2019 Sam F. Davis Stakes Preview

February 8, 2019

The path to the 2019 Kentucky Derby continues on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs with the 2019 Sam F. Davis Stakes. This looks to be an interesting contest, as we have Still Dreaming, a 1/2 brother to 2016 Kentucky Derby winner, Nyquist, making his stakes debut and Knicks Go will headline the field, looking to rebound from a dismal effort in his last out and start his 3-yr.-old season with a bang. 

This race offers Kentucky Derby points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 basis.

Let’s take a look at the field:

Race 11 Tampa Bay Downs The Sam F. Davis Stakes Grade 3, Distance: 1-1/16 Miles on the Dirt 3-year-olds Purse: $250,000 Post Time 5:25 ET

#1) COUNTER OFFER 12/1 Sire: Tapizar Trainer: Ian Wilkes Jockey: Antonio Gallardo

Starts: 6: 1-1-0 Earnings: $54,689

This fellow was off the board in his first three starts but scored at a mile on the Churchill Turf on Oct. 28. He didn’t fire in his next outing but then ran a good second over this course on Jan. 6 to So Alive. He was no match the winner that day but was well clear of the third place finisher. Hard to gauge, passing.

#2) GOING FOR GOLD 20/1 Sire: Atreides Trainer: Bob Hess Jr. Jockey: Jose Bracho

Starts: 2: 0-2-0 Earnings: $16,800

He had thoughts of running in The Holy Bull last weekend but scratched and opted for this instead. Hard luck gelding lost his first start by a neck and three weeks later lost his second race by a nose at Laurel. He’s speedy and gets blinkers but he’s never been this far and might be done early.

#3) KNICKS GO 5/2 Sire: Paynter Trainer: Ben Colebrook Jockey: Albin Jimenez

Starts: 6: 2-1-1 Earnings: $672,515

“Knicky” is the only Grade 1 winner in the field and that experience should go a long way against these. I’m giving him a pass for his 11th place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club, as he didn’t care for the slop. Two bullet workouts over the course say he’s locked and loaded.

#4) CAVE RUN 6/1 Sire: Street Sense Trainer: Eoin Harty Jockey: Jesus Castanon

Starts: 2: 1-0-1 Earnings: $19,750

He turned some heads on Dec. 15 when he won his 6-furlong debut by 6-1/4 lengths over this course. He came back to run an extra 1/8 mile in The Pasco on Jan.19, but had a wide trip and ran third. I think he moves up going longer but a minor award might be the ceiling today.

#5) MOONSTER 30/1 Sire: Malibu Moon Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Sammy Camacho Starts: 6: 1-0-1 Earnings: $41,749

Last out was a poor third in a 4-horse event at Gulfstream where he was beaten 13-3/4 lengths. He’s run in some good races but really needs a softer bunch to shine.

#6) KENTUCKY WILDCAT 9/2 Sire: Tapit Trainer: Tom Albertrani Jockey: Joe Bravo

Starts: 3: 1-0-1 Earnings: $48,138

Hit the board at 1-1/16 mile in his second start and won nicely at Aqueduct in start number three at a mile in Dec. Improving colt’s running style suits this race and a good effort is expected.

#7) FIVE STAR GENERAL  4/1 Sire: Distorted Humor Trainer: Arnaud Delacour Jockey: Jose Ortiz Starts: 3: 2-0-0 Earnings: $78,050

Broke his maiden in Oct. at Laurel in front running fashion and then reproduced that effort in The Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct. He’ll take a big step up here but 2/3 record says he likes to run and he sure wouldn’t mind some moisture. Quite possible with best effort.

#8) SO ALIVE  5/1 Sire: Super Saver Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Javier Castellano

Starts: 3: 2-0-0 Earnings: $52,569

Won at first asking at Keeneland in dramatic fashion, coming from way back to win by a neck at 6 panels in the mud. He came back and disappointed at Churchill but then won on a fast track at Tampa. He can win on or off the lead and on a wet or dry surface. Versatile runner should be set for a good run.

 #9) WELL DEFINED 8/1 Sire: With Distraction Trainer: Kathleen O’Connell Jockey: Pablo Morales Starts: 6: 2-1-1 Earnings: $320,570

Boasts six career races for experience but is coming off two off-the-board finishes. He showed promise in FL. as a two-year-old and brings some speed to the table. Will be sporting blinkers for this and he’ll be looking to take them as far as he can. Not a win candidate but he should outrun his odds.

#10) STILL DREAMING 15/1 Sire: Flatter Trainer: Graham Motion Jockey: Jorge Vargas Jr. Starts: 2: 1-0-0 Earnings: $25,200

Purchased for $460,000 as a yearling, this colt has some hype to live up to as a 1/2 brother to Nyquist. He won nicely second time out at Laurel when stretching out to a mile. He’s been training and working well at Tampa for a month, so the connections are expecting big things. Probably overrated but could be any kind of runner. A possibility.


#3) KNICKS GO (5/2) Grade 1 stakes winner rolls here

#8) SO ALIVE (5/1) Speedy and versatile

#6) KENTUCKY WILDCAT (9/2) Running style suits

#10) STILL DREAMING 15/1) High expectations

#4) CAVE RUN (6/1) Likes this course

@PastTheWire bingo!!! 9/2 easy winner!!!

Rick St. Pierre @rstp354 View testimonials