2015 Sam F Davis Stakes

Tampa Bay’s Sam F Davis Stakes

VinceremosThis Saturday, January 31st we have the Sam F Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. In last year’s edition of the Sam F. Davis we caught a nail-biter when long shot Vinceremos jumped up and won by a nose over the favorite, Harpoon. Vinceremos paid $26.80 for the win and went on to get 2nd in the Tampa Bay Derby. The Sam F Davis is not a Derby Points Race, but it does give us some clue of what’s to come in the Tampa Bay Derby (which is a Points Race), so I thought it best we take a look at it for this year. Who knows? Maybe our next Derby winner is earning his way in this very race- we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, let’s see if we can spot some value in this one!

2015 Sam F Davis

Tampa Bay DownsThe $250,000 Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes is the 11th race on the card at Tampa Bay for Saturday and will feature 12 three year olds traveling 1 1/16 mile. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Ocean Knight, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. Ocean Knight won his debut race at Aqueduct back in December, winning a 6 furlong event by 4 ¼ lengths. Next in the morning line is Catalina Red at 4 to 1. Catalina Red has already won two non-graded stakes events with a 7 ¼ length victory in the Inaugural Stakes and a neck win in the Pasco Stakes, both at Tampa Bay. He is trained by Chad Stewart and will have Daniel Centeno in the irons. Third in the morning line is Ami’s Flatter at 9/2. He picked up a second place finish in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream earlier this month, missing the win by 1 ¾ lengths. Trained by Josie Carroll, Ami’s Flatter will have Luis Contreras at the helm. All three of these entries look good, but in a match-up like this it’s anyone’s ballgame. Catalina RedThe majority of these horses look like they would prefer to come off of the pace or make a late charge, so for my value play I’m going to go with some front-end speed- My Johnny Be Good at 6 to 1 on the ML. My Johnny Be Good won his last outing by 14 lengths, gaining ground! Granted, it was a 6 furlong event but it seems he is almost begging for more distance and the Sam F. Davis should suit him fine. His best dirt speed is close to the average winning speed and his sharp 5 furlong work on January 26th says he’s ready here. He gets a solid jockey/trainer combo in Antonio Gallardo and Eoin Harty. He has also proven in the past that he can be versatile and doesn’t have to have the early lead to win it. Distance shouldn’t be an issue since he ran 2nd at this distance back in October at Keeneland. For a longshot play, I’m giving the nod to Coomer at 20 to 1 on the morning line. He won at this distance back in November at Churchill Downs by 6 ¼ lengths. His speed figures were not the best, but he has been training hard and a lot can change in only a few months. I look for him to give a great effort here. Good luck everybody!



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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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