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Tampa Bay Downs- Pasco & Gasparilla

Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay

Cool CowboyThe $100,000 Pasco Stakes is the 3rd race on the card Saturday for Tampa Bay Downs and will host a field of 8 Florida bred three year olds battling it out over 7 furlongs. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Cool Cowboy. Cool Cowboy is coming out of a 3 ½ length victory in the Inaugural at Tampa Bay back in early December and looks strong for this event. He is rivaled on the ML by Giancarlo at 3 to 1. Giancarlo won his last race at Calder in a straight maiden 29k by 6 ½ lengths. Both colts look like strong candidates for the early lead, but will have competition from several other entries here as well.  With so many of the entries here struggling to grab that early lead, we really need a stalker or late runner for value. For value, I like Mighty Brown at 4 to 1 on the morning line. He has the speed to contend with Cool Cowboy and Giancarlo, but he is also capable of stalking the pace, much like he did when he ran 2nd in the Sunday Silence at Louisiana Downs back in September.  Granted that was a turf race, but the principle would be the same here. Stick around in the 4th or 5th slot, slowly gain ground through the turn, and then make that last burst for the lead nearing the finish. I believe he is capable of pulling that off here and should be the real threat in the Pasco. The other possible value play would be Harry’s Holiday at 5 to 1 on the morning line. His speed figures have gradually improved in every race he’s been in so far, so I look for that pattern to continue here. He has the potential of stalking for the win and could be another threat to the two favorites.

Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay DownsThe $100,000 Gasparilla Stakes is the 9th race on Saturday’s card at Tampa Bay Downs and will feature a field of 10 three year old fillies traveling 7 furlongs. The 3 to 1 morning line favorite is Enquete. Enquete recently ran 2nd in the Sandpiper at Tampa Bay, missing the win by ½ a length. While she is showing some nice speed figures for her level of experience, she doesn’t really stand out to me. As a matter of fact, the winner of the Sandpiper was My Sweet Dove, who is 6 to 1 on the morning line here. Honestly, I’m scratching my head on that one. The only thing I can figure is that being trained by Todd Pletcher must give Enquete the advantage, at least on the morning line odds. If the public feels the same way, I might seriously consider My Sweet Dove for my back-up value/longshot play. Personally, I believe the top value play here is Fast Betty Blue, though. She won her maiden race at Indiana Downs by 6 ¾ lengths in a straight maiden 35k. She followed that up with a very impressive second place finish at Churchill Downs in November. That race was at 6 ½ furlongs. She ran a close 2nd through the first two calls, slipped to third in the stretch and rallied to 2nd by the finish, missing the victory by a length. That shows some true heart in my opinion, and I believe she will upset this field Saturday. That race earned her a speed figure that topples the rest of this field and she should show us something in the Gasparilla. Good luck everybody!

 

 

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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