OLDSMAR, Fla. (November 24, 2008) Tampa Bay Downs was pleased to receive the news today that the American Graded Stakes Committee has awarded the $225,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes a Grade III status. The Sam F. Davis, to be run on February 14, 2009, has become an important stop on the road to the Kentucky Derby, and past participants include such horses as Smooth Air, Any Given Saturday, and Bluegrass Cat.

Peter Berube, Vice President and General Manager of Tampa Bay Downs, said of the grading, “I am very pleased by the Graded Stakes Committee’s decision, as the Sam F. Davis has become an integral part of the Tampa Bay Downs stakes program. “ Berube continued, “Tampa Bay Downs now offers five graded stakes with the addition of the Sam F. Davis Stakes, which joins the Grade III $150,000 Endeavour Breeders’ Cup, the Grade III $175,000 Hillsborough Stakes, $200,000 Florida Oaks, and the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby.”

Allison DeLuca, Racing Secretary at Tampa Bay Downs, added, “With the grading of the Sam F. Davis Stakes, I’m pleased to give horsemen an added incentive to race their Kentucky Derby hopefuls here.” DeLuca went on, “The Sam F. Davis Stakes is one of the highlights of the Tampa Bay Downs stakes program, and the fans that come out for Festival Preview Day really enjoy the chance to get to see these horses as they develop into nationally recognizable names.”

The Tampa Bay Downs stakes schedule encompasses 26 races with more than $2.7 million in purse money, which is kicked off on December 13’s Opening Day with the $65,000 Lightning City Stakes, a five furlong turf test for fillies and mares three years old and up.