(Well Defined won the G3 Sam F. Davis in preparation for Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Tampa Bay Downs Media Team:

You couldn’t prove it by this morning’s wintry blast, but spring is right around the corner. And with the arrival of the new season, numerous horsemen are contracting their annual case of Derby fever.

First, Saturday’s G2, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. Eight weeks from Saturday, well. … anything is still possible, and Churchill Downs beckons.

Eleven were entered today in the 39th annual Tampa Bay Downs showcase, to be run at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track. At stake, in addition to the purse money, are “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points, awarded to the first four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card beginning at 12:12 p.m. It is one of five stakes races on the program worth a combined $1-million in purse money.

The first 7,500 patrons through the gates will receive a commemorative umbrella, with paid admission.

Florida-bred colt Win Win Win, who set a Tampa Bay Downs 7-furlong track record of 1:20.89 in his Pasco Stakes victory on Jan. 19, has been established as the 5-2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby morning-line favorite. The second choice at 7-2 is the Florida-bred gelding Well Defined, who won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes here on Feb. 9 at the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby distance.

Reigning Eclipse Award Outstanding Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., will ride Win Win Win, whose trainer, Michael Trombetta, is scheduled to be track announcer Richard Grunder’s guest at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the “Morning Glory Club” Show on the first floor of the Grandstand.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card beginning at 12:12 p.m. It is one of five stakes races on the program worth a combined $1-million in purse money.

Two graded turf stakes for females are on tap: the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough, for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile-and-an-eighth, and the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth.

The Hillsborough is the ninth race and the Florida Oaks is the 10th. Saturday’s other stakes are the $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on the turf.

Here is the field for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby in post position order, with trainers and jockeys:

  1. Admire, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado; 2. Sir Winston, Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux; 3. Lord Dragon, Jordan Blair, Jose A. Bracho; 4. Dream Maker, Mark Casse, Florent Geroux; 5. Well Defined, Kathleen O’Connell, Pablo Morales; 6. Outshine, Todd Pletcher, Joel Rosario; 7. Win Win Win, Michael Trombetta, Irad Ortiz, Jr.; 8. The Right Path, Jorge Duarte, Jr., Joe Bravo; 9. Dunph, Michael Maker, Daniel Centeno; 10. Tacitus, William Mott, Jose Ortiz; 11. Zenden, Victor Barboza, Jr., Samy Camacho.

Although the Live Oak Plantation homebred Win Win Win has been training here since his Pasco victory, the hometown favorite is Well Defined, a homebred racing for breeder-owner Gilbert G. Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC.

Campbell and O’Connell teamed to win the 2011 Tampa Bay Derby with Watch Me Go to earn a trip to that year’s Kentucky Derby, and the two-time leading Tampa Bay Downs conditioner is optimistic Well Defined is sitting on another big effort after his Sam F. Davis romp.

“He’s coming up to the race just as good or better than last time. I couldn’t be happier with how he’s doing, and I’m happy with the post position,” O’Connell said.

Morales will be riding Well Defined for the second time after guiding him in his front-running Sam F. Davis score. “This horse has plenty of speed, and Pablo fits him very well,” O’Connell said. “He just has to be forwardly placed, and the rest will be seen.

“I’m just happy he’s going in the right direction and hope they all stay healthy. We need to run a big race Saturday” (to stay on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve trail), she added.

The third choice on the morning line at 4-1 is Dream Maker, one of two entrants trained by Mark Casse, along with Sir Winston.

The Hillsborough has attracted 10 older fillies and mares. Top contenders include millionaire Hawksmoor, trainer Arnaud Delacour’s 6-year-old mare who won the Grade III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes here on Feb. 9; and the Chad Brown-trained duo of 5-year-old French-breds Onthemoonagain and Rymska.

There are 11 3-year-old fillies entered in the Florida Oaks. Brown, the three-time reigning Eclipse award Outstanding Trainer, has entered the French-bred La Feve and the Great Britain-bred Blowout.

Other Florida Oaks entrants certain to attract attention and wagering dollars are Grade II turf winner Concrete Rose, trained by George “Rusty” Arnold, II, and Elsa, a Grade III winner from the barn of Michael Stidham.

The Columbia has drawn 11 sophomores, including the Brown-trained Irish-bred Digital Age and Casse’s Proliferate. Heading the six-horse Challenger field are Casse’s 4-year-old colt Flameaway, who won last year’s Sam F. Davis and finished second in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, and the John P. Terranova, II-trained 5-year-old Killybegs Captain, upset winner of the Pelican Stakes here on Feb. 16.