HRI EDITED RELEASE — Four stakes races on the Feb. 8 Festival Preview Day card at Tampa Bay Downs have attracted a total of 137 nominations, Stakes Coordinator Gerry Stanislawzyk announced today.
Heading the card is the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep race offering qualifying points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale. The 40th edition of the Sam F. Davis is for 3-year-olds at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track.
In addition to being a points race for the May 2 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs, the Sam F. Davis is a prep race for the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 7, which is Festival Day at Tampa Bay Downs.
Among the top nominees to the Sam F. Davis is Independence Hall, who turned in a 5-furlong workout in a minute flat today at Tampa Bay Downs – the fastest of 34 workouts recorded at the distance – under the watchful eyes of trainer Michael Trombetta. The colt is 3-for-3, including victories in the Grade III Nashua Stakes on Nov. 3 at Aqueduct and the Jerome Stakes on Jan. 1 at Aqueduct.
After the workout, Trombetta said that Independence Hall, who is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Kathleen and Robert Verratti, will likely make his next start in the Sam F. Davis or the Grade II, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln on Feb. 15 at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Also nominated to the Sam F. Davis is recent Pasco Stakes winner Liam’s Lucky Charm, bred and owned by Stonehedge and trained by Ralph Nicks; Scabbard, a multiple graded stakes-placed colt who finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, owned by Joseph W. Sutton and trained by Eddie Kenneally; stakes winner Mischievous Alex, owned by Cash is King, LLC and LC Racing, LLC and trained by John Servis; Ajaaweed, runner-up in the Grade II Remsen on Dec. 7 at Aqueduct, owned by Shadwell Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin; and Premier Star, a promising if lightly raced colt owned by Sonata Stable and trained by Jorge Navarro.