before taking over to dominate by 7 1/2 lengths.

Kinza made her stakes and route debut in the Feb. 10 Las Virgenes (G3) racing one mile at Santa Anita, and the result was much the same. After carving out a good pace, Kinza stayed on down the homestretch and widened her advantage through the final furlong to beat runaway Santa Ynez (G3) winner Kopion by two lengths in the good time of 1:37.03.

Kopion has opted to skip the Santa Ysabel, leaving Kinza as hands-down the filly to beat under Santa Anita's leading jockey Juan Hernandez, who has won at a 32% rate teaming up with Baffert over the last two months. Kinza looks like the "speed of the speed" in the Santa Ysabel field and should have every chance to record another gate-to-wire victory.

#5 She's a Tempest is a logical contender for the minor awards after finishing third in the Las Virgenes, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Kinza. She previously led almost all the way to win a one-mile maiden special weight at Santa Anita by a head over next-out maiden winner #1 Ultimate Authority.

But don't count debut winner #6 Nay V Belle out of the mix. She finished fast from off the pace to win a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita last month for red-hot trainer Mark Glatt, a 31% winner at Santa Anita this meet and a 21% winner with horses running long for the first time. Nay V Belle is eligible to challenge for a top-three finish while stepping up in distance under internationally renowned jockey Frankie Dettori, a 36% winner teaming up with Glatt over the last two months.

Now it's your turn! Who do you like in the Tampa Bay Derby and Santa Ysabel?


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J. Keeler Johnson (also known as "Keelerman") is a writer, videographer, voice actor, handicapper, and all-around horse racing enthusiast. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite.

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