Tampa Bay Derby Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds 2022

Tampa Bay Derby Odds and Post Position

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
S Camacho M Maker
D Centeno V Oliver
J Alvarado W Mott
I Ortiz Jr B Lynch
J Talamo D Romans
A Gallardo M Casse
L Saez M Williams
J Castellano T Pletcher
M Franco E Barker
10 BELGRADE 12/1
H R Diaz Jr H G Motion
J Ortiz C Brown
12 SPIN WHEEL 30/1
J Castanon G R Arnold II

Tampa Bay Derby Picks, Best Bets

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Classic Causeway (9/5).

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$5 Exacta Box – Classic Causeway, Giant Game and Major General = $30

$5 Exacta part wheel – Classic Causeway over Giant Game, Major General, Shipsational and Spin Wheel = $20

Tampa Bay Derby Predictions

A full field of twelve 3-year-olds, headed by the decisive winner of the local Sam F. Davis Stakes, Classic Causeway, will battle it out on the Kentucky Derby trail when they meet in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

A very impressive debut winner at Saratoga, Classic Causeway was bumped right up into graded stakes racing and has proven himself worthy of the confidence. A third-place effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity was followed up with a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in late November. The Brian Lynch-trained son of Giant’s Causeway earned his first stakes win in his sophomore debut, sprinting away from his opposition in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis by nearly four lengths.

Chief among his rivals in the $400,000 feature will be the Todd Pletcher-trained Major General. Also a debut winner last summer at Saratoga, the son of Constitution gamely won the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in his second career start despite a less than ideal trip. Away since that September score, he will be making his first start in six months in the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby.

Two others who merit respect on Saturday include the rallying runner-up of the Sam F. Davis, Shipsational, and the impressive debut winner from the barn of Chad Brown, Money Supply.

The signature race at Tampa Bay Downs, the Tampa Bay Derby will offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers.

Tampa Bay Derby Analysis

Classic Causeway

It’s not hard to imagine this son of Giant’s Causeway in the winner’s circle of the Kentucky Derby in a few months. First thing’s first though, and he will need to prove himself as the clear favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Super impressive in his career debut at Saratoga, I thought he drew tough post positions and tough fields in his first two stakes tries. Still, he ran big to finish third and then second in two strong graded stakes in Kentucky.

Living up to his promise, his seasonal debut in the Sam F. Davis was impressive. Pressed through solid fractions, he looked in complete control as he left the field behind at the head of the Tampa Bay Downs stretch.

With controlling speed and Irad Ortiz, Jr again in the irons, he should be very tough to beat once again. He is the top pick.

Major General

Despite winning each of his two career starts by only a neck, this Constitution colt has still impressed. His debut win at Saratoga was nice, after being pressured the whole way through testing fractions.

Then he came back in a graded stakes race at Churchill Downs, had a rough time heading into the first turn, and was pressured the entire stretch.

Still he gutted out another win, stamping himself as a very nice juvenile.

Working well for his seasonal debut, they found a tough spot for his first start in six months, but his trainer Todd Pletcher is one of the best off the layoff. He looks like a real threat to the top pick.


A two-time stakes winner against New York-breds, this son of Midshipman proved himself over the oval when he rallied nicely to be clearly second best behind Classic Causeway in the Sam F. Davis.

He’s now run well on fast tracks, off tracks, when sprinting and while going two-turns. We know he likes the trip, the track, and can compete with graded stakes horses.

I don’t see much reason why he should flip the tables this time around on the favorite, but the Edward Barker-trained runner is a consistent runner who once again should not be left off your tickets.

Money Supply

This son of Practical Joke looked like a very good thing as he came from well back to zoom by the field in his debut.

The occasion was a 6 furong maiden race at Tampa Bay Downs just four weeks ago, and now he is moving way up into the track’s most important race.

Trained by one of the best in Chad Brown, there is good reason to believe that he is a graded stakes winner in the making. Still, this seems like a lot to ask, especially coming from the 11-post in a 12-horse field. He could be any kind, but given that he will get bet in here, I am not quite ready to back him in a race like the Tampa Bay Derby.


Trained by Hall of Fame nominee Graham Motion, this son of Hard Spun will be tested for class in the Tampa Bay Derby.

A winner of his first two races, he has yet to try stakes company, nor has he been beyond 7 furlongs.

Like the horse just above him, it seems to be a lot to ask, taking on this deep field. Bet heavily in both of his two outings, one at Fair Grounds and one at Tampa Bay Downs, he is clearly a horse that is well-liked, but I don’t know if I see enough to support him from an outside post against more seasoned opposition.

Giant Game

A solid third in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in only his third career start, this Dale Romans-trainee looked like a horse with a real future heading into his sophomore season. That’s why his eighth-place finish in the Holy Bull was so disappointing.

Too bad to believe, there may have been a very good reason. Reported to be traveling very well when in position on the far turn, he apparently flipped his palate during the race and began to struggle to get enough air.

The issue caused him to fade badly with good reason. I still believe he is a colt of serious potential and with the issue corrected, I think he may be able to run a big race this time around. He is my top longshot.

Happy Boy Rocket

Certainly one to consider, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has this son of Runhappy making the step up from maiden company to graded stakes racing on Saturday.

After a non-threatening third while sprinting in his debut late last year, he stretched out nicely to score in a 1 1/16-mile race six weeks ago.

Both starts came at Gulfstream Park, and the improvement in the second start gave his connections enough confidence to try this. He could well be a horse to watch in the future, but I think this race probably has come up a little too tough considering his lack of experience.

Strike Hard

This son of Flashback has run against a number of good horses in his career, such as Classic Causeway, White Abarrio, Simplification and Major General, but has yet to pose a major threat to any of them. Fourth in the Sam F.

Davis after being a little too far back early, and a nice allowance winner at Gulfstream Park three starts back, he deserves some respect, but until he runs a really good race against this class of horse, I am going to look elsewhere.

Golden Glider

This son of Ghostzapper saw his unbeaten record come to an end last time when he ran evenly to finish 5th in the Sam F. Davis.

Beaten more than seven lengths by Classic Causeway, I am finding it hard to come up with a good reason why he might turn the tables.

Perhaps the experience will do the Mark Casse-trained runner some good, but I like too many others here to give him strong consideration.


Drawn to the rail, this colt will have his work cut out for him on Saturday. In three career races, his lone win came on a synthetic surface at Turfway Park. Having said that, his two tries on dirt were both respectable, finishing second in a Churchill Downs maiden race, and coming in fourth last time in the Grade 3 Withers.

Without a lot of speed, though, he will need some racing luck to work out a good trip from the inside and with all the good horses that will be out in front of him, I do not see enough in his past performances to like his chances here.

Spin Wheel

Up in the final jump to break his maiden in his third try in the final start of his 2-year-old season, this son of Hard Spun made his seasonal debut against a tough field in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park. Wide early and then shifted to the inside, he never could make up serious ground and finished sixth.

He will need better on Saturday, but improvement is not out of the question. A strong early pace could set him up to rally into the exotics. He is a longshot worth taking a second look at.


Ignored at 27/1 last time in the Sam F. Davis, he figures to be much longer this time around after packing it up early and finishing last in a field of twelve.

He did win his two starts before that for trainer Vicki Oliver, but it came against cheaper. After running between horses behind a contested pace, I could see him running better on Saturday, but likely not nearly enough to seriously threaten for the win against this deep field.

How to watch the Tampa Bay Derby

Tampa Bay Derby Race Information
What Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2)
Location Tampa Bay Downs
Time Saturday, March 12 — 5:23 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $400,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

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