First Look: Two Derby preps lead 10 top stakes this weekend

First Look: Two Derby preps lead 10 top stakes this weekend
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

This weekend brings two more stops on the roads to the 2021 Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks.

The Derby preps are the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct and the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs; the Oaks preps are the Las Virgenes (G3) and the Suncoast at Tampa Bay Downs. Each offers 10-4-2-1 points on toward the Churchill Downs goal.

[RELATED: See the ever-changing odds for 240 Kentucky Derby candidates]

Here's an early look at the fields for those races and this weekend's other graded stakes.

Kentucky Derby preps — Saturday

Withers (G3), Aqueduct, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds

The top two finishers in the Jerome are expected to meet again here. Capo Kane won that race by 6 1/4 lengths over Eagle Orb. Royal Number came under consideration for this spot after winning around two turns in a 1 1/16-mile Laurel Park allowance race on Jan. 9. Both Chad Brown's Risk Taking and Todd Pletcher's Overtook broke their maiden on third try in December.

2021 Withers (G3)

Sam F. Davis (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds

Two colts are expected to return here after in-the-money finishes in their first graded stakes: Smiley Sobotka, second in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), and Known Agenda, third place in the Remsen (G2). Nova Rags bounced back from a fourth-place finish in the Nashua (G3) to win the Pasco last out.

2021 Sam F. Davis (G3)

Kentuky Oaks preps — Saturday

Las Virgenes (G3), Santa Anita, 1 mile, 3-year-old fillies

This is shaping up as a rematch for the top three finishers in the Jan. 3 Santa Ynez (G2). Bob Baffert is expected to bring the win and place fillies in Kalypso and Frosteria, while Brilliant Cut is expected back for Doug O'Neill. In December, Frosteria was beaten three lengths in a Los Alamitos maiden race by Moonlight d'Oro, also expected here.

2021 Las Virgenes (G2)

Suncoast, Tampa Bay Downs, 1 mile, 40 yards, 3-year-old fillies

After losing two at Woodbine in October, Curlin's Catch relocated for trainer Mark Casse and broke her maiden at Gulfstream on Jan. 3. Special Princess won the Gasparilla last out and is expected to face third-place finisher Feeling Mischief again here.

2021 Suncoast Stakes (LS)

Other graded states — Saturday

San Marcos (G2), Santa Anita, 1 1/4 miles (turf), 4-year-olds and up

Masteroffoxhounds would make his third U.S. start here after an allowance race win at Del Mar in November and a seventh-place finish earlier that month. Before that, he made the board in four of six races in Ireland. And this could be a rematch for Border Town and Salvator Mundi, who finished first and third, respectively, in a Jan. 8 allowance race here.

2021 San Marcos (G2)

Thunder Road (G3), Santa Anita, 1 mile (turf), 4-year-olds and up

Hembree has been on the board in six of his last seven starts, including wins in his last two races. The most recent win was in the Joe Hernandez (G2) here on New Year's Day, where Blitzkrieg came in third. Bob and Jackie has a record of 4-2-1 from nine starts but has yet to win a graded stakes.

2021 Thunder Road Stakes (G3)

Suwanee River (G3), Gulfstream, 1 1/8 miles (turf), fillies and mares 4 years old and up

La Signare's fifth-place finish in the John C Mabee (G2) followed a third-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Distaff Turf Mile Stakes. Great Island has finished in the money in each of her four lifetime starts. Logic N Reason also is possible for the Endeavour (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday.

2021 Suwannee River (G3)

Tampa Bay Stakes (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 miles (turf), 4-year-olds and up

This would be the second start after a layoff since the Kentucky Derby for Sole Volante, who finished sixth in the Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream in December. Admission Office had a six-month layoff before his seventh-place finish in the Tropical Turf on Jan. 9. Chad Brown is expected to bring two: Greyes Creek, winner of three straight, and Delaware, 10th in the Fort Lauderdale (G2) last out.

2021 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3)

Endeavour (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 miles (turf), fillies and mares 4 years old and up

Christophe Clement is expect to start either Feel Glorious, winner of the Forever Together stakes at Aqueduct last out in November, or Logic N Reason, who has won two of her last three. Counterparty Risk would make only her fourth start, with a second-place finish in Dec. 26 Lady of Shamrock at Santa Anita following her graduation at Aqueduct in November.

2021 Endeavour (G3)

San Vicente (G2), 7 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Bob Baffert is expected with two coming off maiden wins: Concert Tour, who won by 3 1/2 lengths over Mr. Impossible here earlier this month, and Freedom Fighter, who graduated at Del Mar in August but has not raced since. Petruchio broke his maiden on fourth try in October and then finished third in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) last out.

2021 San Vicente (G2)

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