$250k Sam F. Davis

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$250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3)
Tampa Bay Downs

Race 11 (Saturday, February 9, 2019: 5:15 p.m./ET; 2:15 p.m.PT)

Mile and a sixteenth on the main track (three-year-olds)

A great card has been assembled at Tampa Bay Downs for this Saturday and the feature stakes race on the program is a Kentucky Derby (G1) points race: the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3).  The one to beat is Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner up KNICKS GO, who shocked the world at 70/1 when winning the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in the fall.  

#1 COUNTER OFFER was last seen finishing second behind #8 SO ALIVE in an allowance race over this track last month. His only career victory came on turf against maidens at Churchill Downs. All signs indicate he will need to run faster to win.

#2 GOING FOR GOLD is a maiden facing winners in this spot. His two previous runs came at Laurel Park against maiden sprinters and both efforts resulted in runner up finishes. Another where improvement is needed for him to take home the prize.

#3 KNICKS GO proved his win in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) was no fluke when finishing a gallant second to GAME WINNER in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). He then returned three weeks later and ran poorly in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), and has been given two-and-a-half months off for his 2019 debut. Has just three works heading into this for trainer Ben Colebrook, who wins at 8% with runners making their first start off a break between 61-180 days. Class of the race, but will try to beat on the win end.

#4 CAVE RUN was a dominant maiden winner over a sloppy track in his career debut but regressed over a fast track in his next start, the Pasco Stakes, finishing 10 lengths behind the winner as the favorite. By Street Sense out of a Bernardini mare, he should enjoy the added distance in his two-turn debut.

#5 MOONSTER broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in September but has lost by double digit lengths in four starts since then. A form reversal is needed for him to hit the board.

#6 KENTUCKY WILDCAT faces winners for the first time after breaking his maiden last time out at Aqueduct by a half-length while earning a field high last out Beyer Speed Figure of 86. By TAPIT out of a Grade I winning mare BETTER LUCKY, this well-bred Godolphin homebred figures to get plenty of attention from handicappers. Contender.

#7 FIVE STAR GENERAL broke his maiden on a sloppy track at Laurel and came back to win the Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct over a fast track on November 2. He sports a number of bullet workouts for trainer Arnaud Delacour, who hits at 20% when freshening up runners behind 61-180 days. This colt has speed, so expect him to use it in his two-turn debut.

#8 SO ALIVE, a son of SUPER SAVER, comes into this race off an easy allowance win against #1 COUNTER OFFER over this track. This colt is a half sibling to Wood Memorial (G1) winner VINO ROSSO, who ran third in this race last year.

#9 WELL DEFINED won a minor Florida-bred stake in September before two poor performances in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and, most recently, the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream. Backers will hope blinkers on helps for a trainer who wins at 21% when doing so.

#10 STILL DREAMING was a $460,000 auction purchase and is a half brother to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner NYQUIST. This Graham Motion trainee routed for the first time on January 1 and beat a maiden special weight field of five at Laurel Park. Jockey Jose Vargas Jr. will need to work out a good trip from the outside post.

SELECTIONS

1. #7 FIVE STAR GENERAL - Well bred colt retains top rider Jose Ortiz.

2. #3 KNICKS GO - His best race wins it.

3. #8 SO ALIVE - Todd Pletcher trains.

LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY- #6 KENTUCKY WILDCAT – Improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern.

WAGERING STRATEGY

I’ll make a straight win bet on my top selection.

BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)

$50 Win: #7 FIVE STAR GENERAL

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