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Mar 09, 2012

Battle Hardened back for Tampa Bay Derby


Oldsmar, FL (Sports Network) - Battle Hardened, winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes, heads a field of 12 three-year-olds in Saturday's $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The 1 1/16-mile race has become an important prep leading to the Kentucky Derby.

With Julien Leparoux again in the saddle, Battle Hardened will start from post seven for trainer Eddie Kenneally and owners Michael B. Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier,

"We're delighted that Julien is available to ride him back in the Tampa Bay Derby after winning the Sam Davis," Kenneally said.

Battle Hardened used the Davis as his maiden win after three previous starts. The chestnut colt has career earnings of $138,855.

"Our horse went over there to Tampa from Palm Meadows and handled the surface really well, and sometimes that can be a little difficult shipping into Tampa," Kenneally noted. "So he's already jumped that hurdle successfully. So now he's faced with a tougher group of horses for sure, but he's improving, so I feel like we're going in the right direction with this horse, and I think he's ready to go."

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out undefeated and lightly raced Spring Hill Farm. The colt, making his stakes debut, will start from post nine with Javier Castellano riding.

Owned by Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton, Spring Hill Farm broke his maiden in January at Gulfstream and the next month won an allowance in the slop at the track.

Pasco Stakes winner Prospective returns for his third start at Tampa. Second in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, the colt will be ridden by Luis Contreras from the rail.

Trained by Mark Casse, Prospective lost the Davis by 1 1/4-lengths to Battle Hardened last month after racing wide around both turns. The three-year-old has earned $231,317 with wins in half of his six career starts for owner John Oxley.

In post position order here is the field for the Derby: Prospective, Luis Contreras; Golden Ticket, Manny Cruz; Twin, Danny Centeno; Chief Energy, Paco Lopez; Tell All You Know, Leandro Goncalves; Cozzetti, Jose Lezcano; Battle Hardened, Julien Leparoux; Ravelo's Boy, Jeffrey Sanchez; Spring Hill Farm, Javier Castellano; Take Charge Indy, Calvin Borel; Fox Rules, Huber Villa- Gomez and Cajun Charlie, Tracy Hebert.

Post-time for the Tampa Bay Derby is set for 5:30 (ET).

In 2007, Street Sense won at Tampa Bay before taking the Run for the Roses.

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