A large group is set to compete in Saturday's $250K Grade 3 event. This is the eleventh race of the Tampa Bay card. Thirteen three-year-olds will run a mile and one sixteenth on dirt. The winner would add 10 points to their KY Derby scoreboard, plus maybe even earn favoritism for the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) - a chronological next step on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Bill Mott has a looker on his hands: CANDY MAN ROCKET. He comes off an impressive victory against a $50K maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park, where he was sent off at 7-1 and powered clear of his rivals. He earned an Equibase Figure of 98 from that effort, which sticks out like a sore thumb, relative to this field. He is by CANDY RIDE out of the FORESTRY mare KENNY LANE.
Bill Mott also enters NOVA RAGS, the son of UNION RAGS out of WISHFUL SPLENDOR by SMART. NOVA RAGS enters off a smart win over the Tampa Bay dirt track. Stretching out to two turns shouldn't be a problem, in fact his pedigree welcomes it. He had no answer in the stretch for the Nashua Stakes. Perhaps the step up was asking too much. He still ran well considering he went up against the G2-placed horse TEN FOR TEN, who is no slouch. Bill Mott has a considerable hand with this duo.
We cannot ignore historical significance and Todd Pletcher is no stranger when it comes to this race. He is the winningest trainer of the Sam F. Davis Stakes with six victories. This year his barn is represented by two horses, KNOWN AGENDA and MILLEAN.
KNOWN AGENDA will probably take more betting money than his stablemate. He finished a respectable third in the Remsen Stakes (G2), where the sloppy going and unchallenged speed fated the race. He still finished with good interest despite stepping up boldly in class. He was not embarrassed. He should improve off that effort and have a serious say in the stretch. Plus, he is to be piloted by Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, who has won this event four times, more than any other jockey in the race's history.
The second Pletcher trainee, MILLEAN, is by BLAME out of the TALE OF THE CAT mare NOT BE FORGOTTEN. He enters off a game maiden claiming a score where he fought off closers. He's facing a much tougher field now. He'll break from the four hole which is quite alright coupled with the early zip he's got.
Looking for a big long shot to root for? What about BOCA BOY, the gelded son of PROSPECTIVE out of BALIWINK by GIMMEAWINK. He breaks from the seven hole for trainer Cheryl Winebaugh, owner Kenneth E. Fishbein, to be piloted by Antonio A. Gallardo. He will carry four pounds heavier than every other horse in the field. Why look at him?
He's one of the more proven competitors in the bunch. He's already won a stakes race, he's hit the board in all four starts, and he's passed the two turn test. He has not run since September of last year but has worked steadily coming into this race. He registered a 5F bullet on Jan 29th. He's fresh, he'll be pricey, but ready to roll.
Here's the full field:
$250K Sam F. Davis Stakes-G3 at Tampa Bay Downs
February 6th, 2021
Post Time 5:02 PM
JOE MAN JOE
CANDY MAN ROCKET
TIZ TACT TOE