Two great 2017 Kentucky Derby prep races will be held on Saturday, the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California and the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Florida. Bob Baffert is a face synonymous with Kentucky Derby success and he looks to showcase his next potential star Mastery in Saturday’s $400,000 San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita Park in Southern California – one of two Championship Series races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com.
Nearly 2,500 miles east in Oldsmar, Fla., improving Tapwrit headlines a wide-open field of 10 in the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (GII). Tapwrit hails from the powerful Todd Pletcher barn, who will attempt to win the race for a record-extending fifth time and fourth time in the last five years.
The San Felipe is slated for Race 5 at Santa Anita with a post time of 5 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled as Tampa Bay Downs’ 11th race at 5:27 p.m.
Both 1 1/16-mile races will award 50 points to the winner and 20 to the runner-up. The third and fourth-place finishers will earn 10 and 5 points, respectively. The top point earners in the 37-race Road to the Kentucky Derby series will have preference to compete in the 20-horse Grade I, $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 6.
Unbeaten 2-year-old star Mastery will make his 3-year-old debut in the San Felipe for Baffert, the four-time Kentucky Derby-winning Hall of Fame trainer. Mastery created a huge impression as a 2-year-old with a 7 ¼-length triumph in the Los Alamitos Futurity (GI) in December. Absent from racing for 13 weeks, Mastery returns to face six rivals including 3 ½-length San Vicente (GII) winner Iliad for two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill and Gormley, the determined victor of the Jan. 7 Sham (GIII) for fellow Kentucky Derby-winning trainer John Shirreffs.
In the Tampa Bay Derby, Tapwrit, a fast-closing second only 1 ½-lengths behind unbeaten McCraken in the Feb. 4 Sam F. Davis (GIII), is the 3-1 morning line favorite. McCraken would have been heavily favored in Saturday’s race, but his Kentucky Derby route was altered after a minor ankle injury sidelined the colt for a couple of days. Now back galloping, his trainer, Ian Wilkes, has rerouted the 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper to the April 8 Blue Grass (GII) at Keeneland.
The field of 10 for Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby has seven horses between 3-1 and 12-1 on the morning line including the Sam F. Davis’ third- and fourth-place finishers State of Honor (4-1) and Wild Shot (5-1); seemingly-improving Beasley (9-2), a two-time allowance runner-up at Gulfstream Park; and No Dozing (6-1), who returns for another try after finishing a disappointing sixth in the Sam F. Davis which was his first race since running second in last November’s Remsen (GII).
A edited press release.
Tags: 2017 Kentucky Derby prep races, Arcadia, Beasley, Bob Baffert, California, Doug O'Neill, Florida, Gormley, Iliad, John Shirreffs, Kentucky Derby, Mastery, No Dozing, Oldsmar, Road to the Kentucky Derby, San Felipe Stakes, Santa Anita Park, State of Honor, Tampa Bay Derby, Tampa Bay Downs, Tapwrit, Todd Pletcher, Wild Shot