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)

Watch Me Go, a 43-1 long shot, wins Tampa Bay Derby

OLDSMAR — It was something Tampa Bay Downs trainers Kathleen O'Connell and Gerald Bennett had seen many times before: Their horses in deep stretch, engaged in a driving finish.

But this was no claiming race. It was the Doozy at the Derby.

O'Connell won the first Grade II race at the Downs in 85 years on Saturday when her Watch Me Go outlasted Bennett's Crimson Knight by a neck in a duel between hometown long shots in the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby.

Watch Me Go was 43-1, and Crimson Knight 86-1.

Kentucky Derby early favorite Uncle Mo was scratched in favor of the Timely Writer race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach (he won), so Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Brethren was the horse to beat in the nine-horse field. The 1-2 favorite led into the stretch, but he couldn't keep pace with Watch Me Go and Crimson Knight in the final 110 yards.

O'Connell's colt got the nod, covering 11/16 miles in 1 minute, 44.25 seconds for jockey Luis Garcia's first graded stakes victory. Brethren finished 31/2 lengths behind.

The first-place prize of $210,000 puts O'Connell and Ocala owner Gilbert Campbell in position to run their West Acre 3-year-old colt in the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

"I'm sure (Campbell) is thinking roses," said O'Connell, the Downs' co-defending training champion.

Bennett, celebrating his 67th birthday, saddled Crimson Knight for the first time after claiming him for $16,000 from Tom Proctor.

Watch Me Go paid $89.40, $28.80 and $8.80. Crimson Knight returned $50 and $11.80.

It was the eighth loss in nine Tampa Bay Derby starts for Brethren trainer Todd Pletcher.

NOTES: Leading jockey Daniel Centeno sustained a pelvic bone injury Friday and is expected to miss the remainder of the meet. … Frederic Lenclud won the other stakes with Denomination ($26.20) in the Grade III $150,000 Hillsborough and Wyomia ($15.20) in the $75,000 Suncoast. … The Downs had a record handle of $10,949,807 for a 12-race card. Attendance was 10,755.

Watch Me Go, a 43-1 long shot, wins Tampa Bay Derby 03/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 9:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The legacy of Tim Tebow's baseball summer


    CLEARWATER — It was about three weeks ago. A Saturday night. I sat behind home plate at a Charlotte Stone Crabs game at Charlotte Sports Park. There was a professional baseball scout sitting just behind me with a speed gun in his hand. He had seen the whole thing.

    Seth Bosch, left, of Punta Gorda, Fla., met Tim Tebow in Port Charlotte, Fla., in late July when Tebow, while in the on-deck circle during a game, shook hands with Seth through the backstop screen. The moment was captured on video by Seth's mother, as was the home run Tebow promptly hit in his ensuing at bat. Seth, who has high-functioning autism and other health issues, celebrated wildly and the video went viral. PHOTO PROVIDED
  2. Cannon Fodder podcast: Previewing Bucs-Jaguars


    Greg Auman previews the Bucs' preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and talks about the $26,000 Bucs rookie dinner tab that wasn't in our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast. Listen below:

    Charles Sims runs with the ball during the Bucs' game against the Jaguars last season.
  3. Plenty of unfinished business for Mitchell volleyball

    Volleyball Preps

    TRINITY — Their previous trip to New Smyrna Beach turned out to be a joyride, resulting in the Mitchell Mustangs' first spot in the state volleyball semifinals.

    Mitchell High school’s Jessie Mooney serves the ball during the 6A State High School Championship volleyball finals game against  Jensen Beach High School at the Venue on the UCF campus in Orlando.
(11/14/2015  WILLIE J. ALLEN JR.]
  4. Charles Bottoms, right, with his wife, Annie, wore the Tim Tebow Broncos jersey to Steinbrenner Field "only because I didn't want to wear my good (signed Gators) Tebow one." [RYAN ROMANO | Times]