Following respective wins in the Inaugural S. and Sandpiper S., Cattin and Strategic Bird are the top draws in the $125,000 Pasco S. and $125,000 Gasparilla S. at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday.
Both races will be contested at seven furlongs.
The Pasco and Gasparilla are the second of four Tampa dirt stakes for foals of 2019. After a pair of sprints, three-year-olds will stretch out to two turns for the Sam F. Davis (G3) and Suncoast S. on Feb. 12, and the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and Florida Oaks (G3) on March 12.
Pasco – Race 5 (2:14 p.m. ET)
Cattin rolled to a 2 1/2-length decision in the six-furlong Inaugural on Dec. 4, and he was flattered when runner-up Lightening Larry came back to win the Limehouse S. at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day. Trained by Ralph Nicks, the Florida-bred son of Neolithic owns superior Brisnet Speed ratings over his six Pasco rivals, registering 95 and 94 figures in his last two starts, and Sammy Camacho will retain the mount.
Cyberviking, a convincing winner over Florida-bred allowance opponents in his last start at Gulfstream, will bring a two-race win streak to his stakes debut. Jorge Delgado conditions the son of The Big Beast, and Chantal Sutherland will be back aboard.
Provacateur will step up to stakes company for Todd Pletcher following a 4 1/2-length romp over maiden special weight foes at Tampa on Dec. 23. A $600,000 son of Into Mischief, the bay colt will be ridden by Antonio Gallardo.
Last-out maiden winners Markhamian and Morgan Point are also entered.
Gasparilla – Race 6 (2:50 p.m. ET)
A wire-to-wire winner of the six-furlong Sandpiper on Dec. 4, Strategic Bird will put her 2-for-2 record on the line against seven fillies in the Gasparilla.
Mark Casse trains the Florida-bred daughter of Noble Bird, a $40,000 purchasse at the OBS Summer two-year-old sale, and Strategic Bird rolled to a 12-length decision when making her career debut at Gulfstream on Nov. 13. She earned a 100 Brisnet Speed rating when capturing the Sandpiper, and Gallardo will be back up.
Devine Charger, a neck runner-up in the Sandpiper, must be respected. Two starts back, she finished a half-length second in a Churchill Downs allowance to Girl With a Dream, who came back to easily capture the Letellier Memorial as an odds-on favorite, and Devine Charger has shown improved speed in her last two starts for Blair Jordan. Jesus Castanon will ride.
Outfoxed, who has crushed Florida-bred stakes foes in her last two outings, rates as a contender for Bill Mott. A Florida-bred daughter of Valiant Minister, the dark bay filly broke her maiden by 13 1/2 lengths over restricted stakes opponents when making her second start in the seven-furlong Susan’s Girl division of the Florida Sire stakes series at Gulfstream in August. Unraced since a 9 1/4-length romp in the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl division of the Florida Sire stakes series in late September, Outfoxed will cut back to a one-turn distance with Camacho.
Platinum Gem, who exits a pair of open-length wins over maiden and entry-level allowance competition at Tampa, will make her first stakes appearance for Maria Bowersock. Pablo Morales rides the speedy gray daughter of Frosted.