Vinceremos (inside) held off a late rally from Harpoon (outside) to win the Sam F. Davis Stakes by a nose on Feb. 1 at Tampa Bay Downs. (Photo by SV Photography)
Vinceremos held off a powerful late rally from Harpoon to win the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes by a nose on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.
Six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who has a record 42 horses nominated to the 2014 Triple Crown, swept the top two places in the Sam F. Davis. He trains Vinceremos for the partnership of WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stable. Pletcher trains Harpoon for Let’s Go Stable, which raced 2013 Haskell Invitational Stakes winner Verrazano.
Vinceremos entered the Sam F. Davis off a victory by a head on Jan. 4 at Gulfstream Park after finishing second in his career debut in November.
Sent off at 12.40-to-1 odds in the Sam F. Davis, Vinceremos raced close to pacesetter Cousin Stephen early and settled into a relaxed rhythm. He dropped back to fourth briefly on the final turn under rider Edgar Prado before accelerating through an opening on the rail to take command early in the stretch.
Vinceremos led by 1 ½ lengths in midstretch but he was challenged by an explosive late bid from Harpoon, who closed with ground-devouring strides from the outside only to come up just short.
Vinceremos completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.34 and returned $26.80 for a $2 win bet, not bad considering Pletcher has now won five of the last six editions of this race.
Harpoon, the 9-to-5 second betting choice in the Sam F. Davis, finished second in his first three starts before a 5 ½-length romp in December at Gulfstream.
Vinceremos was bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall. He is from the first crop of 2009 Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile, a Grade 1 winner at two and three. Vinceramos is from the family of champion sprinter Safely Kept.
WinStar Farm won the Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in 2010 and has a recent track record for success with horses at classic distances. WinStar bred 2003 dual classic winner and champion Funny Cide and WinStar homebred Bluegrass Cat ran second in the 2006 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. WinStar homebred Well Armed won the 2009 Dubai World Cup; homebred Super Saver prevailed in the 2010 Kentucky Derby; and WinStar’s Drosselmeyer won both the 2010 Belmont Stakes and 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Sam F. Davis Stakes is not a scoring race in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system that determines the field for the first jewel of the Triple Crown, however it serves as the local prep race for the Tampa Bay Derby.
The Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled for March 8 and is part of the 16-race Kentucky Derby Championship Series with 50 points awarded to the victor.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
VINCEREMOS RETURNS TO THE WINNER'S CIRCLE
Photo by SV Photography