Sam F. Davis Favorite Has Breeders’ Cup Bloodlines
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The lone Kentucky Derby prep race this coming weekend is the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3), a 1 1/16-mile contest for sophomores at Tampa Bay Downs. The race drew eight runners, headed by unbeaten Independence Hall.
Success in major races would be nothing new to Independence Hall, a two-time stakes winner who hails from the female family of 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Desert Stormer and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) runner up Better Lucky. Independence Hall, by Constitution, is out of the Cape Town mare Kalahari Cat, whose dam Desert Stormette is a full sister to Desert Stormer. Better Lucky is out of Desert Stormer’s daughter Sahara Gold.
There is an added score to settle as dual Grade 1-winner Better Lucky’s first foal, Kentucky Wildcat, finished second in the Sam F. Davis last year. Independence Hall, already the winner of the Nashua (G3) and Jerome at Aqueduct, will attempt to do one better for trainer Michael Trombetta. Jose Ortiz will ride.
Premier Star will be a chief rival. The son of Tapiture is unbeaten in two starts for trainer Jorge Navarro. He is coming off a more than five length win at Gulfstream Park on January 15, and worked a bullet half mile on February 1 in preparation for this. John Velazquez will ride.
Second in the Remsen (G2) last out was Ajaaweed, who returns here and draws the rail. The son of Curlin is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and will get Joel Rosario back aboard for this. He broke his maiden at Belmont Park in September and ran fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He was beaten only a half-length by Shotski in the Remsen; that rival came back to be second last weekend in the Withers Stakes (G3).
Sole Volante has won two of his three lifetime starts. Both of those were on the grass for trainer Patrick Biancone, who switched the son of Karakontie (Jpn) to dirt for the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park on January 4 Sole Volante finished third, beaten two and a half lengths, as a 9-1 shot. He worked a bullet on the grass February 3.
Chapalu will start after winning the Grey Stakes (G3) at Woodbine in October. The son of Flatter has been off since then, but has won two of three starts for trainer Arnaud Delacour. This will be his first try on dirt after racing on grass and synthetic, but he is the lone runner to have a win over the distance.
The Sam F. Davis, like all the other Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown prep races, can be seen live on TVG.
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