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STAKES ACTION IN TAMPA

Edited Tampa Staff Release — Following Saturday’s “Turf Champions Day” card headed by a pair of Grade III, $175,000 grass stakes for older horses – the Tampa Bay Stakes for males and the Endeavour Stakes for fillies and mares – owners and trainers with Kentucky Derby aspirations will prepare their charges to compete in the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track on Saturday, Feb. 10.

The Sam F. Davis is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, with the top five finishers earning qualifying points toward a spot in the May 4 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on a 20-10-6-4-2 scale. The Sam F. Davis is also the main local prep for the Grade III, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, which will be contested on March 9.

That race awards 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, with the next four finishers earning 25, 15, 10 and 5 points.

The 44trh edition of the Sam F. Davis Stakes is the headliner on a Festival Preview Day card featuring four stakes worth a combined $550,000 in purse money. The $150,000 Suncoast Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies at a distance of a mile-and-40-yards on the dirt, is a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” qualifier, with the top five earning 20, 10, 6, 4 and 2 points toward a berth in the May 3 fillies classic.

Festival Preview Day will also showcase many of the track’s best older sprinters. The $100,000 Pelican Stakes, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward, and the $50,000 Minaret, for fillies and mares 4-and-upward, are both at 6 furlongs on the main track.

The following Saturday, Feb. 17, turf sprinters seek to bring their “A” games to the Leinster Turf Dash for horses 4-and-upward and the Leinster Lightning City Stakes for fillies and mares 4-and-upward. Both races offer $100,000 in purse money and are slated for 5 furlongs on the turf.

Three weeks after that, on March 9, Tampa Bay Downs will award a cool $1-million on its Festival Day 44 card.

The mile-and-a-sixteenth Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is the main event, with four other stakes, three of them graded, hearty appetizers: the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf; the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; the Grade III, $100,000 Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes for older horses at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the dirt; and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on the turf.

The next six weeks promise to be a fun ride.

Around the oval. Leading jockey Samy Camacho rode two winners today, extending his lead in the track standings to 46-34 from Antonio Gallardo. Camacho is bidding to win his fourth consecutive Oldsmar title and fifth overall.

Camacho won today’s first race on Bingo Star, a 4-year-old filly owned by Bingo Racing Stable and trained by Jose H. Delgado. The rider added the seventh race on the turf on Lets Go Koko, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly owned and trained by Rory C. Miller.

Soul of an Angel won today’s feature race, the $54,000, mile-and-40-yard Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week, by a neck from Miranda’s Rocky. Owned by Gerald James and Hall Performance and trained by James, Soul of an Angel, who won last year’s Mari Hulman George Memorial Handicap at Horseshoe Indianapolis, was ridden by Jose Morelos.

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