Edited Tampa Bay Release — Nova Rags, who won the Pasco Stakes here on Jan. 16, and Candy Man Rocket, a runaway winner of a maiden special weight sprint on Jan. 9 at Gulfstream, give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott a formidable pair of contenders in Saturday’s Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, the main event of Festival Preview Day 41 Presented by Lambholm South at Tampa Bay Downs.
Nova Rags will again be ridden by leading Oldsmar jockey Samy Camacho. Mott has named Junior Alvarado to ride Candy Man Rocket. The 41st running of the mile-and-a-sixteenth race on the main track, which awards “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points to the first four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale, has drawn an overflow field of 13 3-year-olds, with maiden Tiz Tact Toe on the also-eligible list.
Mott may have rival trainer Todd Pletcher to beat. Pletcher, who has won a record six Sam F. Davis Stakes, will go for No. 7 with Donegal Racing’s colt Millean and St. Elias Stables’ Known Agenda, who finished third in the Grade II Remsen Stakes on Dec. 5 at Aqueduct.
The Sam F. Davis, scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card beginning at 11:50 a.m., is one of four stakes offering an aggregate $750,000 in stakes purse money.
Saturday’s 35th running of the Grade III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf, is scheduled as the eighth race. A field of 12 older horses is expected, headed by 4-year-old gelding Sole Volante, last year’s Sam F. Davis Stakes winner, and Grade II-winning 4-year-old colt Fancy Liquor.
Sole Volante is trained by Patrick Biancone and will be ridden by Robby Albarado. Fancy Liquor is trained by Michael Maker and will have Hector Diaz, Jr., in the saddle.
The 22nd edition of the Grade III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes, for fillies and mares 4-and-upward racing a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf, has attracted eight entries and is scheduled as the 10th race. Heading the field are 4-year-old filly New York Girl, an Irish-bred who won her first start in the United States on Dec. 31 at Gulfstream, and Counterparty Risk, a game second in the Lady of Shamrock Stakes on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.
New York Girl is trained by Mott and will be ridden by Junior Alvarado. Chad Brown conditions Counterparty Risk, who will be ridden by John Velazquez.
The other stakes is the 41st running of the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies traveling a mile-and-40-yards on the main track. The Suncoast, which lured 10 entries, is the ninth race on the card.
Among the likely contenders are Special Princess, who dead-heated for victory in the Gasparilla Stakes here on Jan. 16, and Feeling Mischief, who captured the Sandpiper Stakes here on Dec. 5 before settling for third in the Gasparilla.
Ademar Santos will ride Special Princess for trainer Walter Woodard. Jesus Castanon will be aboard Feeling Mischief for trainer Michael Campbell. Another probable contender is trainer Rodolphe Brisset’s Gulf Coast, to be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Here is the full field for the Sam F. Davis Stakes in post position order, followed by trainer and jockey:
1. Hidden Stash, Victoria Oliver, Hector Diaz, Jr. 2. Joe Man Joe, David Fisher, Huber Villa-Gomez. 3. Known Agenda, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez. 4. Millean, Todd Pletcher, Roberto Alvarado, Jr. 5. Smiley Sobotka, Dale Romans, Daniel Centeno. 6. Runway Magic, George “Rusty” Arnold, II, Julien Leparoux. 7. Boca Boy, Cheryl Winebaugh, Antonio Gallardo. 8. Nova Rags, Bill Mott, Samy Camacho. 9. Candy Man Rocket, Bill Mott, Junior Alvarado. 10. Ricochet, Kelsey Danner, Jesus Castanon. 11. Lucky Law, Patrick Biancone, Robby Albarado. 12. Last Investment, Stacy Lane Hendry, Ademar Santos. 13 (also eligible, draws in if there is a late scratch): Tiz Tact Toe, Robert B. Hess, Jr., Alonso Quinonez.
Here is the full field for the Tampa Bay Stakes in post position order, followed by trainer and jockey:
1. Atone, Eoin Harty, Tomas Mejia. 2. Admission Office, Brian Lynch, Julien Leparoux. 3. Get Smokin, Thomas Bush, Julien Leparoux. 4. Talk Or Listen, Arnaud Delacour, Daniel Centeno. 5. Delaware, Chad Brown, Antonio Gallardo. 6. Proven Strategies, Mark Casse, Jose Ferrer. 7. By Your Side, Michael Maker, Jesus Castanon. 8. Eons, Arnaud Delacour, Samy Camacho. 9. Sole Volante, Patrick Biancone, Robby Albarado. 10. Fancy Liquor, Michael Maker, Hector Diaz, Jr. 11. Armistice Day, Barbara Minshall, Roberto Alvarado, Jr. 12. Greyes Creek, Chad Brown, John Velazquez.
Here is the full field for the Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes in post position order, followed by trainer and jockey:
1. Margaret’s Joy, Michelle Nihei, Ronnie Allen, Jr. 2. Logic N Reason, Christophe Clement, Samy Camacho. 3. No Mercey Percy, Rafael Schistl, Ademar Santos. 4. Eres Tu (main track only), Arnaud Delacour, Samy Camacho. 5. Counterparty Risk, Chad Brown, John Velazquez. 6. New York Girl, Bill Mott, Junior Alvarado. 7. Kelsey’s Cross, Patrick Biancone, Robby Albarado. 8. Irony of Reality, Ron G. Potts, Huber Villa-Gomez.
Here is the full field for the Suncoast Stakes in post position order, followed by trainer and jockey:
1. Roll Up Mo Money, Ken McPeek, Samy Camacho. 2. Feeling Mischief, Michael Campbell, Jesus Castanon. 3. Jade Empress, Bill Mott, Junior Alvarado. 4. Curlin’s Catch, Mark Casse, Antonio Gallardo. 5. Honorifique, Eddie Kenneally, John Velazquez. 6. Scenic Overlook, Eoin Harty, Alonso Quinonez. 7. Gulf Coast, Rodolphe Brisset, Julien Leparoux. 8. Be Sneaky, Arnaud Delacour, Hector Diaz, Jr. 9. Il Malocchio, Ken McPeek, Robby Albarado. 10. Special Princess, Walter Woodard, Ademar Santos.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Tampa Bay Downs is limiting general-admission attendance for the Festival Preview Day 41 Presented by Lambholm South card to 2,500 spectators. Tickets, which are $10 each plus a service fee, are being sold online through Eventbrite.com and at the program stands.
Horsemen, box-seat holders and season-ticket holders do not need to purchase tickets, but must present their passes at the gate to gain admittance.
Seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis unless patrons have prior arrangements in the Skye Terrace Dining Room, Sports Gallery, Clubhouse Carrels or Legends Bar, but the purchase of a general-admission ticket is still required to gain admittance.
The track is also selling a limited number of tables in the Backyard Picnic Area for $50 each plus a service fee; that price includes admission for six people.
Here is the link for Festival Preview Day 41 tickets and picnic-area seating:
Everyone will be required to wear masks or face coverings and maintain appropriate social distancing.
Castanon Shines at Sam Houston. Tampa Bay Downs jockey Jesus Castanon rode 5-year-old mare Letruska to a front-running, 3 ½-length victory in the Grade III, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic on Sunday at Sam Houston Race Park. Letruska, who is owned by St. George Stable and trained by Fausto Gutierrez, took down the winner’s share of $176,400.
In the next race, the Grade III, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup, Castanon finished second on Ajourneytofreedom, coming up short by a neck to Spooky Channel and jockey Julien Leparoux.
Around The Oval. After earning career victory No. 2,000 in the fourth race today on 5-year-old mare Do What It Takes for owner Carole Star Stables and trainer Jose H. Delgado, jockey Antonio Gallardo swept the late daily double, winning the eighth and ninth races to notch a hat trick.
Gallardo won the eighth race with My Sister’s Keeper, a 6-year-old mare bred and owned by Terry Bruner and trained by Mike Dini. The rider added the ninth on the turf on first-time starter Katie Scarlett, a 4-year-old filly owned by Sabal Racing Stable and Patrick Rhodes and trained by Darien Rodriguez.
Samy Camacho rode two winners. He won the second race on Bootlegger, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Winning Stables and trained by Gerald Bennett. Camacho added the seventh race on the turf on Wonder Blondy, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Team Work Horseman Group and trained by Juan A. Rodriguez. The victory was the third in a row for Wonder Blondy.
Delgado sent out two winners. In addition to saddling Do What It Takes, he won the first race with Glory Roll, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare owned by Carole Star Stables and ridden by Jose Ferrer.
Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:15 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs currently races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.