The TAM Derby (Grade 2) (KYD) $400.000 Purse
TAM- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
March 10, 2018
The biggest race of the meet at TAM takes place this Saturday 14th running of the TAM Derby. It is a race that always brings a top crowd to the gate, as 50 points are there for the taking for the winner. Add in a nice purse, and of course, warm Florida weather, and there is plenty of motivation to come here with a KYD hopeful. However winning the TAM Derby has not led to success in the KYD, and in fact it has been quite dismal, as four separate winners of this race ended up being the 19th place finisher in the KYD. Several other double digit finishes were found, and the best KYD performance by a TAM Derby winner was in 2006 when a horse named Driving On won the TAM Derby, then finished 8th in the KYD. Yes, that’s the best result! Got to give a shout to the trainer on that one, Beav Racing, a well known member of our community several years ago. May have been my first opportunity to give the Beav a shout out! More recently, a trainer who’s got plenty of press time in the SRF, Mb Stables, has been successful in this race, with two wins in the last three runnings. The gate is full, so let’s take a run through the field!
#1- Charleys Agent (Mb Stables, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Comes off a second place finish in the Grade 3 Withers to his stablemate, Dream Controlled, who is also running this weekend up in the Gotham. That said, it was a “three lengths out” second place finish, so it may be a line that reads better then the performance actually was. After purchasing this one in private sales for $100.000, Charleys Agent has a pair of second place finishes, and is likely the best of the three entries the trainer has in the race, but you never know how it may play out. Starting on the rail is always a good thing.
#2- Siberian Prince (Sir Daniel Martin, ridden by D E Centeno)- The race features a BC Champion, as Siberian Prince was victorious in the BC Juvenile Turf in early November. That makes him the highest earner in the field, but his turf career is on hold to chase the KYD, and so far that really has not gone all that well with a pair of finishes well off the board, most recently the Grade 2 Risen Star. While the trainer hopes for a rebound here, if he doesn’t, you wonder if its best to call off the prep race trail, and head back to the grass.
#3- Local Hero (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by F Geroux)- After breaking his maiden in his fourth start, Local Hero followed it up with an optional claiming win, and that got the trainer thinking bigger. He would find his way to the Withers last month, but would not be a factor in that Grade 3. In that race, he was about a length and a half behind Charleys Agent, but seemed to lack closing kick. Maybe that race will help, and perhaps a tactical adjustment is in store for him in this race.
#4- One For Charlie (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by E Maldonado)- In the middle of December, One For Charlie transitioned from turf to dirt, and picked up a check in the $400.000 RP Springboard Mile, as he ran fourth. This was a promising result that he did not follow up well, despite the better finishing position as the $100.000 Allison Derby probably should have been his. Instead, he saw a lower SRF. It’s been about six weeks now since that race, and hopefully he is ready to take that step forward now.
#5- Living Healthy (First Class Stable, ridden by J S Rocco Jr)- The trainer will be happy to have Rocco Jr back in the saddle of Living Healthy, since he rode him to victory in the Grade 2 KY Jockey Club, which is his signature victory to this point. He comes off a fourth place run in the Grade 2 Davis Stakes, which was a strong field, and one of those races were it was a length between about second and tenth, or something to that affect. Just a little more luck, and the race could have been his. In that close photo also was Lane Frost, the winner of the Fountain Of Youth last week. Makes Living Healthy’s run even better.
#6- Theory (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by G Boulanger)- This Niagra colt had a strong two year old campaign, with three wins in his first four races. Those were all sprints, and after that stretch, Theory has not been able to duplicate that success with three out of the money finishes. The most concerning race is that after a disappointing finish in the DED Jackpot, which can be forgiven, he was dropped to an optional claimer last month and still did not pick up a check. It’s hard to look past that one.
#7- What Have You Done (Mb Stables, ridden by T Gaffalione)- This one has been on the KYD trail since the summer of last year , and picked up a nice looking come from behind win in the Iroquois last September. After finishing fourth in the BC Juvenile, expectations were high and he turned it in to a strong second place run at the Jerome. One thing to also note about this horse is that he works exceptionally well, so there is plenty of talent here, but we’re at the point where we also have to ask if he one of Mb’s best three for the Derby, so not only does he have to prove himself in this field and get points, he needs to prove himself over stablemates.
#8- Stormin Cobra (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Last month, Stormin Cobra went to the Grade 3 Davis Stakes and picked up a very narrow victory over Lane Frost. As we mentioned earlier, Lane Frost went on to win the Fountain Of Youth last week, so that even further validates Stormin Cobra as a contender. Since being acquired by the trainer for just $80.000 in private sales, Stormin Cobra has shown that he only needed to go longer ot start having more success. He seems to be the favorite in this field as well, as long as he continues his momentum for Mo Mentum.
#9- Regret Nothing (Estero Farms, ridden by R Chirinos)- His career got off to a quick start, and seemed to be at its best when he was on the turf. He’d win the Grade 3 Borbon, which is always a very tough race on the trail for the BC Juvenile Turf. Once in the BC, he finished well behind Siberian Prince that day, but still followed him off the grass to the Remsen a month later. All that Regret Nothing has to show recently is a pair of sevens in the past performances. Maybe the luck changes here, and while there may be no regrets, maybe there’s a return to the grass if things do not go well.
#10- Silver Panther (Axeman, ridden by A J Juarez Jr)- Took a little while to break his maiden, which was mainly sprinting against ON-breds. In his sixth race, he finally achieved that task, and was moved up to the Grade 2 Swale Stakes off the win. He showed that he was fine running a little longer, and that should be promising for him to get this distance as well. I am not worried about that, but do think he might be a little overmatched here. Still, he has earned the test and can prove me wrong.
#11- Tsali- Scratched
#12- Pure Gifts (Mb Stables, ridden by J Bravo)- Has the look of one of those dangerous entries from the trainer that does not seem like he has as good of a resume as his stablemates, but then surprises you on race day. The work times are good, but he has not taken on the strongest fields quite yet. His most recent effort saw him run second to stablemate Pass Me By in a small and perhaps uninspiring field at the $100.000 Winkfield last month. Even if he can overcome that, he then must deal with this post.
#13- Audioslave (Alydar Stables, ridden by J J Hernandez)- Thanks to the scratch of Tsali, Audioslave is happy to draw into the field, but it comes with the bittersweet fact of needing to start from the outermost gate. That’s a bit of a shame because I do think this is a horse on very good form right now, as evidenced by his run in the Grade 2 Davis Stakes. Ignore the finishing position, that was race with a wall of horses together that could have gone many different ways. I’d like him more with a better starting position.