Grade I winner Knicks Go, along with stakes winners Five Star General and Well Defined, headline deep field; Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes, Grade III Lambholm South Endeavour and Suncoast all appear wide open; Antonio Gallardo rides three winners, again.
Grade I winner Knicks Go heads a field of 10 3-year-olds entered in Saturday’s 39th edition of the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, the centerpiece of Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Sam F. Davis, contested at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track, is the 11th race on a 12-race card scheduled to begin at 12:12 p.m. The race is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, awarding 10-4-2-1 points to the first four finishers toward qualifying for a berth in the Run for the Roses on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
Three other stakes are scheduled Saturday, with two on the turf: the 33rd running of the Grade III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward, scheduled as the eighth race, and the 20th edition of the Grade III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour, for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward, which is the 10th race.
Both turf events are a mile-and-a-sixteenth in distance.
The fourth stakes on the Festival Preview Day 39 card is the 39th running of the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-40-yards on the main track. The Suncoast is the ninth race.
By virtue of his victory in the Grade I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity on Oct. 6 at Keeneland, Knicks Go will carry top weight of 124 pounds in the Sam F. Davis. Owned by KRA Stud Farm and trained by Ben Colebrook, Knicks Go will be ridden by Albin Jimenez and break from the No. 3 post position.
The Maryland-bred Knicks Go finished second in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.
Two other stakes winners are entered in the Sam F. Davis. Five Star General, owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing and trained by Arnaud Delacour, won the Central Park Stakes on Nov. 22 at Aqueduct. He will be ridden by Jose Ortiz and break from the No. 7 post while carrying 118 pounds.
The other stakes winner in the field is Well Defined, a Florida-bred gelding who won the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Florida Sire In Reality Stakes on Sept. 29 at Gulfstream. He will break from the No. 9 post under Pablo Morales and carry 122 pounds. Well Defined is bred and owned by Stonehedge and trained by Kathleen O’Connell.
The other Sam F. Davis entrants, in post position order, followed by trainer, jockey and weight:
- Counter Offer, Ian Wilkes, Antonio Gallardo, 118; 2. Going for Gold, Robert B. Hess, Jr., Jose A. Bracho, 118; 4. Cave Run, Eoin Harty, Jesus Castanon, 118; 5. Moonster, Dale Romans, Samy Camacho, 118; 6. Kentucky Wildcat, Tom Albertrani, Joe Bravo, 118; 8. So Alive, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 118; 10. Still Dreaming, H. Graham Motion, Jorge A. Vargas, Jr., 118.
Isolating a standout in the nine-horse Tampa Bay Stakes is difficult, but the career accomplishments of 8-year-old horse Heart to Heart could land him the favorite’s role by post time. His 15 career victories include Grade I scores last year in the Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes at Keeneland and the Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes.
Owned by Terry Hamilton and trained by Brian Lynch, Heart to Heart has earned more than $2-million. He will break from the No. 7 post under Julien Leparoux while carrying 121 pounds.
The top weight at 124 pounds is Qurbaan, who won the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap last summer at Saratoga. Owned by Shadwell Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the 6-year-old Qurbaan will break from the No. 4 post under Joe Bravo.
Another likely contender is 6-year-old Inspector Lynley, who displayed a liking for the Oldsmar turf course in winning the Tampa Bay Stakes two years ago. Owned by Stuart S. Janney, III and Phipps Stable and trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III, Inspector Lynley will break from the No. 2 post under Jose Ortiz. Inspector Lynley carries 117 pounds.
The other Tampa Bay Stakes entrants, in post position order, followed by trainer, jockey and weight:
- Cheyenne’s Colonel, Marcy Brooks, Gary Wales, 117; 3. Divisidero, Kelly Rubley, Jevian Toledo, 119; 5. Irish Strait, H. Graham Motion, Jorge A. Vargas, Jr., 117; 6. Admiralty Pier, Barbara Minshall, Declan Cannon, 117; 8. My Bariley, Anthony Granitz, Samy Camacho, 119.
The Lambholm South Endeavour has attracted a field of 11, with Irish-bred 6-year-old mare Hawksmoor among the top contenders despite a frustrating nine-race losing streak that includes five seconds. Her last victory came in the Grade II New York Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets at Belmont in June of 2017.
Owned by Lael Stables and trained by Delacour, Hawksmoor will break from the No. 6 post under Javier Castellano while carrying 116 pounds.
Also adding international flavor is French-bred 5-year-old Rymska, owned by Madaket Stables, Tom Coleman, Team Hanley and Norton Herrick and trained by Chad Brown. Lightly raced, she won the Grade III Athenia Stakes on Oct. 21 at Belmont. Rymska will carry 118 pounds and Jose Ortiz while breaking from the No. 8 post.
The 7-year-old Irish-bred Goodyearforroses has competed against top-level competition, primarily in California, but has not raced since the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar. The Grade II-winning, Grade I-placed mare is trained by Brian House. She will break from the No. 9 post under Albin Jimenez and carry 116 pounds.
The remainder of the Lambholm South Endeavour entrants in post position order, followed by trainer, jockey and weight:
- She’s Pretty Lucky, Eddie Kenneally, Feargal Lynch, 116; 2. Get Explicit, Barbara Minshall, Rafael Manuel Hernandez, 116; 3. Bonnie Arch, Ian Wilkes, Antonio Gallardo, 116; 4. Monte Crista, Michael Trombetta, Daniel Centeno, 116; 5. Conquest Hardcandy, Antonio Sano, unnamed, 116; 7. Viva Vegas, Ignacio Correas, IV, Jesus Castanon, 116; 10. Streetwithnoname, Eoin Harty, Declain Cannon, 116; 11. Bombshell, Arnaud Delacour, Jorge A. Vargas, Jr., 118.
The Suncoast is a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” points race, awarding 104-2-1 points to the top four finishers toward qualifying for the Kentucky Oaks on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Albert Frassetto’s filly Her Royal Highness, trained by H. Graham Motion, brings a 2-for-3 mark into the race. She will break from the No. 1 post under Jorge A. Vargas, Jr., while carrying 120 pounds.
Co-highweighted is No. 2 Winning Envelope, owned by Lothenbach Stables and trained by Chris Block. She is also 2-for-3, her victories sandwiching a fifth-place finish last summer in the Arlington-Washington Lassie. Carlos Marquez, Jr., is the jockey.
The remainder of the Suncoast field in post position order, followed by trainer and jockey (each of these carries 118 pounds):
3. Tapit’s Princess, Happy Alter, Albin Jimenez; 4. Lady Kate, Eddie Kenneally, Jose Ortiz; 5. Sacred Heart, Tim Hamm, Daniel Centeno; 6. Here Comes Jackie, Mike Dini, Willie Martinez; 7. Point of Honor, George Weaver, Javier Castellano; 8. Twixt and Shout, Eoin Harty, Jesus Castanon; 9. Sweet Diane, Michael Stidham, Antonio Gallardo.
Around the oval. Antonio Gallardo rode three winners for the third time in the last four racing days. He captured the second race on Super Twenty Five, a 3-year-old filly owned by Lucio Tucci and trained by Joan Scott. He added the sixth on the turf on Zarina, a 3-year-old filly bred and owned by Robert C. Roffey, Jr., and trained by Chad Stewart.
Gallardo completed his three-bagger by winning the ninth race on Drinks On Maggie, a 4-year-old filly owned by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Nick J. Caruso.
Leading trainer Gerald Bennett sent out two winners today, giving him four over the last two racing days and six over the last four racing days. Bennett won the first rce with LadY Gregoria, a 6-year-old mare owned by Tod Berken and ridden by Ademar Santos. Bennett added the seventh via disqualification with Savage Music, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Winning Stables and Ray Rech and ridden by Samy Camacho.
Camacho also won the fourth race on Nephew Howard D, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Juan Arriagada and Steve Hassig and trained by Arriagada.
Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:43 p.m. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.