The Morning Line: Sam F. Davis Stakes

Trotter & Friends

 Palm trees, ponies and jorts…nothing quite like it until you head to Tampa Bay Downs (and most of Florida for that matter).  People have a tendency to get taller at this track in the Sunshine State (1st reference to Let it Ride) and there are plenty of horses bad enough for the kiddies to get their picture on (2nd reference).  But let’s not confuse Tampa Bay Downs with the tracks further south in jai alai territory.  This is a beautiful, understated track that has been rolling along since the 1920s.  It will be our focus for two main races along the Derby Trail with the Sam Davis (III) and the Tampa Bay Derby (II) on March 12th.

The Sam Davis will feature a strong group of 10 three year olds.  To be honest, I was hoping that the race was going to come up a tad bit tougher with this being a dirt two-turn 1 1/16 miles (instead of 1 1/8).  However, that being said, a few horses are expected to make some noise.  Among the main early contenders are Brethren (half-brother to last year’s Derby winner), Beamer, Monzon and Washington Rules.

$225,000 Sam F. Davis (gr. III, Race 10, 4:25 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Reprized Halo (FL),F Z Maysonett, 120, M J Azpurua  20-1
2. Adulare (KY), A O Solis, 116, G R Arnold, II 12-1
3. Washington’s Rules (KY), K J Desormeaux, 116, K G McPeek  9-2
4. Too Experience (FL), D Centeno, 120, M Passley 12-1
5. Watch Me Go (FL), L Garcia, 116, K O’Connell 8-1
6. Litigate (NY), J Valdivia Jr., 116, D P Duggan 16-1
7. Beamer (KY), L R Goncalves, 116, C A Nafzger 5-1
8. Monzon (MD), E S Prado, 116, I Correas, IV 3-1
9. Ribo Bobo (FL), D Coa, 116, M J Azpurua 20-1
10. Brethren (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, T A Pletcher 5-2 

So far, Tampa Bay has been extremely favorable to horses that show early speed.   So what do we have for the race that lacks quality early speed?   There are a few sprinters but they look more like non contenders than stakes winners and most of the top contenders have all run very similar races. If these stretch runners are not careful, the race could be carried and won on the front end.

In breaking the race down, I had the horses ranked as follows…

1.       Monzon

2.      Washington’s Rules

3.      Brethren

4.      Adulare

However, I am going to play a small upset with Washington’s Rules to win and exotic wager with Adulare, Brethren and Washington’s Rules.  Even though Washington’s Rules and Monzon came from the clouds to win their last races, it looks like Washington’s Rule’s trainer is gearing him to be closer to the pace in this event.

Remember, there is a fine line between winning and losing…the finish line (3rd reference).

Good Luck and please email me any questions or comment below.


 Written by: Fundanichols 




  1. Heard from a source that Brethren is obviously a very talented horse but an extremely lazy worker…We’ll see which one wins out on race day. I like him in the long run but think he may be a beaten favorite in his first start of the year and a fairly tiring (deep) track.

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