Expert picks: Sam F. Davis Stakes predictions, longshots

February 08, 2019 03:03pm
Tampa Bay Downs hosts the first of its two Kentucky Derby 2019 preps on Saturday, with the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) marking the season debut of Grade 1 winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Knicks Go.

Ahead of post time for the 1 1/16-mile feature in Florida -- that's 5:25 p.m. ET -- we polled Horse Racing Nation contributors for their selections. Please note, picks were submitted before the Saturday morning scratch of Cave Run from the field.

Jarrod Horak, Pick 6 Blog

Winner: #6 Kentucky Wildcat

On the board: #8 So Alive, #10 Still Dreaming

Longshot I like: #4 Cave Run

Analysis: Kentucky Wildcat graduated in a flat mile affair when last seen at Aqueduct on Dec. 1 in a race that produced three next-out winners. He owns a nice route pedigree and has the right running style for this (fast pace expected). #8 So Alive (5-1) stretched out to two turns and caught a fast track for the first time, and he looked good winning that local optional claiming event Jan. 6 (blinkers on). #10 Still Dreaming (15-1) stretched out to a mile and was a sharp winner at Laurel Park Jan. 1 (clear runner-up next-out winner). #4 Cave Run (6-1) is bred to route and gets pace to chase. #1 Counter Offer (12-1) was a clear 2nd behind So Alive last time. #3 Knicks Go (5-2) meets plenty of other speed and is worth trying to beat on the win end. The Plays: #6 to win, Exacta 6/8-10, Exacta 8-10/6, Trifecta 6-8/1-3-4-6-8-10/1-4-6-8

Jonathan Lintner, Derby Daily

Winner: #3 Knicks Go

On the board: #6 Kentucky Wildcat, #4 Cave Run

Longshot I like: #10 Still Dreaming

Analysis: I don't often pick favorites, but I believe the price on Knicks Go will be right Saturday given how many public handicappers are siding against him. You can find a good horse anywhere, and I believe he's a classier runner than many give him credit. For me, this is as simple as playing win/place assuming the 5-2 morning line holds. Cave Run is surely better than his last effort, and Still Dreaming is promising as a hard-trying runner.

Casey Laughter, The Tattooed Tracksider

Winner: #3 Knicks Go

On the board: #6 Kentucky Wildcat, #8 So Alive

Longshot I like: #10 Still Dreaming

Analysis: While Knicks Go seemed to bounce in his first start after the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, I think he is still the one to beat here. He has the highest speed figure of any in this field. However, this field is very well put together and is going to be an interesting race. Graham Motion is sending a 1/2 sibling to Nyquist here to make his third start. I think he could do well here.

Reinier Macatangay, Setting the Pace

Winner: #6 Kentucky Wildcat

On the board: #3 Knicks Go, #4 Cave Run

Longshot I like: #10 Still Dreaming

Analysis: TimeformUS Pace Projector thinks the pace will go fast, harming Knicks Go's chances. Kentucky Wildcat will settle around midpack, away from the heat and in front of the closers. If Kentucky Wildcat runs his usual TimeformUS Speed Figure around 105 to 115, he can win against this questionable field.


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