Review of Sam F. Davis Stakes ,GIII,  at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 9

Race 11. Sam F. Davis Stakes, GIII . For three-year-old at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. Purse $250,000.

The 1 1/16 miles Sam F. Davis Stakes is a Road to the Kentucky Oaks points race and awards points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the first four finishers toward a spot in the starting gate for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).

The Sam F. Davis Stakes is essentially a prep race for the Tampa Bay Derby.


PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Counter Offer Antonio A. Gallardo Ian R. Wilkes 12/1
2 Going for Gold Jose A. Bracho Robert B. Hess, Jr 20/1
3 Knicks Go Albin Jimenez Ben Colebrook 5/2
4 Cave Run Jesus Castanon Eoin Harty 6/1
5 Moonster Samy Camacho Dale L. Romans 30/1
6 Kentucky Wildcat   Joe Bravo Thomas Albertrani 9/2
7 Five Star General Jose Ortiz Arnaud Delacour 4/1
8 So Alive Javier Castellano Todd A. Pletcher 5/1
9 Well Defined  Pablo Morales Kathleen O’Connell 8/1
10 Still Dreaming Jorge Vargas, Jr  Graham Motion 15/1

Counter Offer has experience on this racetrack and has been training here since December, which is a plus. He started his career on turf, but then raced on the dirt for the first time in an off-the-turf allowance race at Churchill Downs. He finished  second at Tampa in an allowance/optional claimer race last month. This a major step up in competition level.

Going for Gold is a maiden after two starts but lost by a nose and a neck in those tries. Has some talent but has yet to race beyond six furlongs and is a question mark at the distance. Figures to be part of the early pace. This a major step up in competition level.  

Knicks Go is the lone graded stakes winner in the field, he posted a 70-1 upset in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and followed it up second in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He finished 11th as the favorite on a sloppy racetrack in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. Has been training on the track, he posted a 58.40 seconds workout on Jan. 26 and seems poised for a big effort. He should finish in top three.

Cave Run was impressive in a 6 1/4 length maiden win in the slop but then followed with a disappointing effort with a 10 1/4 length loss in the Pasco Stakes here. He will be catching the leaders down the lane. He needs to prove he can run at this level.

Moonster has struggled since a maiden win at Churchill Downs in September. He was 16 1/2 lengths in the Breeders’ Futurity and a 13 length loss in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in his last race inspires little confidence. He needs to prove he can run at this level.

Kentucky Wildcat has improved in each start. He beat a nice field in his maiden win on Dec. 1 at Aqueduct. He should not have any issues with distance or racing around two turns. He should be on the board.

Five Star General won two of his three starts at two. He won a stakes in his last start, but that was in the Central Park at Aqueduct which was moved from the turf course to the main track. His other win also was in an off-the-turf race, and he will be tested for class. He should be in the top six.

So Alive made his 3-year-old debut at Tampa with a promising victory in an allowance race and should be sitting directly behind the leaders down the back stretch. He should be in the top three.

Well Defined talent at Gulfstream Park at two, but then faded to 12th in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He pressed the pace in the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream while making his 3-year-old debut. He finished fifth in that race. Should benefit from that start and, with the addition of blinkers, might be tougher on the front end. He should be on the board.

Still Dreaming Took a nice step forward in his second start and posted a decisive maiden win at Laurel last month. He appears to have some talent but faces a tough task with the expected ground loss from the outside post while facing stakes company for the first time. He needs to prove he can run at this level.

Our Top Three Picks

  • So Alive
  • Knicks Go
  • Kentucky Wildcat  






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