Shipsational, who finished second in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) and third in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2), is set to make his next start in the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) April 2 at Gulfstream Park, the Daily Racing Form reports.
Trainer Edward Barker told the Form he plans to switch jockeys from Manuel Franco back to Javier Castellano, who rode Shipsational in the Sam F. Davis. Shipsational broke from the No. 8 post position in both races, and Barker said wide trips compromised his chances both times.
The New York-bred colt, who is owned by Iris Smith Stable, has earned $75,000 from his two starts at Tampa Bay Downs. More importantly, at least to his hopes of racing in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 7, are the 14 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points he picked up at the Oldsmar, Fla. track in his quest to secure one of the 20 available starting-gate spots in the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.
Shipsational is currently 15th in the standings and likely would need at least a third or fourth-place finish to get there (the Florida Derby awards qualifying points on a 100-40-20-10 scale).
Classic Causeway won both races and is No. 1 in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings with 66 points. He is expected to make his final start before the Kentucky Derby on April 9 in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
Shipsational won a pair of New York state-bred stakes as a 2-year-old at Belmont Park, the Sleepy Hollow Stakes and the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes.