Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Prospective wins Tampa Bay Derby to become eligible for the Kentucky Derby

Jockey Luis Contreras, left, races Prospective against Manoel Cruz aboard Golden Ticket in the Tampa Bay Derby.


Jockey Luis Contreras, left, races Prospective against Manoel Cruz aboard Golden Ticket in the Tampa Bay Derby.

OLDSMAR — With Prospective engaged in a stirring stretch duel, trainer Mark Casse didn't have time to blink an eye.

Wearing blinkers for the first time made all the difference to Prospective, who outkicked Golden Ticket to win the Grade II $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs and earn a potential berth in the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Luis Contreras, Prospective won by three-quarters of a length after Golden Ticket, who made an inside move on the final turn, briefly put a head in front in the lane as a crowd of 9,247 watched.

"I wish (Prospective) would have won by five (lengths)," Casse said. "I was shocked that he made the lead so early. With the blinkers, he was just much more aggressive and does what he has to do. He's a fighter."

Casse made the equipment change to blinkers after Prospective finished second behind Battle Hardened in the Feb. 4 Sam F. Davis. In that race, the 3-year-old Malibu Moon colt drew the outside post, went wide on both turns and lost by only 11/4 lengths.

"In the Sam Davis, he was running the entire way down the backstretch with his head cocked, kind of looking at things," Casse said. "We needed something to maybe give us a length or two and thought this will get him a little closer in the early going."

Prospective made the lead at 6 furlongs after chasing pace-setter Cajun Charlie (finished 10th), who set fractions of 22.69 and 47.08 seconds through the first half-mile.

"I had a lot of horse on the backstretch," said Contreras, who started from the No. 1 post. "He moved a little early, but I tried to save my horse as much as I could for the stretch."

Cozzetti was three lengths farther behind in third. Spring Hill Farm, the 2-1 favorite, was fourth, and Battle Hardened finished sixth.

Spring Hill Farm jockey Javier Castellano, who won the Festival Day's other stakes with Zagora ($3.60) in the Grade III $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes and Wait Til Dawn ($4.40) in the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes, said, "I think my horse didn't like the (track) surface much."

Battle Hardened trainer Eddie Kenneally said: "He had a decent trip. It just wasn't his day."

Prospective ($8.20) clocked 1 1/16th-miles in 1:43.35. The $210,000 paycheck raises his graded-stakes earnings to $365,452, ensuring a place in the Kentucky Derby starting gate for owner John Oxley. It was the fourth win from seven outings for the Kentucky-bred colt, who also has stakes wins in the Grade III Grey at Woodbine in Toronto and the Pasco at the Downs.

Casse said Prospective's next start might be in the Wood Memorial on April 7 at Aqueduct in Jamaica, N.Y.

Prospective wins Tampa Bay Derby to become eligible for the Kentucky Derby 03/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 10, 2012 9:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …