June 19, 2024

Third stakes try might be the charm for Dream Maker in Tampa Bay Derby

Dream Maker takes his maiden debut under jockey Julien Leparoux at Churchill Downs on June 7, 2018 (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

He didn’t fare well in a pair of stakes attempts last fall, but the highly-regarded Dream Maker will test the black-type waters again Saturday while hoping to enter the Kentucky Derby (G1) picture in the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) over 1 1/16 miles.

As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Tampa Bay Derby offers qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers, with the winner virtually assured a position in the Derby starting field.

A three-length debut winner at Churchill Downs last June, Dream Maker was a green fifth in the Hopeful (G1) and then endured a troubled trip when 12th of 13 when favored in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1). The Tapit colt was on his best game in his season debut last month, beating allowance foes at Fair Grounds by more than eight lengths.

A wire-to-wire scorer of the Sam F. Davis (G3) last month, Well Defined will look to make it two in a row over this track and trip. The multiple stakes winner won by 2 3/4 lengths for trainer Kathleen O’Connell when adding blinkers.

Debuting around two turns for the first time is Win Win Win, who’s won three of four outings including the $75,000 Pasco over seven furlongs at Tampa on January 19. Also stretching out is stakes winner Zenden, most recently second in the Swale (G3) at Gulfstream.

Outshine makes his stakes debut for Todd Pletcher after winning two of his first three starts, most recently a seven-furlong Gulfstream allowance in his season opener. Bill Mott gives Aqueduct graduate and Juddmonte homebred Tacitus a chance against tougher stock with the son of Tapit adding Lasix in his first start since November. Exiting fourth- and fifth-place tries in the Withers (G3) are Sir Winston and Admire, while The Right Path could improve second out after finishing third to Outshine in his sophomore bow.

In other stakes action, Grade 3 winners Elsa and Concrete Rose join Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) third Stellar Agent and eight others in the $200,000 Florida Oaks (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Multiple graded stakes winner Hawksmoor makes her career finale in the $225,000 Hillsborough (G2), a nine-furlong grass test for fillies and mares. The opposition includes multiple Grade 3 winner Rymska and Flower Bowl (G1) runner-up Onthemoonagain.

Flameaway, the 2018 Sam F. Davis winner and Tampa Bay Derby runner-up faces five in the $100,000 Challenger at 1 1/16 miles, while 11 three-year-olds will line up in the $75,000 Columbia at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.