Odysseus rallies to win Tampa Bay Derby
Odysseus rallied from between horses in deep stretch Saturday to
win the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby by a nose over Schoolyard
Race favorite Super Saver was third.
Trained by Thomas Albertrani and ridden by Rajiv Maragh,
Odysseus covered the 1 1-16th mile in 1:44.31 while winning by a
head bob at the finish line. It was the closest finish in the Tampa
Bay Derby’s 30 runnings.
Odysseus paid $6.00, $3.40 and $2.40. Schoolyard Dreams paid
$5.00 and $2.80 and Super Saver paid $2.40.
“I really believed that we might have just come up short by a
bob,” Albertrani said.
So did Maragh, who pulled beside Schoolyard Dreams and jockey
Jeremy Rose after the finish line and said, “I think you won it,
Racing comfortably in second entering the far turn behind Super
Saver, Odysseus suddenly dropped back to fourth when passed on the
outside by Schoolyard Dreams and appeared to be beaten entering the
“I thought we were beat,” admitted Satish Sanan, owner of
But Maragh never quit on Odysseus, who worked his way back into
the race and rallied between Schoolyard Dreams and Super Saver
before sticking his nose in front at the wire before a crowd of
A Kentucky-bred son of Malibu Moon purchased by Sanan’s Padua
Stable at auction last March for $250,000, Odysseus finished second
in his career debut Oct. 31 in only start as a 2-year-old while
sprinting at Aqueduct.
The colt has since reeled off three consecutive victories. He
broke his maiden Jan. 14 across seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park
and then prepped for the Tampa Bay Derby by winning an optional
claiming event Feb. 17 at Tampa around two turns by 15 lengths.
Odysseus appeared to be in a perfect spot down the backstretch,
racing second behind a 47.02-second half-mile set by Super Saver.
But as soon as Schoolyard Dreams made a bold move three-wide
approaching the final turn, Odysseus backed out of the race and was
suddenly losing ground.
“I thought we were in charge,” Maragh said. “But suddenly
(Schoolyard Dreams) swept by us on the outside. I was surprised and
so was the horse and he hesitated and we were suddenly behind
horses we might have been in front of.
“But he showed his class and got running again. I wasn’t sure
we were going to find a path, and then it opened up just a few
yards from the finish.”
Albertrani said he wasn’t sure where he would run Odysseus next
before the May 1 Kentucky Derby.
“I want to see how he trains over the next two weeks before we
make a decision,” he said. “I was hoping he would show us the
same type of turn of foot he did (Feb. 17). I don’t know if he was
trying to tell us something today.”
Earlier on the Derby undercard:
– Diva Delite rallied four-wide entering the stretch under
jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., to win the $175,000 Florida Oaks by
two lengths over C C’s Pal.
Diva Delite, a 3-year-old filly who last summer broke her maiden
for a $32,000 claiming tag, has won five consecutive races and six
of her last start for earnings of $285,067. She Be Wild, last
year’s 2-year-old filly champion, was scratched from the race and
will be trained up to the Grade I Ashland April 3 at Keeneland.
– Phola galloped by five others in midstretch under jockey Ramon
Dominguez to win the scratched-filled $150,000 Hillsborough by 4
1/4 lengths over Cure for Sale. Phola, a 4-year-old filly trained
by Todd Pletcher, covered a yielding, 1 1-8th mile turf course in