Triple Crown Throwdown: Tampa Bay Derby, San Felipe, Gotham


Ed DeRosa of takes on TDN's Steve Sherack and Brian DiDonato as they handicap Triple Crown prep races plus the big three races themselves. The three will make $100 Win/Place bets in the preps and $200 Win/Place bets in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Highest bankroll at the end wins.

DeRosa GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. ResultsCountry Grammer ran well enough last week to sneak into my Kentucky Derby rankings, but not well enough to win any points, so I'm looking to bust out in the penultimate week of 50-points-to-the-winner races by going against the favorite in all three heats. Bankroll: $1195.

GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby – In the Tampa Bay Derby, I really like Letmeno at the expected price given he should have some pace to run at, and I expect improvement in his second start as a 3-year-old. Selection: #8 Letmeno (12-1).

GII San Felipe S. – The San Felipe goes through Honor A. P., who already has shown versatility, and–while I prefer the recency edge of the Baffert runners–think we're getting compensated for the time off by the expected price. Selection: #2 Honor A. P. (4-1).

GIII Gotham S. – In the Gotham, going to take a flyer on Necker Island, who returns to the one-turn mile distance after a better-than-it-looks Swale performance. Selection: #5 Necker Island (12-1).

Sherack GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. ResultsDennis' Moment couldn't have been more disappointing, trailing the field home as the heavy favorite. So much for making the Breeders' Cup Juvenile a distant memory. Bankroll: $1685.

GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby – If they go fast enough early here (yes, on paper it looks like there's plenty of speed in this big field, but you know how that goes), Letmeno can make some noise at a big number. The gray flashed some ability at two–his winning debut at Ellis and rallying fourth from a mile out of it in the GIII Iroquois at Churchill are worth a second look–and he has every right to move forward after an albeit flat third in a salty 1X over this track off a long break for a barn not known for cranking them up. Selection: #8 Letmeno (12-1).

GII San Felipe S.Honor A. P.'s runner-up debut impressed me enough last summer at Del Mar (click here for Second Chances column) to tab him as my early Derby horse, and the son of Honor Code couldn't have been more impressive stretching to two turns graduating in style at Santa Anita with a 91 Beyer at second asking in mid-October. After having a minor setback in January, however, he'll now have to take on a pair of unbeatens from the Baffert barn and also the defending BC Juvenile champ in his sophomore season lid lifter. Daunting task indeed, but talented enough to pull this off first try off the bench, patient connections and all. Selection: #2 Honor A. P. (4-1).

GIII Gotham S. – They have to be flying early here and the stretch-running Gulfstream invader Attachment Rate appears to be the most promising of the likely beneficiaries. Let's see if he can take another jump forward after remaining on his left lead in his two starts since returning from a lengthy break this winter, including a strong second behind the highly regarded Tampa Bay Derby-bound Market Analysis. Selection: #4 Attachment Rate (9-2).

DiDonato GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. Results – I really need to stop taking horses who I know want longer, but Country Grammer ran on well for fifth (not beaten much for second) and is an interesting prospect going forward. Bankroll: $1685.

GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby – I never thought when I cracked open the PPs for this race that I'd end up on Sole Volante, but here we are. He got a big set-up last time in the GIII Sam F. Davis, but the pace should be honest again here. I just don't really trust anyone else to take to this quirky track and work out a trip that allows them to beat the expected favorite. Selection: #7 Sole Volante (2-1).

GII San Felipe S.Honor A. P. hasn't been seen since October, but he's been flattered in the interim. The race he debuted in produced three next-out winners and three runners-up, and the winner Ginobili stretched hype horse Nadal to less than a length in the GII San Vicente S. last month. His 5 1/4-length maiden-breaking romp going a mile here in October has also held up ok, with runner-up Tizamagician finishing a lot closer to Thousand Words last time in the GIII Robert B. Lewis than he did to Honor A. P. The John Shirreffs trainee has looked great (and exactly like his sire Honor Code) in his morning preps, and is one of the most exciting unexposed 3-year-old colts in the country. Selection: #2 Honor A. P. (4-1).

GIII Gotham S.Attachment Rate's two Gulfstream races were pretty strong and he seems as good an option as any. He flew for second from a mile back at 50-1 behind well-backed Tampa Bay Derby entrant Market Analysis, and he earned a big figure when breaking through in the slop going a similar one-turn mile last out. Trainer Dale Romans has done pretty well with sophomores at the Big A in recent years–he took this race in 2017 with J Boys Echo. Selection: #4 Attachment Rate (9-2).

Click for PP's for the Gotham, San Felipe & Tampa Bay Derby.

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