Seven Derby Hopefuls Seek Points in Sam F. Davis at Tampa

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

Led by Remsen (G2) winner Catholic Boy, a field of seven will line up at Tampa Bay Downs in the lone race this weekend with Derby points on the line in the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3).

The Davis offers up 10-4-2-1 points as a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race and is the local prep for the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) which will be contested on March 10 and offers 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers.

Catholic Boy was installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite, making his first start since his Remsen win on Dec. 3, which was his fourth career start and first on dirt. He is trained by former Todd Pletcher assistant Jonathan Thomas.

The colt is listed at 20-1 in early Kentucky Derby wagering at US Racing.

The Dale Romans trained Hollywood Star is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. The colt makes his first start since running sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last fall at Del Mar.

Vino Rosso (3-1) faces winners for the first time and is saddled by Todd Pletcher and Flameway (8-1) comes off turf where he won the Kitten’s Joy in his last start.

Completing the field are maiden Navy Armed Guard (15-1), first level allowance runner up Septimius Severus (15-1) and Remsen third place finisher Vouch (8-1).

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my strongest plays from Aqueduct and Tampa Bay Downs and my analysis of the San Vicente (G2) from Santa Anita.

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

Tampa Bay Downs Race 10 The Sam F. Davis G3 (Post time 4:52 ET)

#7 Vouch   8-1

#6 Catholic Boy   8-5

#5 Hollywood Star   5-2

#3 Vino Russo   3-1

Analysis: Vouch needs to make up 6 1/2 lengths to turn the tables on the favorite in here but his third in the Remsen (G2) was a good effort going nine furlongs in just his second career start. He trounced maidens in his debut at Laurel Park two back by 8 1/4 lengths at 6-5. The runner up in the Remsen Avery Island has flattered the race, winning the Withers (G3) last week. Our top pick is in good hands with the Delacour barn. He is by Yes It’s True out of a Tiznow mare that has dropped one other foal to race, router stakes winner Calamity Kate ($621,688). He looks like the value of this race if he goes off near his 8-1 morning line.

Catholic Boy was only beaten 1 1/4 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) and he made the switch to the main track, taking the Remsen in his first start on dirt. The colt has been working sharply since his last effort and is the legit favorite in here. Thomas, a former top assistant to Todd Pletcher won at a 30% clip overall in 2017 but is 0 for 6 so far at this meeting. He will be tough here but is going to be a short price.

Hollywood Star showed some ability last year with runner up finished in the Saratoga Special (G3) and the Iroquois (G3) which was his first start around two turns. He was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) while racing down along a dead inside much of the trip. The $550,000 Keeneland purchase is bred to be a good one, out of the stakes winner Hollywood Story ($1.1 million) who has dropped three other winners, top earner multiple stakes placed Hoorayforhollywood ($212,819).


WIN: #7 to win at 5-1 or better.

EX:  6,7 / 3,5,6,7

TRI: 6,7 / 3,5,6,7 / 2,3,5,6,7

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