“The perfect trip. Once I put him to the clear on the backstretch, he settled into a nice rhythm. He’s very talented, but very green yet.” – John Velasquez, jockey of Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Destin.
The Road to Kentucky Week 5 contest track last Saturday was Tampa Bay Downs, featuring the Sam F. Davis Stakes. The Sam F. Davis is the prep race for the Tampa Bay Derby, to be held on March 12. Although the Sam F. Davis isn’t a prominent race for previous Kentucky Derby champions, the Tampa Bay Derby has been used by several Kentucky Derby starters in the past, including Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense back in 2007.
The maximum score this week was 3,282 points. The top point horse of the week was a first time starter in Race 4 named Dudette. She was well off my radar screen, but she put in a strong rally from last to get up for the place at 107-1! That effort was worth 600 points with the cap restrictions, but still a great contest horse if you found any positive angle to use her. The double point bonus race was won by Destin, a colt by Giants Causeway trained by Todd Pletcher. This was the sixth Sam F. Davis win for Pletcher in the last 11 years. Destin was the 4-1 fourth choice in the six horse field and was worth 336 contest points. It sounds like Destin will move on to the Tampa Bay Derby from here.
I’m expecting the winning score this week to be in the 1,600-1,900 range. I was slightly below that range with a score of 208. My contest sheets have been about as effective as Mike Yeo’s lineup cards were the past six weeks. Fortunately for me, there’s no owner or general manager looking over my shoulder ready to torch me. Although it certainly doesn’t appear that I will get in contention for the overall prizes, one big score in a given week can still make the contest a success.
Next week the contest track is Fair Grounds and the bonus race is the Risen Star Stakes. There is also a Horse Player World Series (HPWS) qualifier for $100 entry fee. Come out next Saturday and win a trip to Las Vegas. I can’t think of a good reason not to try it! Hope to see you at Canterbury Park!