Tuesday, February 23, 2021
OLDSMAR - Breeders’ Cup winner Fire At Will, Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Candy Man Rocket and highly-regarded Greatest Honour are among a stellar collection of 43 3-year-old colts and geldings nominated for the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 6 at Tampa Bay Downs.
The 41st running of the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is the centerpiece of an outstanding Festival Day 41 card offering $1 million in stakes purse money, with four graded stakes and one listed stakes on tap.
Run at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth, the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, with the first four finishers earning 50, 20, 10 and 5 points toward qualifying for the May 1 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.
The Tampa Bay Derby has produced two Kentucky Derby winners: 2007 winner Street Sense and 2010 third-place finisher Super Saver.
Fire at Will, owned by Three Diamonds Farm and trained by Michael Maker, hasn’t raced since his victory on Nov. 6 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland. He is ranked among the top 2021 Triple Crown candidates, along with Essential Quality, Life Is Good and Greatest Honour.
Candy Man Rocket vaulted up the contender list with his impressive victory in the Sam F. Davis on Geb. 6. He is owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and trained by Bill Mott, who has won the Tampa Bay Derby twice. Mott has also nominated breeder-owner Michael Shanley’s colt Nova Rags, who won the Pasco Stakes on Jan. 16 before finishing second to Candy Man Rocket in the Sam F. Davis.
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Greatest Honour, who is trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey III, received excellent reviews for his dominant victory on Jan. 30 in the Gr. III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream. The colt is owned by Courtlandt Farms.
Among other Tampa Bay Derby nominations of note are trainer Doug O’Neill’s Hot Rod Charlie, second in November in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; trainer Victoria Oliver’s Hidden Stash, third in the Sam F. Davis; Gr. II winner Brooklyn Strong, a gelding trained by Daniel Velazquez; multiple graded stakes-placed Proxy, trained by Michael Stidham; and trainer Mark Casse’s colt Gretzky the Great, who won the Gr. I Summer Stakes in September at Woodbine.