Withers & Sam F. Davis Stakes Preview

Another week of the Kentucky Derby trail is behind us and, again, we had a good week with our bankroll play, which was $5 to win and $10 to place on Conquest Titan in the Holy Bull. He paid $8.60 for $2 to place, which was more than Cairo Prince paid to win, so we'll take that and run. A more detailed explanation of my thoughts on the Holy Bull is in the video, but obviously Cairo Prince ran well, although I do still have some concerns about him, and both Conquest Titan and Almost Famous stayed on my radar after solid performances. 

2/1/2014: Aqueduct Race 9-- G3 Withers
The name of the game in the one and one sixteenth miles Withers is speed. The undefeated Samraat has been the pace setter in all three of his races thus far and although he won on each occasion, this is a definite step up in class and he won't be alone up front this time around. Both Uncle Sigh and Street Gent were in front nearly the entire way in their most recent runs and were victorious in doing so. I'm going to play against the early speed in this race, however, and instead side with Classic Giacnroll. As you may have guessed, he's a son of 2005 Kentucky Derby Giacomo. He most recently ran in the G2 Jerome and while Noble Moon stole the headlines, Classic Giacnroll was arguably more impressive, as he was forced five-six wide in the first turn and ultimately traveled the furthest distance of anyone in the field by a longshot (63 ft further than Noble Moon according to TRAKUS) en route to a second place finish. I'm expecting him to sit mid-pack and take advantage of what I expect to be a healthy pace up front.

Bankroll Play: 
$20 to place on #4 Classic Giacnroll

2/1/2014: Tampa Bay Downs Race 9-- G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes
Unlike last year, this year's edition of the Sam F. Davis is not for any Kentucky Derby points, but it still has an interesting group of under-the-radar contenders. The highweights are two shippers from Canada Asserting Bear and Matador. Both have raced solely at Woodbine and will, therefore, be making their first starts on dirt. The latter is a son of Malibu Moon and does have dirt influences in his pedigree, but his only win in four starts was by a nose, so I'll look elsewhere. Todd Pletcher's horses are always dangerous in Florida and he has two entered here: Vinceremos, who is also cross-entered in the Hutcheson, and Harpoon. It's not often that I'll side with a son of Tapit, but Harpoon appeared to figure things out in his last start. After three starts, including a runner-up finish to Cairo Prince during which he ran very greenly and was fighting his jockey from the start, he sat and waited in his maiden breaker (which is unusual for most Tapits) before inheriting the lead and drawing away to win by over five lengths. My only concern is that he drew the rail and he does seem to prefer to be on the outside. Noble Cornerstone, who broke his maiden in his first attempt before finishing second in the Remington Springboard Mile, also is not without a chance.

Win: #1 Harpoon, Place: #2 Noble Cornerstone

Tracker Horses to Play:

1/31/2014: Aqueduct Race 3-- Allowance Optional Claiming: #1 Deceived (Broken Vow-Naughty Natasha, by Known Fact) Never finished outside of the top three in five starts. Finished second three back after brushing gate at the start, before breaking maiden impressively at Aqueduct. Most recently ran third in the Damon Runyon (which was won by Samraat) despite jumping at the break, spotting the field several lengths as a result, and having absolutely no pace to close into. He won't face that tough of a group here. 

2/1/2014: Aqueduct Race 7-- Busher Stakes: #4 Fleet of Gold (Medaglia d'Oro-Fleet Indian, by
Indian Charlie) Impressively broke maiden at Laurel before finishing third (4 lengths back) in the Busanda after a very wide trip. Looking to flip the tables on the Busanda winner Fierce Boots here. 

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