(Trainer Mark Casse’s Helium wins the G2 Tampa Bay Derby / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
From the Tampa Bay Downs Media Team:
The 41st edition of the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby capped a record-shattering Festival Day 41 Presented by Lambholm South program. Total all-sources handle of $15,229,366 was an all-time record, roughly 2.5-percent above the previous mark set on Tampa Bay Derby Day in 2018.
Jose Ferrer — Helium (1st):
“I’m 56, and I feel like I’m 20,” Ferrer said after the Kentucky-bred son of Ironicus, out of Thundering Emilia, by Thunder Gulch, held off Hidden Stash by ¾-length in a time of 1:43.55 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track.
“On the backside, I had all kind of horse under me,” Ferrer said. “When I set him down at the 3/8 pole, I could see I had a chance. I just had so much horse and he flew down the lane. Then I think he got out there by himself and kind of got bored and he thought, game over. But I still had plety of horse and he re-broke again.”
Mark Casse — Helium:
“He trained well enough that we thought he deserved a chance,” said Casse, who won the 2012 Tampa Bay Derby with Prospective. “We had thought about running in the Gotham and thought, if we’re going to try the dirt, let’s run him close to home, and it worked well for us.
“This horse is something because he got away a little slow today and we had planned on him being closer. He made that big wide run on the turn, but when (Hidden Stash rallied) I was going to be happy with second. I thought, we can build on this, because this is only his third start and there is a lot of room for improvement.
“What was amazing is that he wasn’t overly exhausted after the race. He’s a beautiful horse, he’s bred to run all day long and he looks like a Derby horse, so it’s exciting,” Casse said.