While we don’t have a strong field this year, there is reason to be excited for the $225,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes. Three of the last five winners of this race have gone on to win Grade 1 races later in their career (Bluegrass Cat and Any Given Saturday won the Haskell Invitational and General Quarters won the Bluegrass Stakes and Turf Classic). A fourth, Rule, was third in the Florida Derby and Donn Handicap. How is this not a graded stakes race? It certainly should be.
This years race has a field of 10, but it appears only 6 or 7 of them have a legitimate shot of winning the race. Let’s take a look at the contenders.
Adulare - Broke his maiden last out for trainer George Arnold and jockey Alex Solis. He barely got up for the win as the 80 cent on the dollar favorite at Calder. He has finished behind horses like Mucho Macho Man, Anthony’s Cross and Tapizar. He will be sitting right off the pace. A big effort is needed to win this thing, but that isn’t out of the question.
Washington’s Rules – Looked amazing rallying off the pace to break his maiden at Gulfstream Park last out under Kent Desormeaux. That race came after he finished second to Stay Thirsty first out at Saratoga. He fired a :59 3/5 B five furlong bullet on 2/5. Ken McPeek has the gelded son of Roman Ruler ready to run a big race. It looks like Desormeaux can place him wherever he likes so he won’t be a victim of pace. This guy is our top selection to win the Sam Davis.
Too Experience – Winner of 5 races from 6 starts, but among those wins are a maiden claimer and two starter allowances. He did win a $100k open stakes race in August at Calder though. I’m a big fan of jockey Daniel Centeno. Winning won’t be easy, but he isn’t without a shot here.
Watch Me Go – Won with authority by 8 lengths last out under Luis Garcia. This will be his first time going past 7 furlongs and that could be a problem. He has run races that make me think he can win this, but he throws in enough bad races to make me wonder too. He is an x factor.
Beamer - Trained by Carl Nafzger, trainer of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. Easily broke his maiden two back by 5 1/2 lengths over this track. After that he was third beaten 12 1/2 lengths by Soldat at Gulfstream Park in an allowance race. That was a strong race and he was only beat 2 1/2 lengths for second. He rates a big shot here with some improvement.
Monzon - The son of Thunder Gulch enters this race on a roll after winning the Count Fleet last out. He is rested up and ready to go. He is a perfect 2 for 2 on dirt and will love the distance. My only concern is jockey Edgar Prado. While a good rider, he has been ice cold lately.
Brethren - The half brother of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver is a perfect 2 for 2 with a maiden and allowance win. Jockey Ramon Dominguez is in from New York to ride. He beat a nice horse in Black N Beauty first out, and then Justin Phillip in his allowance race. I don’t like that he hasn’t been out since late November. I’m taking a shot against, but recognizing he is a good race horse.
To recap, we like Washington’s Rules as our top pick. He enters this race working very strongly after an easy maiden win. Here are a few exotic plays:
Who do you like here? Leave a comment and be heard!