Who Wins The Sam F. Davis?

A field of twelve 3-year-olds are scheduled to go in Saturday’s Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs competing for their share of the $250,000 purse.

The top four finishers get qualifying points (10-4-2-1) in this 1 & 1/16 mile Kentucky Derby prep race.

The race is listed as race 10 on a card of 11 with a scheduled Post Time 4:45. Here then is a look at the field.

1. MR RUM RUNNER [ML20-1] Trainer: Patrick Biancone. Jockey: Romero Maragh. After three starts in Florida-bred races, he broke his Maiden by a neck at Gulfstream Park pressing the pace in a one-turn mile. His first start of 2022 was in the Mucho Macho Man, where he was a distant 3rd when he couldn’t keep up with the early leaders. Speed abounds in this field as well.  

2. UNPREDICTABLE BAY [ML 20-1] Trainer: Alnaz Ali. Jockey: Angel Quinones. Has the most starts of any horse in the field as he ran seven times last year beginning at Arlington Park and then finally broke his Maiden in November by nine lengths in a six-furlong sprint at Churchill Downs. He generally runs as part of the early pace and hit the board in all of his starts with five 2nd-place finishes. The SFD will be his first start of 2022. 

3. CLASSIC CAUSWAY [ML 3-1] Trainer: Brian Lynch. Irad Ortiz Jr. He makes his 2022 debut at Tampa after considering starts in the Holy Bull and the Risen Star. He was a first-time Winner at Saratoga going seven furlongs, followed by a 3rd in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland after setting the pace. He ended his 2021 racing with a 2nd in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2).  

 GOLDEN GLIDER [ML 12-1] Trainer: Mark Casse. Jockey: Antonio Gallardo. This one is the first of three horses in the SFD for trainer Casse. The colt is 2-for-2 in his career, with a Maiden Win on the Tapeta surface at Woodbine, where he went from last to first, and then an Allowance Victory at Tampa last month as an odds-on favorite. Both those Wins were in two-turn races. This son of GHOSTZAPPER looks to be on the rise.  

5. GOD OF LOVE [ML10-1] Trainer: Mark Casse. Jockey: Rafael Hernandez. This colt moved south after racing last year at Woodbine. He broke his Maiden in a Stakes race for horses bred in Canada that was run on the turf. He also Won the Grey Stakes (G3) to end his 2-year-old campaign going two turns on the Tapeta surface with a closing move. He was a supplemental nomination and has been training on the dirt in Florida for his 2022 debut. 

6. TRADEMARK [ML 15-1] Trainer: Vickie Oliver. Jockey: Daniel Centeno. Won his last two starts in 2021 with front-end efforts when he broke his Maiden and then Won an Allowance at Churchill, both times going 1 1/16 miles.  

7. MAKE IT BIG [ML 9-2] Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr. Jockey: Jose Ortiz. He is unbeaten in three career starts as a 2-year-old, and each time he was the favorite. He began racing against Florida-breds, which resulted in a Maiden Win and a Stakes Victory. He then moved up to the Derby trail and a mile distance to pick up 10 qualifying points when he stalked to Win the Springboard Mile at Remington Park. The SFD became a goal right after that Victory. 

8. SHIPSATIONAL [ML 6-1] Trainer: Eddie Barker. Jockey: Javier Castellano. This New York-bred earned a shot on the Derby trail after three victories against state-breds. In his four starts, he increased in distance in his two starts at Saratoga and then Belmont Park. He’s been in Tampa to prepare for the SFD, and has been training smartly. This guy was well respected since the beginning as he Won his debut at odds of 2-1. 

9. HOWLING TIME [ML 5-1] Trainer: Dale Romans. Jockey: Joe Talamo. Won his first two starts as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs with a Maiden Win going six furlongs and then in the Street Sense going two turns by more than three lengths. He then went on to the Kentucky Jockey Club, where he set the pace and finished 5th against that strong field. The SFD will be his first start of 2022. 

10. VOLCANIC [ML 12-1] Trainer: Mark Casse. Jockey: Edwin Gonzalez.  He ran three times last year without a Victory, twice in Maiden races and then in the Hopeful (G1) where he finished 7th as a big long shot. After some time off and he came back to get his first Win at Gulfstream Park by a neck after pressing the pace in a one-turn mile. 

11. STRIKE HARD [ML 6-1] Trainer: Matthew Williams. Jockey: Luis Reyes. Broke his Maiden in his second start at Gulfstream and also Won an Allowance on that track. He finished 2nd in the Mucho Macho Man in his most recent start. In that fast race, he had to sit behind the pace when previously he was more of a pace presser. The addition of blinkers for his last two starts was a positive move. Breaking from this post, he seems up against it. 

12. KITTEN MISCHIEF [ML 12-1] Trainer: Jonathan Thomas. Jockey: Manny Franco. He was another first-time starter to break his Maiden, which he did on a muddy track at Aqueduct in November by a neck going a mile. He shipped to Florida for the winter and ran 2nd in an Allowance while adding Lasix and racing on the rail. He was listed as a possible for the Holy Bull (G3) last Saturday, but connections opted for an easier spot in the SFD

13. (AE) LITTLE VIC [ML 15-1] Trainer: Juan Carlos Avila. Jockey: Paco Lopez. Broke his Maiden at first asking at Gulfstream on a sloppy track with a front running effort at 5-2. To end his 2-year-old season he made an Allowance start, again going six furlongs, where he had the lead but finished 2nd. This will be his first start for 2022, and he will face several other horses (with better posts) that will be interested in racing on the lead. 

SUMMARY: #3 CLASSIC CAUSEWAY has a class edge on the rest of the field, and that makes him the horse to beat. Beginning with his debut seven-furlong victory at Saratoga to his board-hitting finishes in a Grade 1 and 2, CLASSIC CAUSEWAY has simply raced against better horses as a 2-year-old.

There are a few other contenders in the field that should come with higher odds and are worth using in vertical and horizontal wagers.

#8 SHIPSATIONAL could become the latest New York-bred to handle the move to open company.

#4 GOLDEN GLIDER is unbeaten with a Maiden Win at Woodbine and then an Allowance at Tampa.

#5 GOD OF LOVE will need to transfer his excellent Woodbine form on the grass and Tapeta to the main track at Tampa in order to Win.

Of course we’re all about Value here at the Daily Racing Blog, so…SHIPSATIONAL carries a two-race Win streak, including a two-length Win in the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes in September that resulted in a 109 Speed Figure.

In terms of early position, SHIPSATIONAL is going to find himself in the stalker position behind some faster horses. He’ll be able to get the first run on the leaders.

Should a speed duel occur on the front end, #8 will be there to go on by the gassed horses.

As a New York-bred, he will also scare bettors away, making him a Value horse.

Best of luck no matter who you choose.

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