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Tampa Bay Downs: Sam F. Davis Highlights Festival Preview Day Card

Festival Preview Day always provides a great day of racing, and the 2013 edition will not disappoint, attracting several top horses including Dynamic Sky and Speak Logistics in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis, Dealbata and Pianist in the Grade 3 Endeavour, and Tapicat in the Florida Oaks.

The Sam F. Davis is the feature race on the card with ten Derby hopefuls taking the post, led by the Mark Casse trained, Dynamic Sky. After a terrible trip in the BC Juvenile, Dynamic Sky returned from a ten week layoff with a relatively easy victory in the Pasco, despite having some traffic issues at the top of the stretch. He is part of an entry with Northern Lion, an impressive MSW winner at Gulfstream a couple of days before Christmas. While Dynamic Sky is the most talked about horse in the field, Northern Lion is a horse that can’t be ignored. Purchased for $625,000, John Oxley and Mark Casse obviously have high hopes for this colt, and his first trip around two turns proved to be fruitful as he won by over five lengths and Patrick Husbands never even went to the whip.

Other contenders in the field include Speak Logistics, My Name is Michael, and the Nick Zito trained, Midnite Poppa. Speak Logistics is the most accomplished of the group besides Dynamic Sky with a stakes win under his belt and a mid-pack showing in the BC Juvenile. He has been off since the Juvenile, but has been working well at Calder since with a fantastic 1:12:1 6 furlong workout on January 26th. My Name is Michael makes his first start for the Bill Mott barn after running at Woodbine throughout the late Summer/Fall. While he was 2nd in the $150,000 Display on December 1st, the big question is how he will take to the conventional dirt since all of his races have been over the Synthetic surface up North. Midnite Poppa is the longshot that could be in position to make a big statement. Nick Zito is always dangerous with 3 year olds this time of year, and Midnite Poppa is coming out of a real nice maiden win here at Tampa back in late December where he beat two good looking horses in Xavi and Country Lyric, despite it being his first start in three months. Jose Lezcano comes in from Gulfstream for the ride and he could be sitting the perfect trip with the outside post and a lot of early speed on board from the likes of Divine Ambition, Speak Logistics, Northern Lion, and Balino.

The Grade 3 Endeavour looks to be wide open with a couple Chad Brown trainees, Dealbata and Pianist, headlining the field, but there are several other contenders as well. Pianist returns from a ten week freshening, and the last time she took an extended vacation she returned with an incredibly impressive maiden score going over the turf at Belmont. Her two turn races at tracks outside of Elmont have not been as impressive though, so she will have to move forward today to beat this field. Dealbata returns from a four month layoff and will likely enjoy the extra 1/16th of a mile as she fell just short rallying in her last two mile races. Jose Lezcano takes the mount for the injured Ramon Dominguez, and is sure to have this 5 year old mare rolling down the lane late. The Endeavour also marks the North American debut of Old Tune, a Todd Pletcher trainee who has done all of her racing against Grade 1 company in Brazil. She has been given an ample amount of time to adjust from the trip and has been working out consistently throughout January. Other key contenders include Exclusive Love, coming off a career best score at Gulfstream, and $1.1 million career earner, Hooh Why, who has proven successful over this turf course in the past.

The 30th running of the Florida Oaks, the 7th race on the card, is a 12 horse field that contains several promising 3 year old fillies. Bill Mott’s, Tapicat, heads the field coming off two eye catching victories at Gulfstream, including a maiden victory over Tokyo Time, who looked great beating a Gulfstream MSW field last weekend. This three year old daughter of Tapit is likely to go to the lead and is going back to the 1 1/16th distance of her maiden score. Chad Brown’s, Wave Theory, and Dominick Schettino’s, Mariel N Kathy, both exit the Ginger Brew, and look to be big threats in this field. Mariel N Kathy adds blinkers for the first time today, which could prove to be what this filly needs to move forward. Another horse to pay attention to is Graham Motion’s, Rusty Slipper, who has won both of her current starts with ease, despite experiencing some bumping at the top of the stretch in her last. She has not faced a field with even close to the talent of this one, so this should give Graham a good feel for what kind of young filly he has. Horses trained by Michael Maker, Thomas Albertrani, and Mark Casse, who has two runners in this field, round out what should be a very competitive race.

The forecast calls for picture perfect weather for the 12 race card that includes two Grade 3 races and another intriguing stakes race in the Florida Oaks. At the end of the day we should have a clearer picture of which three year olds are ready to be considered contenders for the key 3 year old races this Spring and Summer.

 

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