March 19, 2019

Quality abounds in Grade 3 Tampa Bay on the turf

Heart to Heart captures the Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard on Saturday, March 4, 2017 (c) Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography

An excellent renewal of the $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) is one of the highlights of the Sam F. Davis card Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs as the 1 1/16-mile turf event attracted multiple Grade 1 winners Heart to Heart and Divisidero, plus the highly capable Qurbaan and Inspector Lynley.

Generally a mainstay at Gulfstream during the winter, Heart to Heart makes his first ever visit to Tampa aiming to snap a four-race losing streak. Winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) and Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) last year, the veteran eight-year-old finished unplaced in the Fourstardave H. (G1) and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) following a close loss in the Shoemaker Mile (G1).

Normally a front runner, Heart to Heart enters off a third-place effort in the Tropical Turf (G3) when he surprisingly rated several lengths off the pace owing to a relatively lethargic start. He took a brief lead inside the final sixteenth before he was overtaken and lost by a length.

Divisidero is also looking to end a four-race skid. Hero of the Arlington H. (G3) in July, the seven-year turned in solid efforts late in the year, including a fourth-place try in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), which he lost by less than a length.

Qurbaan captured his U.S. debut by a nose in the Bernard Baruch H. (G2) at Saratoga in September, and followed up with solid showings in the Shadwell Turf Mile and Fort Lauderdale (G2) for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Inspector Lynley, a rallying fourth in the Fort Lauderdale after a tardy beginning, has the course experience having won the 2017 edition of the Tampa Bay.

Eleven fillies and mares were entered in the $175,000 Endeavour (G3) over 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The probable favorite is multiple graded stakes winner Rymska, sixth in the Matriarch (G1) last time for Chad Brown following a strong win in the Athenia (G3).

Another multiple graded winner, Hawksmoor, could show early foot, while the four-year-old Get Explicit will do her best running late following back-to-back seconds in the Valley View (G3) and Mrs. Revere (G2) last fall.

Making her first start since the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) is Goodyearforroses. Winner of the Santa Ana (G2) and placed in the Gamely (G1) and John C. Mabee (G2) that season, she debuts here for trainer Brian House after failing to meet her reserve at the 2017 Keeneland November sale.

Last-out maiden winners Point of Honor, Lady Kate, and Twixt and Shout could factor in the $150,000 Suncoast for three-year-old fillies over one mile and 40 yards. Also in the lineup are Sweet Diane, a close second in the $75,000 Hut Hut at Gulfstream in December, and the allowance scorers Winning Envelope and Her Royal Highness.