By Derek Simon
Although I wouldn’t go so far as to call the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday a Kentucky Derby prep, I do think it is fair to call it a prep for the Tampa Bay Derby, the premier event for three-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs. Carded as the eighth event on a 10-race program, the Inaugural features 11 promising two-year-old colts and geldings doing battle over six furlongs.
One of those 11, in particular, looks like a potential superstar.
Ishaq won his debut in jaw-dropping style at Tampa Bay Downs on Nov. 28, drawing clear by 10 ¼ lengths, while earning a 96 Brisnet Speed Figure (the Inaugural par is 94). Better still, despite stalking a perfectly reasonable early pace, Ishaq recorded a -3 late speed ration (LSR) in that race — the kind of figure that I haven’t seen since Uncle Mo made his lifetime bow in 2010.
Granted, there’s a world of difference between Saratoga (where Uncle Mo broke his maiden) and Tampa Bay Downs, but I’ll still be keeping a sharp eye on Ishaq.
For free handicapping reports for Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 19, 2015, click on the links below: