A Classy Champion, 1989 Belmont Stakes Winner Easy Goer
Tampa Bay Downs enters the Triple Crown parade Saturday with the $250,000 Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes, which is a prep for the March 11 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, which is a prep for the May 6 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve. Like similar preps at this time of year, the qualifying points have been boosted to 20-8-6-4-2 for the top five finishers among a contentious field of 12 in the 1 1/16-mile stakes.
sAM F. DAVIS STAKES
1. Worthington (20-1 morning-line odds): Stakes-placed on turf, he tries dirt for the first time to find out if he’s Triple Crown material. His pedigree indicates he should handle the main track and if he can duplicate his turf speed figures, he should be a contender here.
JOCKEY: Pablo Morales; TRAINER: Mike Maker
2. Prairie Hawk (6-1): Has homecourt advantage here as he won his last two starts at Tampa around two turns. Has a nice turn of early speed as well as an inside post and could hang on to collect some Kentucky Derby points.
JOCKEY: Samy Camacho; TRAINER: Saffie Joseph Jr.
3. Classic Legacy (12-1): Classic Causeway last year. Classic legacy this year? Was a convincing seven-furlong maiden winner at Aqueduct in December and since then has been pointed to this race by trainer Bill Mott. His speed figures are a notch below the main threats but a hot trainer plus the prospect of continued improvement by the half brother to 2023 Pegasus World Cup winner Art Collector makes him appealing.
JOCKEY: Junior Alvarado; TRAINER: Bill Mott
4. Laver (15-1): On a tennis court, he’d be the favorite. In this race, he has a win, second and fifth in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, but his speed figures have been mired in neutral and he’ll need to take a step forward to serve up a winner here.
JOCKEY: Jose Morelos; TRAINER: Rusty Arnold
5. Groveland (12-1): Another Tampa-based starter who was a length behind Prairie Hawk last time. If you like Prairie Hawk and the price is right, he deserves some consideration.
JOCKEY: Daniel Centeno; TRAINER: Eoin Harty
6. Classic Car Wash (20-1): His last two starts-and wins-were in a maiden optional claimer and a state-bred allowance race. He’s not overmatched but will be tested for class in this field.
JOCKEY: Emisael Jaramillo; TRAINER: Mark Casse
7. Dubyuhnell (9-5): A year ago, the Remsen winner went on to take the Belmont Stakes. The 2022 Remsen Stakes winner makes his 3-year-old debut after posting a stellar speed figure in the Remsen, which was contested on a sloppy track. he probably will not match his number in the Remsen, but if he’s close to it, he’ll be hard to beat.
JOCKEY: Jose Ortiz; TRAINER: Danny Gargan
8. Notah (30-1): Another Tampa winner, but that was at 6 ½ furlongs. A bullet work says he’ll be part of the early pace, but there should be enough company there to make him a bit suspect in the final furlong.
JOCKEY: Antonio Gallardo; TRAINER: John Terranova II
9. Champions Dream (9-2): He was second by a neck in the seven-furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa, but did win the mile Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct as a 2-year-old. His 3-year-old debut in the Pasco was promising enough to make him a factor in this field.
JOCKEY: Tyler Gaffalione; TRAINER: Mark Casse
10. Dreaming of Kona (12-1): He won the one-turn Mucho Macho Man Stakes via disqualification but the time was moderate and two turns from post 10 may be a big ask of him. Yet if the odds are right, he could merit inclusion in the superfecta.
JOCKEY: Scott Spieth; TRAINER: Aldana Gonzalez
11. Litigate (5-1): Was a distant second in a one-turn mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park. The time was good, though the post today isn’t, but hailing from Todd Pletcher’s barn he deserves plenty of attention.
JOCKEY: Luis Saez TRAINER: Todd Pletcher
12. Zydeceaux (20-1): He has plenty of speed and won the Pasco, but the post looms a major problem that should sap his energy and come back to haunt him in the final furlong.
JOCKEY: Samuel Marin; TRAINER: Ramon Minguet
THE PICK: Classic Legacy
LIVE LONGSHOT: Classic Legacy
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