Mucciolo's Sophomore Spotlight Recap: Sam Davis & San Vicente

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February 16th, 2017

Sam F. Davis (G3):

The unbeaten MCCRACKEN did nothing to lose luster with a powerful 1 ½-length score under the guidance of Brian Hernandez. The Ian Wilkes trainee got off slowly once again and was unhurried in the opening stages of this 1 1/16 miles endeavor, but the son of Ghostzapper has a fine stride and turn of foot, and he made what I thought was a pretty solid field look mostly ordinary in his Tampa Bay Downs debut, setting a stakes mark along the way. We’re looking at one of the top sophomores at this time.

TAPWRIT continued to improve with a commendable runner-up effort for conditioner Todd Pletcher. The well-bred sort has run big in three straight races and he’s now on the Derby Trail with a pedigree and running style that suggest extra ground could be in his favor. Tapit colt is in fine hands and passed his first class test finishing second-best to a real good one.

Fourth-place finisher WILD SHOT has ability for sure, but it is more than possible that he will be better suited to one-turn racing at this stage of his development. The Rusty Arnold pupil was well placed after making a big move into midstretch, but the colt flattened out and has done so in his trio of graded runs going two turns.

The Tampa main oval could be a tricky one for many a horse, so NO DOZING might deserve another chance after showing little in his seasonal debut while 10 lengths in arrears. Trained by Arnaud Delacour, the son of Union Rags had a fine juvenile campaign and I won’t give up on him just yet in a race that he likely needed off the layoff.

San Vicente (G2):

I indicated in my preview of this race that I had a hard time getting a gauge on class of ILIAD, though I did think he wants to run two turns, and I stand by the latter statement. The sophomore son of Ghostzapper took command readily in early stretch and looked good from a visual standpoint, closing out this field with a decisive 3 ½-length tally. Kentucky-bred was making first outing since being transferred to Doug O’Neill and possesses a nice combination of speed and a closing kick. He didn’t top a stellar field but this was a fine first step on his way to challenging the best out west this spring.

LAW ABIDIN CITZEN was easily second best in this dash but did have a swift early pace to run into, and I personally think he has class and distance limitations. The Mark Glatt pupil has ability but I think he could be in deep when competition and distance increase in 2017.

BATTLE OF MIDWAY, the 4-5 favorite, and AQUAMARINE were both coming off big maiden wins but failed to impress. Can’t back their prospects as Derby Trail contenders despite expert connections.