Sam F. Davis Stakes Odds and Picks: Handicapping Saturday’s Prep Race at Tampa Bay Downs

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Some New York invaders and Florida mainstays comprise key entrants in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race at Tampa Bay Downs.

Aqueduct stakes winners Champions Dream and Dubyuhnell face stubborn opposition from a cadre of Gulfstream Park and Tampa winners in Florida.

Post time is 5:18 p.m. ET and bettors can access the action via FanDuel TV.

2023 Sam F. Davis Stakes Field: Post Positions, Odds, Jockeys, Trainers

Here are morning-line odds for the 12-horse field.

PPHorseML OddsJockey Trainer
1Worthington20-1Pablo MoralesMichael Maker
2Prairie Hawk6-1Samy CamachoSaffie Joseph, Jr.
3Classic Legacy12-1Junior AlvaradoWilliam Mott
4Laver15-1Jose MoralesGeorge Arnold, II
5Groveland12-1Daniel CentenoEoin Harty
6Classic Car Wash20-1Emisael JaramilloMark Casse
7Dubyuhnell9-5Jose OrtizDanny Gargan
8Notah30-1Antonio GallardoJohn Terranova, II
9Champions Dream9-2Tyler GaffalioneMark Casse
10Dreaming of Kona12-1Scott SpiethAldana Spieth
11Litigate5-1Luis SaezTodd Pletcher
12Zydeceaux20-1Samuel MarinRamon Minguet

Sam F. Davis Stakes History and Road to Kentucky Derby Series

The 1 1/16-mile event awards 20 points and a probable invitation for the winner to the Run for the Roses on  May 6. 

It also provides a link to the Kentucky Derby with recent graduates. Classic Causeway (the 2022 winner) and Sole Valente (the 2020 Sam Davis champion) both ran in the Kentucky Derby and finished 11th.

Breaking Down the Sam F. Davis Stakes Field

Here’s a look at the field, from the rail out. Sam F. Davis Stakes odds will be official at post time, per pari-mutuel rules.

1. Worthington

A quality horse who is 4-for-4 in the money with two victories. All of his races have been on the turf. Connections switch to dirt to see if they have a logical Tampa Bay Derby and potential  Kentucky Derby hopeful. Bloodlines include Monarchos, a Kentucky Derby winner. Still, a lot to ask as he moves up, goes to dirt, and tries a new distance. But if he takes to the dirt, he could be a sleeper.

2. Prairie Hawk

Nice progression arc. Won at maiden special weights. Then he won at allowance at this track but only in a four-horse field. This is 12. Now it’s on to a significant stakes race. Has improved steadily each race. Will be asked to improve again.

3. Classic Legacy

Broke through and obtained maiden victory at Aqueduct in his third outing. Now comes a substantial leap into significant stakes company, a new track, and a stretch from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. Will accomplish quite a bit if he’s able to do all that and win. Coming from Aqueduct to Tampa Bay Downs is a plus.

4. Laver

A deceiving fifth in the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park. Ran hard the whole way and was about a length behind Dreaming of Kona, who he faces today. Dreaming of Kona finished second and was later placed first through disqualification.

Must stretch to two turns in this race.

5. Groveland

In the same class category as Prairie Hawk. Lost to him by a length in a four-horse field. Both are allowance horses stepping up into $250,000 company with far more competitors.

6. Classic Car Wash

Stamped himself with credentials by wiring an allowance field at Gulfstream Park in January. Had rail position, withstood pressure, and pulled away down the lane.

Gets the same jockey in Emisael Jaramillo.

Gulfstream Park runs at a higher level than Tampa, which usually bodes well for its horses when facing Tampa competition. May be overlooked because he hasn’t run at Tampa, but is worth a second look.

7. Dubyuhnell

Exhilarating win in the slop at Aqueduct in the $250,000 Remsen last December.

Showed champion’s heart by outlasting Arctic Arrogance in a duel from the final turn to the wire.

Captured a $250,000 race in just his third outing. Tries new surface and new distance of 1 1/16 miles, but from a pedigree perspective, is a major contender.

Forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms and then 50% chance of rain. Will be bet down considerably if the track comes up sloppy. Bettors will have to watch the weather throughout the day to determine that.

8. Notah

Connections are seeing what they have in a horse that won his second race at 6 1/2 furlongs at maiden special weights at Tampa. Faces opponents who have prevailed in stakes company and have covered the distance.

9. Champions Dream

Came out of a buried third to steal the Nashua Stakes at the wire at Aqueduct.

Took second in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa to Zydeceaux at seven furlongs. Ran out of real estate at that distance. Race over this track helps. Should benefit from switch to two turns. Contender.

10. Dreaming of Kona

Excellent performance in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream. Gutted out a close second at 19-1 and then was put up to first place after the winner Legacy Isle was penalized for drifting out in the stretch.

If he can get position early, might make some noise.

11. Litigate

Won in maiden company, then finished second to Cyclone Mischief, who then ran out of the money as the 6-5 favorite in the Holy Bull.

Only his third race, could improve enough to hit the fringes of the exotics.

12. Zydeceaux

Nice horse, beat contending Champion’s Dream at 9-1 in the Pasco Stakes. Hindered by the outside post and the stretch from seven furlongs, which will be even more difficult if he can’t get over to the lead.

It’s a question of whether post position and the distance are his undoings.

Sam F. Davis Stakes Pace/Betting Overview & Pick Recommendation

Positioning will be significant. Most horses are reacting to the largest field they have ever run against.

Classic Legacy comes out of shorter race and Classic Car Wash won from the front in his last.

New York horses might be bet heavily on their expected class advantage. And indeed they should run well. But this big field could play havoc with position and placement.

Mid-price and longshot horses should gain places in the exotics, at least. 

A combo of your favorite New York and Florida horses might be a good ticket.

Good luck.

Also read: Withers odds and pick recommendations

TVG

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About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Writer
Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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