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Check out our predictions and odds for the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs!
S Joseph Jr
G Arnold II
CLASSIC CAR WASH
A A Gallardo
J Terranova II
DREAMING OF KONA
*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
A winner of the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes to close out his juvenile season, Dubyuhnell headlines a full field of 12 Kentucky Derby hopefuls in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
After running fourth in his career debut at Saratoga against a stacked field, the son of Good Magic has won two straight for trainer Danny Gargan. An impressive rally to win his maiden at Aqueduct was followed by a determined victory in the 9-furlong Remsen.
Chief among his opposition in the 8 1/2-furlong Sam F. Davis will be a trio of promising colts from Hall of Fame barns.
Litigate, trained by Todd Pletcher, has only started twice, but has looked like a colt with potential when winning first out at Aqueduct, before running second in a strong allowance race at Gulfstream Park.
Champions Dream, trained by Mark Casse, earned a Grade 3 victory two starts back in the Nashua at Aqueduct. Last out, the son of Justify just missed in the local Pasco Stakes at 7-furlongs.
Classic Legacy is a half-brother to recent Pegasus World Cup hero Art Collector, and is trained by Bill Mott. The Into Mischief colt has improved in each of his three starts and comes in off an easy maiden score at Aqueduct.
As a Kentucky Derby trail race, the Sam F. Davis will award qualifying points on a 20-8-6-4-2 to the first five finishers.
A deserving favorite, this son of Good Magic comes in off the best win of any horse in the field. It was a determined win over the good Arctic Arrogance in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes which proved his class and toughness.
That victory at Aqueduct was the second in a row after a flashy late rally carried him to a going away win against maiden foes. Now 2-of-3 lifetime, and the winner of two in a row, he will make his 3-year-old debut with clear Kentucky Derby dreams for trainer Danny Gargan.
It must be noted, however, that both of his wins came over sloppy tracks. He could be every bit as good on a fast track, but it is enough to take a shot to beat him as the favorite. Having said that, I do consider him the one to beat.
Trainer Todd Pletcher brings this well thought of son of Blame across state for his third career start. After winning his debut at Aqueduct in solid fashion in November, he was shipped south where he found a tough allowance spot at Gulfstream Park for his second career start early last month.
He was only second best that day, but ran well enough to believe that with further improvement he can become a stakes horse. Drawn near the outside post, with plenty of early speed around him, I believe he has also found a tough spot here.
He could be very talented, but I am not willing to jump on him here as one of the favorites and will look for further development out of him a bit later.
This son of the Triple Crown winner Justify has the most stakes experience of any horse in the field. A debut winner at Saratoga, he may not have been quite ready for the test of the Grade 1 Champagne in his second start, or perhaps he just did not care for the sloppy track.
Next out he was a determined winner of the Grade 3 Nashua at Aqueduct to close out his 2-year-old season for trainer Mark Casse. Last month he traveled to Tampa Bay Downs and could not quite get there when missing by a neck in the 7-furlong Pasco Stakes.
It was a nice local prep that should set him up nicely as he moves to two-turns on Saturday. It only gets tougher here, but with his solid stakes experience, he is an obvious threat.
Trained by Bill Mott, who is a red-hot trainer right now, this son of top sire Into Mischief is a half-brother to the very classy Art Collector. Bred to be a good one, he has moved forward in each of his three starts for his Hall of Fame trainer.
Two starts back, he made up a bunch of ground to get second, and then last time he was close early and coasted home to an easy victory.
Both of those came in 7-furlong maiden races at Aqueduct, though, so he is unproven against this class and at the distance. Still, he looks like a very promising horse who could be right at home against graded stakes company.
After flattening out late in his debut at Gulfstream Park, this well bred son of Curlin has come to Tampa Bay Downs and won two straight for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. The wins were solid enough, but both came with moderate to slow early paces and against very small fields.
He has proven to like the track, and could be getting better by the start, but this will represent a clear step up in class. He will also not get the slow early fractions like the last two. He is a threat, but there are a few others in here who I like better.
The winner of the local Pasco Stakes, this son of Cajun Breeze may be the fastest of the fast early, but this race looks to have a very solid pace.
That could make it tough for him as he stretches out to two turns for the first time. He was nearly 10/1 when he held off Champions Dream last time and he should offer attractive odds once again.
He has proven a nice speed horse, which is always dangerous, but breaking from the far outside post in a tough field does not give me confidence that he will stay strong in the late stages this time.
A gray son of Fast Anna, this one has turned in three solid performances to begin his career. After romping home a big winner on the all-weather track at Presque Isle Downs to debut, he shipped to Tampa Bay Downs, where he chased a fast horse before finishing third in the Inaugural Stakes.
He then went to Gulfstream for the Mucho Macho Man Stakes where he again chased early, but this time stayed on very well. He lost by a half-length, but was awarded the victory for interference by the horse who held him off.
He should be a part of the pace again, which could be pretty fast here. You have to respect his form, but I am leaning elsewhere for the win.
The other Mark Casse-trained runner comes into his stakes debut on a two-race winning streak. After not doing much in his debut, the son of Noble Bird crushed a maiden claiming field at Gulfstream Park two starts back, while going 7-furlongs.
Last out, he won an allowance race at a mile on that track’s all-weather surface. Clearly headed in the right direction, he cannot be dismissed, but will also be in for easily his toughest test to date. I prefer others in this spot.
Bred to run on the dirt, this Mike Maker-trained runner will be making his main track debut in the Sam F. Davis. It’s not an easy place to run on dirt for the first time, but on the other hand, he does have solid experience already, which was earned on the turf.
A winner of 2-of-4, he was a good looking winner of a Keeneland maiden race and then a Churchill Downs allowance race to close out his juvenile season. Last month he ran a very creditable third behind some nice grass horses in the Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
I like his form, experience around two turns and he has had plenty of workouts on the main track. In a wide open race, I think he has a big shot, assuming he takes to dirt. Offering great value, he is the top pick.
This son of Street Sense will be making his stakes debut on Saturday. He has run pretty well and finished in the top three in each of his four starts, but his only win came by a neck against maiden company at Tampa Bay Downs.
Last out he was second behind Prairie Hawk in that four-horse allowance affair. While he does seem to be progressing for trainer Eoin Harty, I’m still not sure there is enough in his past performances to expect a big effort against this field.
Trainer Rusty Arnold brings us this son of Bernardini, who has one win in five career starts. After running decently on the turf in his first two career starts, he switched to the main track and had similar results.
He broke his maiden two starts back, and attempted his second try in stakes company last time with a fifth-place run in the Mucho Macho Man.
He wasn’t embarrassed, and has made some progress from a speed figure standpoint, but probably not enough to give him serious support in what will be his toughest assignment to date.
A son of Flatter, this colt returned off a long layoff to break his maiden with a solid performance to break his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs four weeks ago. His only previous start for trainer John Terranova II was a runner-up finish at Monmouth Park back in June.
He’s run two good races to begin his career but both came in maiden sprints and were seven months apart. Perhaps he can take another step forward in his second start of the layoff, but this big field, and jump up in class and distance seems like a lot to ask of the recent maiden winner.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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