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Mar 14, 2008

War Pass one to beat in Tampa Bay Derby


Oldsmar, FL (Sports Network) - Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner War Pass will be the overwhelming favorite for Saturday's $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The 2007 champion two-year-old will face six challengers in the 1 1/16 mile race.

War Pass will attempt to become the second consecutive two-year-old champ to win the Tampa Bay Derby. Street Sense won last year's race on his way to becoming the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner to capture the Kentucky Derby.

Trained by Nick Zito, War Pass will break from post three with regular rider Cornelio Velasquez aboard. The colt opened his 2008 season with a dominating win in an allowance race last month at Gulfstream Park.

War Pass is undefeated in five lifetime starts for owner Robert LaPenta with earnings of better than $1.4 million.

"I think this one will be a little bit more of a race for him," said LaPenta. "It'll be 1 1/16 miles, it'll be over a new track, and we're just looking for him to continue to move forward."

Kentucky Derby winning trainer Barclay Tagg will saddle Big Truck on Saturday. Big Truck was second in Tampa Bay Downs' Sam F. Davis Stakes in February. The three-year-old will be ridden by Eibar Coa from post six.

Owned by Eric Fein, Big Truck has won two of six starts for $156,880. He was fifth in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January and fourth in the Remsen Stakes last November.

Atoned, second in the Remsen Stakes, has drawn the far outside post with former champion jockey John Velazquez riding. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Atoned is owned by Dogwood Stable.

The colt has finished second in his last three starts after winning the Continental Mile at Monmouth Park in August. He has earned $136,757 in seven starts with two wins and four second-place results.

Here is the complete field for the Tampa Bay Derby in post position order: Cigar Man, Ron Allen; Gentleman James, David Amiss; War Pass, Cornelio Velasquez; Make Me Zach, Jose Rivera II; Dynamic Wayne, Pablo Morales; Big Truck, Eibar Coa and Atoned, John Velazquez.

The race has a scheduled post-time of 5:50 p.m. (et).

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