The Tampa Bay Derby (G2) is a $400,000 race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with 50 points going to the winner. The race began in 1981 but did not rise to prominence until 2007 when Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) champion Street Sense won and went on to take the Kentucky Derby. It has since produced several nice three-year-old stars, with 2020 Tampa Bay Derby winner King Guillermo the first Kentucky Derby contender to make it to Churchill Downs for the big race. Read on to find out more about Tampa Bay Derby odds, contenders, and history.
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Tampa Bay Derby Payouts
The Tampa Bay Derby is a race that often gives very high payouts to its bettors. The winning payout for a $2 ticket has been $30 or more four times since 2007, and has been over $89 twice! King Guillermo is the highest-priced winner in history at $100.40 just this year.
There have also been only three winning favorites in the Tampa Bay Derby since 2007. Verrazano, who was favored in 2013 when he won, went on to be a good sire; his Vanzzy won the 2020 Jersey Derby.
- 2020: King Guillermo – $100.40
- 2019: Tacitus – $19.80
- 2018: Quip – $40.20
- 2017: Tapwrit – $4.20 (Favored)
- 2016: Destin – $9.20
- 2015: Carpe Diem – $4.00 (Favored)
- 2014: Ring Weekend – $30.00
- 2013: Verrazano – $2.80 (Favored)
- 2012: Prospective – $8.20
- 2011: Watch Me Go – $89.40
- 2010: Odysseus – $6.00
- 2009: Musket Man – $13.80
- 2008: Big Truck – $16.40
- 2007: Street Sense – $4.40
- Tampa Bay Derby and the Kentucky Derby
Just one horse has won the Tampa Bay Derby and gone on to win the Kentucky Derby as well. That was Street Sense, victorious in 2007 by a nose after a thrilling stretch duel with Grade 1 winner Any Given Saturday. Despite winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Street Sense was not favored over Any Given Saturday, who was coming off a local win in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, the prep for the Tampa Bay Derby.
Although third in the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby, Super Saver went on to win the Kentucky Derby. He became the second horse to exit the Florida race and win in Kentucky. He was trained by Todd Pletcher.
Tapwrit, also trained by horse racing star trainer Pletcher, won the 2017 Tampa Bay Derby and ultimately won the Belmont Stakes (G1). Pletcher’s Vino Rosso didn’t win in 2018, but went on to win the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park. The Pletcher-trained Destin won in 2016 and finished second in the Belmont Stakes (G1) later that spring.
Tampa Bay Derby Tips
Trainer Todd Pletcher loves using the Tampa Bay Derby as a Kentucky Derby stepping stone. He has a record 5 wins since 2004, including four wins in the last seven years.
The race has been won by a whos-who of top trainers on the East Coast. Graham Motion, Mark Casse, Barclay Tagg, Carl Nafzger, and Tom Albertrani have all won it. Perhaps the most royally-bred winner in Tampa Bay Derby’s history was Tacitus in 2019. The son of Tapit and the Grade 1 winning, dual millionaire mare Close Hatches was trained by Bill Mott. He went on to be third in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Belmont and Travers Stakes, and finally won again in the 2020 Suburban Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. He holds the Tampa Bay Derby speed record of 1:41.90.
Tampa Bay Derby History
The Tampa Bay Derby, which is run over 1 1/16 miles, did not receive Grade 3 status until 1984, then was upgraded to Grade 2 in 2011. In the interim, the race was downgraded to a listed event before horses like Street Sense brought it to prominence. The race is run at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Florida, which has been open since 1926.
The Tampa Bay Derby was a Grade 3 race before it was downgraded, and had to earn back its Grade 3 status in 2011. That was when horses like Street Sense and Super Saver made the race famous. With its purse and placement on the calendar, the Tampa Bay Derby is now considered a premier Kentucky Derby prep race.
Betting at Tampa Bay Downs
Tampa Bay Downs offers the best betting options for handicappers. The track offers win, place, and show wagering, as well as exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 5 betting. The track’s takeout rate is some of the lowest in North America. There is a new Ultimate Pick 6 wager with a minimum wager of 20 cents. The track has an average field size of 8 horses per race and offers plenty of turf racing which most bettors enjoy.
Tampa Bay Derby Field and Odds
The 2021 Tampa Bay Derby will be run in early March at Tampa Bay Downs. Entries will be taken March 3, 2021, if the race is slated for March 6. The Tampa Bay Derby field and the Tampa Bay Derby odds will be released then. The undercard at Tampa Bay Downs also includes the $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes (G2), the $200,000 Florida Oaks (G3) on the grass for three-year-old fillies, and the $100,000 Challenger Stakes (G3). The Suncoast Stakes in February is Tampa Bay Downs’s prep for the Kentucky Oaks.