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Signs point to Zede in Tampa Bay Derby

Even if Zede didn't have the Eclipse Award-winning Team Cigar behind him _ rider Jerry Bailey, trainer Billy Mott and owner Allen Paulson _ the son of Strawberry Road still would be favored to win today's $150,000 Tampa Bay Derby.

In his first career start, Zede defeated Confide by a length. In his third start, he finished second, 2{ lengths ahead of Frisk Me Now. Until recently, Confide was one of the better Kentucky Derby candidates, and Frisk Me Now won the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park, then finished third in the Florida Derby.

In his five starts, the first four with Bailey aboard, Zede has picked up a pair of victories and as many seconds.

And Zede's chances improved after he drew the rail for today's race. Horses leaving from the No.

1 post have a decided advantage at Oldsmar, often gaining 2 or 3 lengths while the rest of the field goes wide looking for position.

Although several of the horses have competed in stakes races, just two are stakes winners. One is Stormy Cloud, to be ridden by Shane Sellers; the other is Wilt the Tilt, a local favorite who will be under Luis Gonzalez for the sixth straight time.

Stormy Cloud is the most accomplished runner in the field, with a record of 3-3-2 in 10 starts for trainer Elliott Walden. The colt by Smarten won the Maryland Juvenile Championship by 5 lengths and was third in the Horatius Stakes in his last start. He's the only $100,000-plus earner in the field at $116,155.

Favorable Regard, who drew the killer No.

12 post, may not start. The Florida-bred colt also is entered in Monday's races at the Ocala Breeders' Training Center.

The co-feature on Tampa's biggest racing day is the $100,000 Florida Oaks, a Grade III race for 3-year-old fillies. There are two stakes winners in the field _ Roana Gale, who won the Busanda at Aqueduct on Jan.

20, and Anklet, winner of the Valdale at Turfway Park on Feb.

22, with Sellers riding. Either could be the post-time favorite, or that honor could fall to Screamer, with Jose Santos, or Global Star, with Bailey. The race is that wide open.

REBEL STAKES: Phantom On Tour, fourth down the backstretch, easily went by Direct Hit on his way to a 2\-length victory at Hot Springs, Ark. Phantom On Tour returned $7.80, $4.80 and $2.80 after finishing 1/ miles in 1:42/. Direct Hit hung on for second and returned $5.60 and $3.20. River Squall paid $2.20 to show.

WIDENER HANDICAP: Tejano Run made a strong late run to beat Ghostly Moves by 4{ lengths at Hialeah. Tejano Run ran 1[ miles in 1:48/ and paid $5.40, $3.40 and $2.40. Ghostly Moves paid $6.80 and $3. Mt. Sassafras, the 3-2 favorite, paid $2.20 to show.

CAPTAIN BODGIT: Captain Bodgit is headed to New York _ specifically to the Wood Memorial. The change means Captain Bodgit's rematch with Pulpit will not take place until the Kentucky Derby.

_

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Today at the Downs

Tampa Bay Derby

POST TIME: 5 p.m.+ DISTANCE: 1 1/16 miles. PURSE: $150,000.

PP Horse Jockey Odds

1. Zede Bailey 5-1

2. Tan Bird Daniels 20-1

3. Odyssee Layton 20-1

4. Chin Up Lopez 10-1

5. Ship Liner Bacon 12-1

6. Magical Appeal Buckley 15-1

7. Brisco Jack Hghtn 10-1

8. Roberto's Pride Nunez 15-1

9. Stormy Cloud Sellers 3-1

10. What A Claim Santos 8-1

11. Wilt The Tilt Gonzalz 4-1

12. Favorable Regrd Whitley 6-1

Florida Oaks

POST TIME: 5:30 p.m.+ DISTANCE: 1 1/16 miles. PURSE: $100,000.

PP Horse Jockey Odds

1. Roana Gale Suckie 9-2

2. Labriche Garcia 20-1

3. Pyrite Anne Henry 6-1

4. Prspctve Rosie Garcia 8-1

5. Our Pearl Layton 20-1

6. Screamer Santos 7-2

7. Kayo C Bacon 12-1

8. Global Star Bailey 5-1

9. Anklet Sellers 3-1

10. Does Talk Lopez 15-1

+-times are approximate; odds reflect morning-line odds

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