Three-year-olds were in action coast to coast on Saturday, February 9, with the Sam F. Davis Stakes, Las Virgenes Stakes, and Suncoast Stakes on offer for Kentucky Derby and Oaks points.
The $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs brought a field of nine with Keeneland grade 1 winner Knicks Go being sent away favored as the 9-5 choice. Well Defined, a gelded son of With Distinction, went to the lead and cleared the field quickly, pulling three lengths clear in the early stages. Jockey Pablo Morales kept control throughout, winning by 2 ¾ lengths over the rallying Kentucky Wildcat.
Well-bred Kentucky Wildcat finished second, 8 ¾ lengths clear of So Alive third, but pulled up right after the wire and was vanned off. He is most likely off the Kentucky Derby trail.
Well Defined is trained by Kathleen O’Connell for Stonehedge LLC; this was his third win in seven starts. He was an impressive winner of the Florida Sire In Reality Stakes last September, and has won by 4 ½ furlongs to today’s 1 1/16 mile distance.
On the Sam F. Davis undercard was the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes, a Kentucky Oaks prep worth 10 points to the winner. That winner was favored Point of Honor, a chestnut daughter of Curlin who races for Eclipse Thorougbreds and Stetson Racing, LLC. The George Weaver trainee is now unbeaten in two starts following a sharp maiden victory on December 16 at Gulfstream Park. Lady Kate finished second and Sweet Diane third.
The Oaks horse all were watching Saturday was Bellafina, the Oaks points leader who had already won her first start of the year after taking two grade 1 races last season. The 1-9 favorite in the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita was expected to win in effortless style but had to work over four rivals, outlasting Enaya Alrabb to the wire to win by three-quarters. Enaya Alrabb was coming off a narrow loss in the Starlet (G1) in December, and proved she fits with the best fillies so far this year. Mother Mother, a well-regarded Baffert filly, finished fourth after pressing the winner throughout, a half-length behind third place Calf Moon Bay.
Sunday’s races include the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita, which could produce a runner that goes on to compete in other Derby preps down the road.
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