Tampa Bay Downs Runners Step Up Derby Preparations
Saturday, April 17, 2021
    OLDSMAR - Four Kentucky Derby candidates who competed at Tampa Bay Downs this season worked  over the last few days in the Bluegrass State as their trainers stepped up preparations for the May 1 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

    Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium, who has not raced since his March 6 victory here, breezed 5 furlongs from the gate at Churchill Downs on Friday in 1:01 4/5 under Julien Leparoux. The unbeaten (3-for-3) colt had breezed 5 furlongs in 59 1/5 seconds last Saturday over the Churchill Downs surface.

    Owned by D. J. Stable and trained by Mark Casse, Helium will be ridden in the 147th edition of the mile-and-a-quarter classic by Leparoux, who replaces Jose Ferrer, his jockey in the Tampa Bay Derby.

    Hidden Stash, who was second here to Helium and third in the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 6, breezed 4 furlongs Wednesday at Keeneland in 47 4/5. Trainer Vicki Oliver is expected to van him to Churchill Downs on April 27. Although he is currently 23rd in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points standings (the field is limited to 20 starters), three horses ahead of him have been withdrawn, making him eligible. Rafael Bejarano is the jockey.

    Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby winner Known Agenda, who finished fifth in the Sam F. Davis in his lone Tampa Bay Downs start, breezed 5 furlongs on Friday at Churchill Downs in 1:00 2/5. The Todd Pletcher-trainee, who has improved dramatically since the addition of blinkers, has the services of Irad Ortiz Jr.

    Florida-bred colt Soup and Sandwich, the runner-up in the Florida Derby, went out this morning at Churchill Downs, breezing 5 furlongs in 59 4/5. He galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:12 2/5 and completed 7 furlongs in 1:25 1/5.

    Soup and Sandwich broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 24 in a mile-and-40-yard allowance/optional claiming event. Tyler Gaffalione will ride for Casse and breeder-owner Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation.

    Essential Quality, the 2020 2-Year-Old Eclipse Award winner who is a perfect 5-for-5, worked 5 furlongs this morning in 59 3/5 under jockey Luis Saez. Almost certain to be the race’s betting favorite, he is owned by his breeder, Godolphin, and trained by Brad Cox.

    Tickets still are available for the May 1 Tampa Bay Downs card featuring the simulcast of the 147th Kentucky Derby. Tampa Bay Downs plans to celebrate the occasion with a 12-race program leading to the race. Attendance will be limited, and anyone wishing to attend must purchase tickets in advance, either online or at the Customer Service window on the first floor of the Grandstand.

    Advance wagering on the Derby will be available on Friday, April 30 for those unable to secure a ticket for May 1. The April 30 Churchill Downs card includes the running of the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

A front-row box for six people in the Grandstand on Derby Day is $350, with other boxes available for $250. General-admission tickets are $10 each, with seating on a first-come, first-serve basis. The gates will open at 10 a.m. and there will be a noon post time (the races at Churchill will start earlier).

Kentucky Derby Picnic Area tables have sold out. Individual Picnic Area tickets, which are $10, are still available. All online purchases include a service fee.

Mint juleps will be sold in official Kentucky Derby souvenir glasses. For details, visit www.tampabaydowns.com on the Internet or call (813) 855-4401
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