Quip in the paddock ahead of his victory in the Tampa Bay Derby

Quip in the paddock ahead of his victory in the Tampa Bay Derby

Joe DiOrio

Connections of Tampa Bay Derby Horses Consider Options

Flameaway likely for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

Having earned 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby from his March 10 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) victory, Quip figures to have a spot in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses May 5 at Churchill Downs. But just how to get there?

Trainer Rodolphe Brisset will talk to WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliott Walden and representatives of Quip's other owners, China Horse Club International and SF Racing, to determine how best to get to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).

Final preps that might fit Quip's schedule include the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland and the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack, both April 7, as well as the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park April 14.

Flameaway, who finished a neck ahead of pace-setter World of Trouble, earned 20 points for his runner-up effort, raising him to eighth with 30 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. The effort prompted trainer Mark Casse, who finished fourth in last year's Kentucky Derby with Classic Empire  (the subsequent Preakness Stakes, G1, runner-up), to think about a return trip to Louisville.

Casse said it's likely the John C. Oxley-owned colt will show up next in the Blue Grass.

"I was excited and happy with Flameaway's performance, and (jockey) Jose (Lezcano) said the farther they go, the better he'll do. He can go all day," Casse said. "He got whacked around pretty good at the start and ran a little erratically down the lane, but he was running at the end and that's what you want.

"Of course we're looking at the (Kentucky) Derby, but you want him to run well and train well leading up to it. You want to believe he can run and run well, and I think he will prove that he belongs."

Todd Pletcher, trainer of fourth-place Tampa Bay Derby finisher Vino Rosso, said that colt is likely to go next in the Wood Memorial.