Well Defined Sprints Away From Rivals in Sam F. Davis Stakes

Well Defined winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) - Photo by SV Photography The $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs was supposed to feature a fast pace and a speed duel between a few of the prominent front-runners in the field. But Well Defined simply laughed at that notion, waltzing along on an uncontested lead to win the race in dominant fashion. Equipped with blinkers for the first time, Well Defined [...]

Talented 2yos Take Center Stage at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs Scenic (SV Photography) With the 2019 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) looming on the distant horizon, Tampa Bay Downs will kick off their annual schedule of stakes races for young Derby and Oaks contenders with the Inaugural Stakes and Sandpiper Stakes on December 15th. These six-furlong sprints, one for colts and one for fillies, serve as stepping stones toward more significant two-turn tests at the Florida track in 2019, including as [...]

An Early Preview of the Blue Grass Stakes

With the Grade 1 Florida Derby in the rearview mirror it is time to start looking ahead to the trio of Triple Crown prep races next weekend. The Santa Anita Derby should be great, but took a potential hit with McKinzie opting to skip the race due to an issue with one of his hind legs. The Wood Memorial in New York has not been the most productive event of late, but should be a solid race this year with [...]

How to Bet the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park

Saturday’s feature at Gulfstream Park is the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes. The six furlong dash over the main track for three-year-olds drew a compact group of 6, but remains an intriguing Grade 3 event nonetheless. The field is led by 9-5-morning line favorite #1 Impact Player. The $350,000 OBS April 2017 purchase for Nk Racing enters his first try against stakes company off of two wire-to-wire victories over this surface. The son of City Zip is all but certain to [...]

Quip Posts 19-1 Upset in Tampa Bay Derby

Quip winning the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) - SV Photography We’ve seen some significant upsets so far on the Kentucky Derby trail, more than in recent years, and the trend of longshot winners continued on March 10th when Quip posted a 19-1 upset in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) at Tampa Bay Downs. On paper, the 8.5-furlong race was supposed to feature a battle for the lead between the speedy World of Trouble and the [...]

Three graded stakes events headline a solid late Pick 4 sequence on Tampa Bay Derby Day

After a massive Saturday of racing last weekend at Gulfstream Park, things heat up on Florida’s west coast this weekend with the running of the Grade 2 $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The mile and a sixteenth event over the main track is one of three Kentucky Derby prep races held in North America this Saturday that reward 50 qualifying points to the victor and marks the eleventh race on Tampa’s twelve race card. A late Pick 4 sequence that includes [...]

Keying Vino Rosso in the Tampa Bay Derby

Flameaway winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) - © SV Photography Should Tampa Bay Downs ever choose to rename the $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), the “Todd Pletcher Derby” might be a fitting title. After all, the Hall of Fame trainer has dominated the 8.5-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race in recent years, winning in 2004, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. For good measure Pletcher, also finished second and third in [...]

How to Bet the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs Scenic (SV Photography) After a busy week with the Robert B. Lewis, the Withers and the Holy Bull, things are quiet on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” this weekend outside of the Grade 2 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. The Sam F. Davis Stakes, a prep for next month’s Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, drew a compact, yet solid group of three-year-olds with ten qualifying points going to the victor of the [...]

Will Vino Rosso Upset the Sam F. Davis Stakes?

Catholic Boy winning the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct - Viola Jasko/Adam Coglianese Photography In January 2017, the Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez made a special trip to Tampa Bay Downs to ride one horse in an ordinary maiden special weight. The trip proved to be worth his effort, for the horse was Always Dreaming, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) for Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher. When going over the field for Saturday’s [...]

Pasco, Gasparilla Stakes Highlight Saturday Card at Tampa Bay Downs

He Hate Me winning the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park (NYRA/Brittlan Wall/Adam Coglianese Photography) Although they’re not official prep races for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, a pair of stakes races on January 20th at Tampa Bay Downs could potentially launch a horse or two on their way to Churchill Downs. First up is the $125,000 Gasparilla Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for three-year-old fillies. The clear favorite could be Almond Roca, a promising daughter of Speightstown trained by [...]