Independence Hall's next Kentucky Derby 2020 prep set

January 27, 2020 03:14pm
Independence Hall's next Kentucky Derby 2020 prep set
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Independence Hall, William Hill U.S.' current second betting choice to win the 2020 Kentucky Derby, will stay home for his next race on the way to Churchill Downs.

Aron Wellman, president and founder of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, said Monday that the Constitution colt is officially pointing toward the Feb. Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. The 1 1/16-mile race awards Derby qualifying points on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the Top 4 finishers.

Connections, which also include Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Kathleen and Robert Verratti, had also considered shipping for Fair Grounds' Feb. 15 Risen Star Stakes (G2). It distributes points on a 50-20-10-5 scale but runs one week later goes a longer 1 1/8-mile trip.

Wellman touted the "flexibility" of opting for the Sam F. Davis given Independence Hall could then go on to run once or twice more before the first Saturday in May.

“Since the horse has been down at Tampa, he seems to be really thriving, and the timing of the Sam Davis works out well," Wellman said. "The luxury to be able to run out of his own stall is something we weighed heavily in determining this step on what we hope are several others toward the major target.”

Independence Hall is 3-for-3, with his debut performance last fall at Parx Racing what led Eclipse and Twin Creeks to buy shares from the Verrattis. Michael Trombetta trains the colt, who proceeded to break out when winning Aqueduct's Nashua Stakes (G3) by 12 1/4 lengths, then returned Jan. 1 to take the Jerome Stakes by four lengths going the same mile trip.

The Sam F. Davis will continue to stretch out Independence Hall. He worked five furlongs Sunday in a bullet 1:00 over the track.

“Hopefully he can execute on Sam Davis day," Wellman said. "Then we can all huddle up again. At the end of the day, it’s ultimately up to the horse and Michael to determine what’s next. It might be two races. It might be one.

"We’re not taking anything for granted and trying to do what’s best for the horse in the present while keeping an eye on the future as well.”

William Hill U.S. lists Independence Hall at 10-1, two points off favored Tiz the Law, a Grade 1 winner who will headline Saturday's Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Independence Hall was prominent on the Sam F. Davis' nominations list released Sunday. The local Pasco Stakes winner Liam's Lucky Charm, multiple stakes-placed Scabbard and Ajaaweed, runner-up in the Remsen Stakes (G2), are among those who could oppose him.


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