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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Ocean Knight to Tampa Bay Derby After All

3/3/2015

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Tuesday that Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Ocean Knight will start in the Tampa Bay Derby after all.

According to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, the decision was made by Stonestreet Stables LLC owner Barbara Banke. Ocean Knight will now face Carpe Diem, owned by Stonestreet Stables in partnership with WinStar Farm LLC, and trained by Todd Pletcher.

Earlier indications were that Ocean Knight would compete in Saturday’s Gotham Stakes, but Banke and her team decided to run him back at Tampa after he won the Sam F. Davis in only his second start after shipping in and breaking from post 11 en route to a wide trip.

“Barbara Banke and her team decided coming back to Tampa Bay Downs was the right thing to do, and I’m happy with the decision,” said McLaughlin. “It’s a kind racetrack, the weather is supposed to be beautiful the next five days and he came out of the (Davis) real well, so we feel like going back to Tampa is a win-win for everybody.”

Ocean Knight will be shipped in from Palm Meadows in Boyton Beach the morning of the race.

Ocean Knight has breezed three times since the Davis.

“He is training beautifully, and the nice thing is we don’t have to change his schedule,” McLaughlin said. “We just have to cancel his plane trip and put him on the van. We would have been happy to go to New York, too, but he has already shown he likes the track at Tampa. We are expecting the Tampa Bay Derby to be tougher, but we are up for the challenge. We have a lot of respect for Todd and Carpe Diem and if he beats us, he beats us, but we think we’re going there with a great chance.”

Kentucky Derby points of 50, 20, 10 and 5 are available for the top four finishers. Ocean Knight has no Derby points -- none are awarded out of the Sam F. Davis.

Originally, the Stonestreet Stables team was concerned pitting Ocean Knight against Carpe Diem might hinder one of the two from acquiring enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. However, Carpe Diem already stands eighth on the list with 14 points based on running second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and a victory in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity.

McLaughlin said if Ocean Knight performs as well as his connections hope Saturday, he will get an opportunity for more points in a final Kentucky Derby prep on April 4.

“We spoke about that, and both horses will run back in a 100-point race in four weeks," McLaughlin said.He mentioned the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct or the Blue Grass as possibilities. Both are four weeks prior to the first Saturday in May.

“We don’t want to go to Kentucky just to run in the Derby; we want to have a chance to win. So with the timing of the Wood Memorial and the Blue Grass, the Stonestreet Stables people don’t think it is that big a deal if they finish first and second Saturday, or first and third or first and fourth.”

Other likely Tampa Bay Derby starters include the second, third and fourth-place finishers in the Sam F. Davis Stakes -- Divining Rod, My Johnny Be Good and Ami’s Flatter -- along with Toasting Master; Danzig Moon; and Great Stuff. Another possible starter is Souper Colossal, who has three stakes victories.


By Dick Downey with content from Tampa Bay Downs release
@DowneyProfile

 

 

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