Trainer Todd Pletcher never fails to head into the Kentucky Derby prep campaign with a strong hand. This year is no exception but so far none of his three Derby prospects had really distinguished themselves from the others. That may have changed on Saturday as Destin turned in a record breaking performance in winning Saturday’s Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby. More significantly, the fifty Derby qualification points he earned shot Destin to the top tier of the standings. Pletcher’s day was made all the better thanks to a strong run by Destin’s stablemate Outwork who finished a solid second.
Destin’s time of 1:42.82 set a track for 1 1/16 miles beating previous record holder Bolt Start (2010 Challenger Stakes) by :01. Despite the record breaking performance, Destin was only able to edge stablemate Outwork by one length–the runner up earned 20 Derby qualification points and his performance appeared to please Pletcher even more than Destin’s victory.
Destin has earned $390,700 in his career and won three of his five starts. The Tampa Bay Derby win was worth 50 Derby qualification points which moved Destin all the way up to #2 in the points standings, trailing only the current Kentucky Derby favorite Mohaymen. Outwork’s second place performance and resulting twenty qualification points puts him at 14th in the points standings. Star Hill finished third earning 10 qualification points with Rafting taking fourth and five points. Another Pletcher horse–Zulu–is currently #13 in the Derby qualification points standings giving the trainer the possibility of three entries in the ‘Run for the Roses’. If the race were held tomorrow all three Pletcher entrants would have qualified.
A Pletcher trained horse won the Tampa Bay Derby win for a record fourth time. Destin will now try to become only the third Tampa Bay Derby winner to emerge victorious in the Kentucky Derby. Street Sense won the 2007 Kentucky Derby after winning the Tampa Bay Derby. Pletcher said that he’ll consider his options in the coming days but that he wants both horses to run one more time before the Kentucky Derby. The most likely destinations for Destin and/or Outwork are the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, or the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.