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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 5:09 PM

Derby Prep Preview
By Jim Hurley
Saturday, February 9

On Saturday there is only one Kentucky Derby Prep Qualifier scheduled, so all that attention will be focused on Tampa Bay Downs as 10 three-year olds are set to go postward in the Grade III Dam F. Davis Stakes, to be run at a mile and a sixteenth over the main track.

Last Year I tabbed the Longshot Winner Flameaway for a healthy $22.40 mutuel and completed the $51.40 Exacta with runner-up Catholic Boy.

The Sam F. Davis, which is the prelude to the completion of the Tampa bay circuit Derby Prep finisher, the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9.

The Davis is one of 19 remaining Derby Prep Qualifying races which will provide points for one of the 20 guaranteed spots in the starting gate on Saturday, May 4. I’ll have the 1-2-3-4 finishers of this race as part of my Derby Preps Package (Check Out The Details Here) or as part of my 3 Track 4 Race Saturday Slam.

Featuring 1-2-3-4 Finishers In Sam F. Davis
(Sign Up And Win Here)

This year the likely favorite and target will be Grade I Breeders Futurity winner and Grade I BC Juvenile runner up Knicks Go, who will be making his 2019 debut for trainer Ben Colebrook.

At 5-2 on the morning line, Knicks Go is a long way from the 70-1 he went off at when he wired the Grade I Breeders Futurity opening weekend of the Keeneland Fall Meet. Or is he close to the 40-1 he went off at when he once again shocked the pari-mutuel world with his runner up finish behind Game Winner in the Grade I BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs one month later.

Knicks Go has not been seen since his fairy tale turned into a pumpkin when he was beaten 18 lengths when 11th of 14 in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs 22 days later. Maybe it was the fact that he ran on a sloppy track for the first time in his 6 race career or perhaps it was the third race in 7 weeks that caught up to him. Whatever the issue was that day, he is currently working forwardly for his return race and we will see if those bettors who did not go to either of the two weddings at Keeneland and Churchill last fall will be attending a funeral on Saturday.

Let’s take a look at the remaining nine runners which will challenge Knicks Go.

Counter Offer (12-1) – Sent out by Ian Wilkes, who is winning at 24% at the meet and ridden by leading 24% jockey Antonio Gallardo, the son of Tapizar finished second to So Alive (who he’ll face again today) in an entry level allowance here one month ago. The colt rated well in mid-pack and might have moved a bit too early as he struck the lead and got caught in the final strides. He likely benefitted from the race.

Going For Gold (20-1) – The Alreides gelding is still a maiden after 2 career sprint starts and is being asked for a lot. What he figures to contribute however, is fuel for a quick pace as he has opened a clear lead in both career starts before settling for second in a pair of sprints.

Cave Run (6-1) – Another lightly run colt, the son of Street Sense will be asked to go two turns after a pair of sprints to begin his career. He did run third in the Pasco Stakes (the 7 furlong prep for this and the Tampa Bay Derby) but was 10 lengths behind the winner, Win Win Win. He was the beaten favorite in the Pasco so could show improvement for trainer Eoin Harty.

Moonster (30-1) – It appears as though trainer Dale Romans is shooting for the moon in here as the son of Malibu Moon has been beaten double digits in his last 4 starts, including checking in 16 lengths behind Knicks go in the Breeders Futurity. Like each of the ten runners in the Davis, Moonster is an early Triple Crown nominee so perhaps it is simply a case of the connections not being able to give up on him yet.

Kentucky Wildcat (9-2) – The impeccably bred son of Tapit finally broke his maiden in career start number 3 when he captured a mile test at Aqueduct on December 1st. Given a break by trainer Tom Albertrani he ships north from Gulfstream where he has worked forwardly at Palm Meadows since the first of the year. Regular rider Joe Bravo will be aboard and given his stalking style in the one turn mile at Aqueduct and one turn mile and a sixteenth at Belmont prior to that the colt might appreciate two turns.

Five Star General (4-1) – The Arnaud Delacour trained son of Distorted Humor has not been out since November 22 but in his final two juvenile starts the addition of blinkers turned him into a front running maiden winner followed by a victory in the Central Park Stakes. He has drilled every 6 to 8 days over the track since December 24, with 3 of the last 4 being bullets. Equally promising is that Jose Ortiz, who was aboard in the Central Park is listed. He would not be a surprise.

So Alive (5-1) – A last out allowance winner here, the son of Super Saver will be saddled by Todd Pletcher and Javier Castellano is another Gulfstream regular ho makes the trip north. Favored in all three of his career races. His stalking running style figures to be aided by what looks like a solid paced up front. His best of 37 half mile drill at Pbd on February 3rd indicates he is as tight as he needs to be.

Well Defined (8-1) – Another who figures to contribute to a lively pace, the Kathleen O’Connell trained gelding will have to reverse his most recent form. He looked like he might be a player in the Florida Stallion Series last fall but came completely undone when beaten double digit lengths in the BC Juvenile when 9.90-1 and again in the recent Mucho Macho man Stakes at Gulfstream on January 5. He might appreciate a change of scenery but a decent price should be demanded.

Still Dreaming (15-1) – Graham Motion ships the son of Flatter down from Laurel after the colt broke his maiden in career start number two traveling a mile at Laurel in his last. He did improve his speed figure in race number two and turned in a solid 6 furlong drill here last Friday so might be ready for another step forward…one which he would likely need to make.

This definitely shapes up as a bettor’s race as there are far more questions than answers regarding the collective inconstant form of the ten runners.

As I mentioned earlier…I’ll have the answers as part of my Saturday Offer.

Featuring 1-2-3-4 Finishers In Sam F. Davis
(Sign Up And Win Here)







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