The biggest race of every season at Tampa Bay Downs is the Tampa Bay Derby. The race is an important stop for the three-year-olds as they look to build momentum ahead of the start of the Triple Crown series.
It is a Grade 2 race, which is run on the dirt over 1 1/16 miles, which boasts a purse of $400,000. Helium won the race for trainer Mark Casse in 2021, but how has he, as well as the other runners fared since their day out at Tampa Bay Downs?
Helium was somewhat of a shock winner of the Tampa Bay Derby in 2021. He managed to outlast the competition at Tampa Bay Downs to claim first, which was a third victory on the bounce at the time. However, very few held him in high regard ahead of the Triple Crown.
Helium lined up in the Kentucky Derby with a point to prove, and despite a strong effort, he could only finish in eighth. His form has recovered slightly since then, but he is still yet to record another win. The three-year-old finished third in the G3 Matt Winn, before finishing in the same position in the War Chant on the turf at Churchill Downs.
Victoria Oliver trained Hidden Stash finished the Tampa Bay Derby in second behind Helium. He went into the race after finishing third in the G3 Sam F. Davis, but had recorded a pair of victories at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, respectively.
Following his run at Tampa, he travelled back to Keeneland to compete in the G2 Blue Grass Stakes, where he finished fourth. Hidden Stash then went on to finish 14th in the Kentucky Derby on his most recent start.
Saffie Joseph trains Moonlite Strike, who stayed on well to finish the Tampa Bay Derby in third. The three-year-old travelled to Tampa Bay Downs after having won two from four starts. However, he was beaten on his final start before the Tampa Bay Derby, as he was well beaten in the Smarty Jones.
Since the run at Tampa, he has finished sixth in the G3 Jeff Ruby Stakes and third in the Carry Back. However, he has tasted victory since his run in Tampa, as he was a decent winner of the Roar at Gulfstream Park over six and a half furlongs in May.
There are few better trainers than Todd Pletcher when it comes to getting the best out of his horses. Unbridled Honor was believed to be among the leading contenders in the Tampa Bay Derby, but could only finish fourth.
Wins had been hard to come by before his run at Tampa, as he had won just once in three starts. His form since the Tampa Bay Derby has been fair progressive. He finished second behind King Fury in the G3 Lexington, before staying on to claim sixth in the G1 Preakness Stakes back in May.
King Of Dreams
Another horse that has found wins hard to come by throughout his career is King Of Dreams. This three-year-old trained by Juan Carlos Avila picked up his first win of his career before lining up at Tampa Bay at Gulfstream Park in a maiden. That victory remains the only win that the three-year-old has achieved in six starts to date.
After finishing fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby, he finished sixth in the Cutler Bay at Gulfstream Park. He has lined up on two further occasions at Gulfstream, as he finished second in the English Channel, and fifth in the Not Surprising Stakes.