The Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, Tampa Bay Downs’ local prep for next month’s Tampa Bay Derby, drew a field of 10 in search of vital Kentucky Derby points. A total of 17 are at stake, with 10 being awarded to the winner. The 1 1/16th-mile Sam F. Davis will go as the 11th of 12 races on the day. Approximate post time is 5:25 p.m. EST.
#10 STILL DREAMING (15-1) was ultra-impressive last time out as he blitzed a field of maidens at Laurel. The $460k half-brother to Nyquist was making his route debut that day (second career start), so the pedigree appears sound. STILL DREAMING is training adequately over this course for Graham Motion, who names Jorge Vargas Jr. to ride. He should work out a good stalking trip from this post.
#8 SO ALIVE (5-1) was last seen beating #1 COUNTER OFFER in an allowance prep over this course one month ago. He overcame a slow start and three-wide trip to win going away. Todd Pletcher has this one training exceptionally and will call upon Javier Castellano, who has been lights-out in big races over the last few Saturdays. SO ALIVE has proven to be tactically versatile in just three starts to date, so that gives his jockey options.
#6 KENTUCKY WILDCAT (9-2) took three starts to break his maiden but finally did so with a solid speed figure on Cigar Mile day at Aqueduct. However, he didn’t have the toughest trip there, as he stalked a somewhat slow pace. Still, Joe Bravo will fly in for the assignment. If the top two don’t progress as expected, the race could land in KENTUCKY WILDCAT’s lap.
#3 KNICKS GO (5-2, morning-line favorite) will be thankful for a fast track after tiring badly in a sloppy renewal of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. His two starts prior to that stamp him as a contender here; he pulled off a 70-1 upset in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity before running second to Game Winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Despite those good showings at two, there’s no guarantee he’ll improve at three. He’s also a potential frontrunner in race chock-full of those. Furthermore, he’ll tote the high weight in the field (124 pounds), spotting most of his competition six pounds. KNICKS GO is best left off the tickets this Saturday.
The play: $2 exacta box 6/8/10, $3 win 10 ($15)
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking