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Mar 13, 2015

Carpe Diem powers to victory in Tampa Bay Derby


Oldsmar, FL ( - Carpe Diem, making his 2015 debut, sailed home to victory in Saturday's $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.

The 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby drew a field of nine 3-year-olds with Carpe Diem the even-money favorite and local stakes winner Ocean Knight the 8-5 second choice.

Carpe Diem, co-owned by Stonestreet Stable and WinStar Farm, sat just off the pace that was set by Diving Rod and My Johnny Be Good. Ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez and trained by Todd Pletcher, Carpe Diem moved to the lead coming off the final turn and cruised through the stretch to post a five- length win over Ami's Flatter with Diving Rod third and Danzig Moon fourth.

"He was very fresh warming up and when they finally got him into the gate and I got on, he settled down," Velazquez said. "We broke very well and I took a position just where I wanted to be, right behind the leaders. He rated very well and I was able to wait with him until nearing the stretch. When I asked, he came away very nicely."

Completing the order of finish were Great Stuff, Moonlight Bandit, Ocean Knight and My Johnny Be Good.

The time for the Tampa Bay Derby was 1:43.60 on a fast track.

Carpe Diem earned 50 points with the victory for a possible place in this year's Kentucky Derby on May 2 at Churchill Downs.

The chestnut colt earned $210,000 with his first win of the year. The 3-year- old has three wins from four starts for $919,800.

Carpe Diem won his first two starts last year, including the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. The chestnut colt was the 9-5 favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita but finished second to Texas Red by 6 1/2 lengths.

Carpe Diem returned $4.00, $3.00 and $2.40. Ami's Flatter paid $9.00 and $6.80, and Divining Rod paid $5.60 to show.

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