KDFW entry Gettysburg faces six in Sam F. Davis
Two Triple Crown nominated colts from the Todd Pletcher barn, Gettysburg and Destin, will seek to enhance their classic credentials Saturday in the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Although not a point-scoring race as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the 1 1/16-mile Davis is the major prep for next month's $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2), which will offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to its top four finishers.
Gettysburg, a son of Pioneerof the Nile racing for WinStar Farm, enters off an impressive 4 1/2-length maiden win at Gulfstream Park at 1 1/8 miles. The January 9 heat was the third start for the gray, who finished ninth in his debut at Belmont and third in an earlier maiden attempt at Gulfstream.
Gettysburg is an individual entry (#10, 50-1) in this week's second pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW). Javier Castellano rides.
Destin, a full brother to the Grade 1-winning and classic-placed Creative Cause, won on debut at Belmont in October and then finished second against allowance company at Gulfstream two months later. Last time, the gray son of Giant's Causeway raced wide around both turns and was a non-threatening fourth in the Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds on January 16. John Velazquez takes the call in the Davis.
The remaining five three-year-olds in the Davis are not currently Triple Crown nominated. Morning Fire, hero of the $63,000 Pasco at Tampa three weeks ago, will attempt to stretch his speed around two turns for the first time. Also exiting the Pasco is Awesome Slate, a leading juvenile in Western Canada last fall but more than 10 lengths behind Morning Fire in that seven-furlong dash.
More proficient around turns to this point are Rafting, winner of the $75,000 Smooth Air at Gulfstream Park West in late November for Graham Motion, and Whatawonderflworld, who has won three straight including the $100,000 OBS Championship at Ocala on Tapeta.
The field is rounded out by No More Chillin, who has finished up the track in three prior stakes engagements.
A dozen three-year-old fillies were entered in the $100,000 Suncoast, Tampa's leading dirt race for the division. Cosmic Girl, runner-up in the $82,000 Gasparilla last month, figures to be a slight favorite over recent maiden scorers Smart Shopping, Dreamup, Weep No More, and Holders Season.
(Adam Coglianese Photography)