Roman Tiger and Doubles Partner, the past two winners of the Tampa Bay Stakes, are part of a full field entered for the 2013 renewal on turf Feb. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Roman Tiger produced a 28-1 upset in last year's race over the Oldsmar, Fla. oval, surging late on the outside to nose out 33-1 El Commodore, who is also entered in this year's event. Doubles Partner found the winner's circle in 2011 in his only start over the course, winning by a neck over Rahystrada when up in the final strides as the favorite.
Doubles Partner, a 6-year-old by Rock Hard Ten trained by Todd Pletcher for WinStar Farm, is the 124-pound co-high weight in the 12-horse field for the 1 1/16-mile test. Also assigned 124 for the Tampa Bay, which goes as the ninth race on the Saturday card with a scheduled 4:25 p.m. EST post, is Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Big Blue Kitten.
To be ridden from post 8 by Chris DeCarlo, Doubles Partner is coming off a second as the 1-2 choice in the Sunshine Millions Turf Jan. 15 at Gulfstream Park. Doubles Partner came from well back that day on a yielding turf and was gaining slightly on eventual winner Teaks North to finish 2 1/2 lengths behind. Doubles Partner, a lifetime earner of nearly $600,000, has lost five races in a row since taking the Canadian Turf at Gulfstream last March.
Big Blue Kitten won the National Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in August 2011 for trainer Chad Brown. He is coming off a third-place effort in the Ft. Lauderdale at the Tampa Bay distance Jan. 12 at Gulfstream. Jesus Castanon takes the mount on the 5-year-old son of Kitten's Joy . They break from the rail.
Swift Warrior, carrying 122 in the Tampa Bay, captured the John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes at Sam Houston Jan. 26. He earned 98 Beyer speed figure after going gate-to-wire to win the nine-furlong event by nearly three lengths. In his only prior start over the Tampa turf, the 5-year-old son of First Samurai was third in last year's Tampa Bay, just a half-length behind Roman Tiger and El Commodore. John Terranova II trains the chestnut horse for James Covello and James Dolan.
Roman Tiger has been unplaced in six starts since winning Tampa's Turf Classic following the Tampa Bay last year. The 8-year-old Tiger Ridge gelding was seventh last time out in the Sunshine Millions Turf.
The speedy El Commodore, meanwhile, has one victory from eight starts since narrowly missing last year's theft attempt. The Kinsman Stable homebred, a 6-year-old El Prado gelding, has three wins and two seconds in seven tries over the Tampa Bay lawn.
Also in the field is Dr. Joseph Witek's homebred Tiz Sardonic Joe, second last time out by a neck in the Ft. Lauderdale for trainer Eddie Kenneally at odds of 19-1.