Saturday's $250K Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs was won by CANDY MAN ROCKET, ridden by Junior Alvarado, trained by Bill Mott, and owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc.
Twelve horses made it to the starting gate with BOCA BOY breaking the fastest and securing the lead to the first turn. CANDY MAN ROCKET ran up to be third, just two lengths off the leader while on the 2-path. NOVA RAGS was another two lengths back in fourth, while the rest of the field began to string themselves out. The $1.50 favorite KNOWN AGENDA found himself near the back of the pack, some thirteen lengths from the lead.
Racing along the backstretch almost unchanged, BOCA BOY still led through fractions of 23.35, 46.94, and 1:10.80 unchallenged. With less than three furlongs to go, jockeys on the Mott pair say go, and they race to the front with CANDY MAN ROCKET getting the jump, clearing a 2 ½ length lead for the stretch drive. NOVA RAGS would make one final surge to take command but would fail to reach the winner and settle for second by a length, just a neck in front of a fast closing HIDDEN STASH who rallied with good energy from far back in eighth. The final time was 1:44.30 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track.
CANDY MAN ROCKET paid $8.20 to win, $5.00 to place, and $4.20 to show. He is the son of CANDY RIDE out of KENNY LANE by FORESTRY. He's now won two of three starts, passed the route test, and may have secured favoritism for next month's Tampa Bay Derby-G2, should he compete.
CANDY MAN ROCKET earns ten qualifying points for the KY DERBY trail. Stablemate NOVA RAGS earned four for finishing second.