In the main, Tampa Bay Downs has been blessed by great weather throughout the 2021-22 season. Unfortunately, that will not be the case when they run the lynchpin of every race meet, the Tampa Bay Derby presented by Lambholm South.
As of this posting, the National Weather Service is forecasting a 100% chance of rain on Saturday. That fact will color on our opinion on today’s race, albeit not too far from our original thoughts. We still believe that impressive Sam F Davis winner Creative Cause (8-5) remain the one to beat.
As for the competition, which is varied and deep, we won’t stray from that Grade 3 Tampa Derby prep for the favorite’s main rivals, Shipsational (5-1) and Strike Hard (8-1).
The former is the only one of 11 to win races on sloppy footing, and he did it twice. And stabled here all season by New York regular Eddie Barker to prepare for this, his runner up effort in the Davis was very good indeed, a strong rally placing behind the ‘Cause’.
Not far behind him was Strike Hard who, after breaking from post 10 with its relatively short run to the turn, he raced 5 wide throughout, making progress with a continued-wide turn move that carried him 7 across into the lane.
The fact Strike Hard finished fourth, beaten 6-1/2 lengths, was fairly remarkable. Subsequently, his blowout was best of 162 peers to work last weekend and attracts Luis Saez today.
Everyone needs to go back and study the Davis replay on the Tampa Bay Today Video on the homepage, there is a lot to unpack: Tampa Bay Downs, FEB 12, Race 10.
Creative Cause is the most probable winner, but there are more interesting wagering approaches to this event. See the featured Value Play section update on the HRI homepage early this afternoon.