Brent Sedo | Fri 09/02/2018 - 14:10 EST

Sam F. Davis Stakes Picks 2018

Sam F. Davis Stakes Picks 2018
There's only one Kentucky Derby qualifying race on the schedule for Saturday, but it should be a good one. The (G3) Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs goes 1 1/16 miles on the dirt and offers a purse of $250,000, while the field includes two runners currently in the Top 20 in Derby qualifying.

Sam F. Davis Stakes Preview and Odds

While the 10 points available to the winner of the Sam F. Davis won’t clinch a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate for any of the entries in the race, it would put at least one runner into the top five, and likely convince a couple other trainers to stay on the Derby trail.

It’s always a bit of a gamble to try switching surfaces with a race horse, but it paid off very well for the connections of Catholic Boy, the morning line favorite for the Sam F. Davis at odds of 8-5. Trained by Jonathan Thomas, Catholic Boy began his career racing on the turf, where he was a first out winner. He then grabbed a second win on the turf at Saratoga in the (G3) With Anticipation Stakes, a result that put him in the field for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf where he finished a respectable fourth, less than two lengths behind the winner.

Despite these positive results, when the calendar turned to 2018, his connections decided they just might have a Derby horse on their hands, and decided to take a shot at switching to dirt for the (G2) Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct. He not only won the race, but did so with ease, winning by more than four lengths over the highly regarded Avery Island who last weekend came back to win the (G3) Withers Stakes. The Remsen victory gave Catholic Boy 10 Derby points, and he currently sits in 11th spot on the Derby leaderboard. This is a very good horse on grass or dirt, and will be very tough to beat here. 

Hollywood Star Looking to Move Up the Board

Lining up to take him on is Hollywood Star (5-2) who sits just in the Top 20 on the Derby leaderboard in 19th place with four qualifying points. He hasn’t won in three tries since breaking his maiden first time out at Churchill Downs, but did gain two runner-up finishes in graded-stakes last summer before running sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He’s a horse that appears to want even more distance than the 1 1/16 miles – which could serve him well if he makes the Derby field – and expect him to be making a late charge to get into the money here. 

At ML odds of 3-1 and stepping up to stakes company for the first time, Vino Rosso has won both of his first two lifetime starts, the second of those at the allowance level on the Tampa Bay dirt track in late September. Here he’ll be facing much tougher competition, but the win over the track and surface at what was a fairly fast finishing time makes him a contender to at least get into the top three. 

Another one that has raced on both turf and dirt is Ontario-bred Flameaway (8-1) for trainer Mark Casse. In his case, he won twice in races that were originally scheduled to go on the turf but were switched to dirt due to heavy rain taking races off the turf. Despite the fact he last out won the Kitten’s Joy Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream Park, those previous results were enough to convince Casse and the owners to take a shot at the Derby points on offer. While the jury is still out on how he’ll handle a dry dirt surface, he’s worth including on exotic tickets at a decent price. 

The Sam F. Davis Stakes goes Saturday, February 9 from Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa Bay, Florida. It’s race #10 on the 12-race card, and has an expected post time of 4:52 PM Eastern. 

Entries w/ ML Odds

  1. Navy Armed Guard (15-1)
  2. Flameaway (8-1)
  3. Vino Rosso (3-1)
  4. Septimius Severus (15-1) 
  5. Hollywood Star (5-2) 
  6. Catholic Boy (8-5) 
  7. Vouch (8-1)

Sam F. Davis Stakes Picks

  • 1) #6 – Catholic Boy
  • 2) #5 – Hollywood Star
  • 3) #3 – Vino Rosso
  • 4) #2 – Flameaway 

You can bet the Sam F. Davis, all the other 2018 Kentucky Derby qualifying races, and even find an under-the-radar longshot future bet pick with an account at Bovada’s online racebook.   

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Category : Betting Picks

Tag : Bovada , Horse Racing

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