Friday, May 6, 2011

Tabby Takes on Six on Derby Day at Tampa

While the world’s eyes will be trained on Churchill Downs tomorrow afternoon, my eyes will be taking a detour to Tampa Bay Downs for the second race (11:50 CT).  This will be the day we see if Tabby Lane has truly turned the corner or if her last win was merely an aberration.  The field is a short one, only seven, but it is an interesting group of seven.  The race is 6.5 furlongs over the dirt course and the class level is $8,000.

1.       Step Sister (Coa): The morning line favorite, Step Sister, is dropping WAY down for this one after finishing fifth in a $16,000 claiming race on April 16.  She’s in her third barn in six weeks but did her best running before the flurry of claiming activity at the $8,000 and $10,000 level.  She’s won at this distance before and seems to do best when she sees the front end.

2.       Nervous Nell (Jurado): After winning a couple at Calder late last year she tried a group of allowance fillies and mares and was ran off the track.  She took nearly three months off after that one and hasn’t really been the same since returning to the track, though her third place finish at $6250 last out did show some signs of life.


4.       Who Loves Ya Baby (Montalvo): Finished just ahead of Nervous Nell last out, she came into that one after creaming a field of $5,000 claimers.  She also likes to be close and could even give it a try on the front end.  The distance may be a touch short for her.

5.       Shez So Special (Soto): Absolutely smoked Tabby two starts back while, you guessed it, running near the front end.  Like Step Sister, tried a group of $16,000 claimers and found them a little tough for her liking.  The drop back to $8,000 should fit her nicely.

6.       Springs Bling (Ortiz): A runaway winner last out of non-winners of 3 lifetime ($8,000), it’s going to be tougher for her to take an open group here however her last race Beyer is tops among this entire field.  She doesn’t usually get started too quickly, but won on the front end at 30-1 last out.  Seems like a pretty crowded engine room…

7.       Top Spot (Vargas): She hasn’t seen the top spot in a while, scoring at nearly 70-1 back in early February over $5,000 conditioned claimers.  She doesn’t seem to belong in here, but is cutting back in distance and her last attempts going this short were at much higher levels.  Very unlikely.
You’ll notice that Tabby has Dean Butler back on her again.  Dean has won on her before, albeit quite a while ago, and Luis Gonzales seemed to mesh with her very well last time out.  However Luis, along with most of the jocks, moved on to his next location and the jockey colony is thin.  I hope that Dean and Tabs are able to put their differences behind them!  Seriously, though, Dean knows how to handle a horse and I’d rather have a quality rider on her that knows her, rather than throwing someone fresh on her for the sake of having someone different.

As you’ve read above, there seems to be an abundance of speed in the race.  Tabs rated really nicely last out and made a strong move out of the turn to catch the leaders and run on.  If she can rate again she could have a real chance should the speed tire.  My fear is that this race isn’t quite long enough for her and her rally may fall short against more traditional sprinters like Shez So Special who could have enough to hold on despite challenges on the front end.
We’ll know tomorrow about the exact same time that I’ll be speaking at a New Owner Seminar at Canterbury Park!  I hope that there is a TV tuned in nearby…

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