Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs Offers Up Derby Points

Sam F. Davis

A field of 12 line up in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. (Photo credit:

A full field will line up in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, the first of two Road to the Kentucky Derby points races at the meeting.

The Dale Romans trained Smile Sobotka is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The colt makes his three-year-old debut and first start since a runner up finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs last November.

Daniel Centeno has the call on the son of Brody’s Cause who will break from the five post.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has won the Sam F. Davis a record six times and sends out a pair of contenders in Known Agenda (6-1) and Millean (12-1).

Hall of Fame trainee Bill Mott will also saddle a pair of runners. Candy Man Rocket (10-1) is coming off his maiden win and Nova Rags (4-1) won the Pasco at seven furlongs in his last start.

The race offers up 10-4-2-1 points as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby points series. The race also serves as a prep for the marquee event of the meet, the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2). That race is worth 50-20-10-5 points toward entry into the Kentucky Derby.

Known Agenda Runs Third in Remsen

My Best Plays Report for Saturday will include my strongest plays from Aqueduct and Tampa Bay Downs including the $250,000 Withers (G3), which is also a Derby points race.

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Let’s head out to Tampa Bay Downs for Saturday’s featured race of the day:

Free PIcks

Tampa Bay Downs Race 11 The Sam F. Davis G3 Post time 5:02 ET

9 Candy Man Rocket   10-1

3 Known Agenda   6-1

8 Nova Rags   4-1

5 Smiley Sobotka   3-1

Candy Man Rocket

This colt is one of two sent out by the Mott barn and the colt faces winners and two turns for the first time. After getting outrun in the slop in his debut at Churchill Downs he came back with a sharp maiden score second out at Gulfstream Park. He tracked the early pace and drew away in the stretch to win by 9 ¼ lengths in good time as the betting favorite. This colt should only get better with the added ground. He was a $250,000 Ocala purchase, by Candy Ride out of a Forestry mare that has dropped one other winner, three-time sprint winner Simsbury ($77,290) who never went long. Junior ride the other Mott trainee in his debut and lands on this guy and the 10-1 morning line looks more than fair.

Known Agenda

The colt is coming off a third-place finish in the Remsen (G3) in the slop at nine furlongs. He was bumped coming out of the gate, saved ground down along a deep rail, angled out wide and finished evenly, beaten nine lengths. He broke his maiden at today’s distance two back at the Big A in his second career start. This colt has a nice pedigree, by Curlin out of the stakes winner Byrama ($659,097) who was best going long on turf. Pletcher has won this race a record six times and this guy looks capable of moving forward off his last effort.

Nova Rags

The Mott trainee tracked the early pace and took over the lead heading for home, edging clear to win the Pasco at seven furlongs over the main track here last out. It was his first start since running fourth in the Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct going a mile last November in his first start against winners. The colt has enough pedigree to go nine furlongs. He is by Union Rags out of the stakes winner Wishful Splendor ($271,125). He won last out as if he still has some room to move forward.


WIN: Candy Man Rocket to win at 6-1 or better.

EXACTA: 9 / 3,5,7,8 and 3,9 / 3,8,9


NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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