Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs - Road to the Kentucky Derby
The Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs is a "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points race, with the top four finishers accruing points toward starting-gate eligibility for the Run for the Roses on May 5 at Churchill Downs.
The Sam F. Davis closed with 45 nominations, nine from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won the race six times, most recently with subsequent Belmont Stakes runner-up Destin in 2016.
Among Pletcher's nominees is 3-year-old colt Vino Rosso, 2-for-2 after a solid allowance/optional claiming victory here on Dec. 22, and multiple-stakes winning colt Bal Harbour.
||Navy Armed Guard
The Sam F. Davis nominations list is chockfull of horses that could make plenty of noise on the Triple Crown trail. It includes Avery Island, who won the Grade II Nashua at Aqueduct in November, and Enticed, the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club winner in November, both trained by Kiaran McLaughlin; last year's Grade II Remsen Stakes winner Catholic Boy, a colt from the barn of Jonathan Thomas; and World of Trouble, trainer Jason Servis' sophomore colt who dazzled with a 13 ¾-length victory here in the Pasco Stakes on Jan. 20.
Also nominated are Grade I Hopeful Stakes winner Sporting Chance and Grade I-placed colt Bravazo, both trained by D. Wayne Lukas; trainer Dale Romans' Free Drop Billy, who won the Grade I Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last fall; and Tricks to Doo, who won the Inaugural Stakes here on Dec. 16 for trainer Arnaud Delacour.
The Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes closed with 36 nominations, while the Suncoast, which is a "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" points race, closed with 26 nominations.
In addition to La Coronel, the Lambholm South Endeavour list includes Argentine-bred 6-year-old Dona Bruja, a multiple graded-stakes winner trained by Ignacio Correas, IV; 6-year-old Kitten's Roar, a Grade II winner from the barn of Michael Maker; 4-year-old Madam Dancealot and 5-year-old Mokat, both Grade II winners trained by Richard Baltas; and Grade III-winning 5-year-old Ultra Brat, from the barn of H. Graham Motion.
The Suncoast achieved "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" points status after 2015 winner Include Betty and 2016 winner Weep No More went on to win Grade I events and last year's runner-up, Elate, won two subsequent Grade I stakes.
Top nominees for this year's edition include Motion's Almond Roca, impressive winner here of both the Sandpiper and Gasparilla Stakes; Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies third-place finisher Blonde Bomber, trained by Stanley I. Gold; Grade III winner Daisy, trained by John Servis; and Grade I-placed Princess Warrior, trained by Ken McPeek.