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January 26, 2020


by Mike Henry
The four stakes on the Feb. 8 Festival Preview Day card offer combined purse money of $750,000.

The four stakes races on the Feb. 8 Festival Preview Day card at Tampa Bay Downs have attracted a total of 137 nominations, Stakes Coordinator Gerry Stanislawzyk announced today.

Heading the card is the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep race offering qualifying points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale. The 40th edition of the Sam F. Davis is for 3-year-olds at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track.

In addition to being a points race for the May 2 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs, the Sam F. Davis is a prep race for the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 7, which is Festival Day at Tampa Bay Downs.

Among the top nominees to the Sam F. Davis is Independence Hall, who turned in a 5-furlong workout in a minute flat today at Tampa Bay Downs – the fastest of 34 workouts recorded at the distance – under the watchful eyes of trainer Michael Trombetta. The colt is 3-for-3, including victories in the Grade III Nashua Stakes on Nov. 3 at Aqueduct and the Jerome Stakes on Jan. 1 at Aqueduct.

After the workout, Trombetta said that Independence Hall, who is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Kathleen and Robert Verratti, will likely make his next start in the Sam F. Davis or the Grade II, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln on Feb. 15 at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Also nominated to the Sam F. Davis is recent Pasco Stakes winner Liam’s Lucky Charm, bred and owned by Stonehedge and trained by Ralph Nicks; Scabbard, a multiple graded stakes-placed colt who finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, owned by Joseph W. Sutton and trained by Eddie Kenneally; stakes winner Mischievous Alex, owned by Cash is King, LLC and LC Racing, LLC and trained by John Servis; Ajaaweed, runner-up in the Grade II Remsen on Dec. 7 at Aqueduct, owned by Shadwell Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin; and Premier Star, a promising if lightly raced colt owned by Sonata Stable and trained by Jorge Navarro.

Here are the links to the Sam F. Davis Stakes nominees and their past performances:

A pair of graded turf stakes worth $175,000 apiece will be held on the Festival Preview Day card: the 34th running of the Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes for 4-year-olds-and-upward and the 21st edition of the Grade III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward. Both are contested at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth.

The Tampa Bay Stakes closed with 33 nominations, headed by Stuart S. Janney, III and Phipps Stable’s 7-year-old horse Inspector Lynley. He won the Tampa Bay Stakes in 2019 and 2017, and his trainer, Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III, won the 2016 Tampa Bay Stakes with Reload.

McGaughey also nominated Janney’s 6-year-old gelding, Sentry. Other top nominees include trainer Michael Stidham’s 7-year-old multiple graded-stakes winner Synchrony and 6-year-old gelding Caribou Club, a Florida-bred from the barn of trainer Tom Proctor.

Here are the links to the Tampa Bay Stakes nominees and their past performances:

The Lambholm South Endeavour closed with 37 nominations. Included in that group are Gary Barber’s 5-year-old mare Got Stormy, a multiple-Grade I winner who captured the Grade I Matriarch in her most recent start on Dec. 1 at Del Mar. Got Stormy, who has earned $1,430,578 in her career, is trained by Mark Casse.

Also nominated are trainer Tom Albertrani’s 5-year-old mare Andina Del Sur, who won the Grade III Florida Oaks here in 2018, and trainer Michael Stidham’s Irish import Flower Party, a 5-year-old who won a Group III event in Italy.

Here are the links to the Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes nominees and their past performances:

The remaining Festival Preview Day stakes is the 40th edition of the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-40-yards on the main track. The Suncoast awards qualifying points to the first four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale for the Kentucky Oaks on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

A total of 32 fillies have been nominated. The group includes the winners of two prep stakes locally: Sandpiper Stakes winner Lucrezia, from the barn of Arnaud Delacour, and Two Sixty, trained by Casse.

Trainer Ken McPeek nominated Motu, who finished second in the Grade II Golden Rod Stakes on Nov. 30 at Churchill Downs. Stakes winner Tonalist’s Shape, 3-for-3 as a 2-year-old in south Florida, has been nominated by trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Here are the links to the Suncoast Stakes nominees and their past performances:

Around the oval. Stormy D won today’s featured eighth race on the turf, the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week, under a well-timed ride by Pablo Morales. The 4-year-old filly is owned and trained by John Rigattieri. Morales also won the fifth race on the turf aboard Honest to Goodness, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Carlos H. Silva and Jay Collier and trained by Silva.

Jose Batista also rode two winners, giving him five over the last two days. He won the second race on Enduros Tigress, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Carole Star Stables and trained by Jose H. Delgado. Batista added the ninth race on the turf on first-time starter Jorns, a 5-year-old gelding bred and owned by Whitetail and trained by Michael H. Bell.

Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs continues Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:25 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.