Deciding to scratch his 3-year-old from the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes a week ago at Gulfstream Park, trainer Jose D'Angelo instead chose to await the Sam F. Davis, believing he could have a fitter colt before an important prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve one week later.
"Because I knew he needed one more workout," D'Angelo said of No More Time's five-furlong breeze on Holy Bull Day at Palm Meadows Training Center.
The work appeared to leave him sharp. No More Time shot to the front in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile dirt race under Paco Lopez and raced uncontested over the first portion of the race with fractions of :23.52 and :46.61. No More Time shrugged off the stalking Change of Command and then was challenged on the second turn by Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes winner West Saratoga, who advanced from a stalking position into second, pushing No More Time into a six-furlong split in 1:10.81.
Again, No More Time had more left. He dispatched West Saratoga, opened up by two lengths in mid-stretch, and held on for a comfortable 1 1/4-length victory over late-rallying runner up Agate Road. No More Time raced 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.26 with a slow final sixteenth in :6.67. He paid $8.60 to win as the public choice.
"The trainer told me to put on the brakes out of the gate and sit third or fourth, but my horse broke unbelievable and I let him go," said Lopez, who was aboard No More Time for the first time Saturday.
West Saratoga flattened out to finish 5 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up in third, a head in front of fourth-place finisher Elysian Meadows. Fulmineo was fifth. The top five finishers in the Sam F. Davis earned qualifying points toward the May 4 Kentucky Derby on a 20-10-6-4-2 basis.
Disappointing was Change of Command, the 4-1 second-favorite, who weakened to finish 11th.
The Sam F. Davis often serves as a prep for Tampa's richest race for 3-year-olds, the $400,000 Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby at the same 1 1/16-mile distance on March 9.