Here are handicapper Bob Bauer’s selections for Saturday’s five stakes races at Tampa Bay Downs
Race 7 $75,000 Columbia Stakes, Three-year-olds, 8 Furlongs Turf
Gidu (7) a speed merchant from the Pletcher/Velazquez combo appears to be the one to catch on a firm turf that has been kind to early foot lately. He just missed vs. Grade 3 foes in the Dania Beach at Gulfstream on Feb. 3.
Verboten (3) is undefeated (2 for 2) both on the lawn. Has been training well in Tampa. Jose Ortiz rides this Canadian shipper in his Tampa debut.
Captivating Moon (2) is 2 for 2 on the green, shows a good late pace fig here and should not be overlooked.
Race 8 $100,000 Challenger Stakes, Four-Year-Olds and up, Mile 1/16 Dirt
War Story(7) If he is right, the rest are running for place
Jay’s Way (5) Could get loose on the lead. Winning jock Emisael Jaramillo comes along from Gulfstream for the ride.
Rafting (3) Sharp now, has been pointed for this by Graham Moti
Race 9 $225,000 Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes, 9 Furlongs Turf
Off Limits (2) and Fourstar Crook (3) are a double-barreled threat for grass mogul Chad Brown. Either one can win here.
La Coronel (9) likes Tampa sod, has dangerous early speed.
Race 10 $200,000 Grade 3 Florida Oaks Mile 1/16 Turf
Salsa Bella (12) Chad Brown Miss ran well in U.S. debut. Irad Ortiz Jr. ships in with the mount.
Almond Roca (4) Stretches out for Graham Motion, doing well in Tampa.
Altea (2) Another contender for Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz on. Ran ok in Europe.
Race 11 The $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby Mile 1/16, 3-YO Dirt
Flameaway (5) Sam Davis winner can be a tough customer here.
Vino Rosso (3) gets blinkers on, closed best in Davis, could make amends.
World of Trouble (8) comes off huge 7 furlong win over Tampa track in Pasco win, might handle route