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Tampa Bay Derby Odds & Preview: Is Classic Causeway Among the Kentucky Derby Favorites?

Dave F.

by Dave F. in Horse Racing

Mar 11, 2022 · 9:00 AM PST

Todd Pletcher
FILE - In this April 29, 2015, file photo, trainer Todd Pletcher watches horses on the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher and 13-time champion steeplechase trainer Jack Fisher have been elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame. The class of 2021 announced Wednesday, May 5, 2021, will be enshrined Aug. 6 in Saratoga Springs, New York, along with the 2020 inductees . (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
  • Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby is this weekend’s lone Kentucky Derby points qualifying race
  • If Classic Causeway backs up an ultra impressive win last month, he’ll become a Run for the Roses favorite
  • What are the best betting options on a potentially blustery day in Florida?

If you think favorite Classic Causeway is going to win Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby, and he is a serious Kentucky Derby contender, the time to act is now.

The Kentucky Derby odds on Classic Causeway are still attractive. Another impressive victory, and he’ll be a low-priced favorite.

Classic Causeway leads a full field of 12 in this weekend’s only Kentucky Derby qualifying points race. Rain is expected for the event in Florida, and there are several interesting betting options.

Let’s look at the entrants and consider our wagering options.

2022 Tampa Bay Derby Odds

Horse Odds
Classic Causeway +200
Money Supply +500
Major General +600
Shipsational +600
Happy Boy Rocket +1200
Giant Game +1200
Belgrade +1200
Golden Glider +1600
Strike Hard +1600
Grantham +2000
Trademark +3300
Spin Wheel +3300

Odds as of March 10

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The Tampa Bay Derby will be run at a mile-and-a-sixteenth. The purse is $400,000. Street Sense is the only horse to use the Tampa Bay Derby as a launching pad to win the Run for the Roses. Rain and temperatures in the high 70s are forecast. Post time is scheduled for 5:23 pm EST. Fox Sports 2 has television coverage.

A large field makes understanding horse racing bet types important. If you can narrow down the field, how might you take advantage of some exotic plays?

Classic Causeway Has Done Little Wrong

In four career races, Classic Causeway has two wins, a second, and a third place finish. He finished behind Smile Happy in November’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, which has proven to be the most important two year old Derby prep in this cycle. Call Me Midnight, White Abarrio, and the top two finishers have returned to win meaningful races. Classic Causeway rolled last time out in the Sam F. Davis Stakes.

This will be the fourth straight race that Classic Causeway is the favorite, and he has won just one of them. While he makes a ton of sense, he is beatable, and the odds on several other contenders are attractive.

Three Serious Challengers Plus a Longshot Offer Very Different Resumes

Chad Brown is one of the top trainers in the sport. Usually, you ease a horse into big races by slowly but steadily increasing their challenge, both in distance and quality of competition. Not so much with Brown’s Money Supply, who has run only once.

It is unclear how good the maidens Money Supply beat are, and while he ran very fast, now he goes from a sprint race to a route and tries high level more battle tested horses. Obviously, the connections think the $400,000 son of Practical Joke is a good one.

Todd Pletcher’s Major General has done nothing wrong. He won his debut in August at Saratoga, and followed it up with a stakes victory at Churchill Downs in September.

He won his first race wire-to-wire, and came from behind last time out. The $420,000 son of Constitution makes plenty of sense.

Shipsational is a New York bred who had not run against horses from outside the Empire State before finishing second behind Classic Causeway in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. He is the only three time winner in the field.

As for a price, Belgrade does not have the breeding oomph that some of his rivals possess, but he is two-for-two and conditioned by the always-to-be-respected Graham Motion.

Belgrade destroyed maiden rivals at Fair Grounds in December, and confidently passed horses in the lane at Tampa Bay Downs last month despite getting out of the gate poorly. He certainly has passed the eye test.

Tampa Bay Derby Best Bet

Classic Causeway is probably the most likely winner, but others offer significant value. The upside to Money Supply is clearly huge, but he is being asked to do a lot going from a maiden race to a 50 point Derby prep. Meanwhile, Pletcher knows exactly what he is doing this time of year, and expecting Major General to make a jump after a strong brief two year old campaign is reasonable. A jump makes him very reasonable at a nice number.

Pick: Major General (+600)

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