- DRF Bets
- Handicapping & PPsHorsemen's ProductsReports
Access past performances
- The Wizard
- DRF Gameplan
- Quick Sheets
- DRF Picks
- Today's Racing Digest
- Key Race Report
- Positive ROI Report
- Moss Pace Figure Reports
- Debut Reports
- WE Handicapping Report
- Clocker Reports
Racing and Wagering InformationTools
- DRF EasyForm PPs
- DRF Classic PDF PPs
- DRF Formulator PPs
- DRF HarnessEye PPs
- DRF Daily Harness Program PPs
- Daily Racing Program PPs
- NewsCategoriesTrack Notes
- StorePast PerformancesHarness PPsPackagesDRF PlusREPORTSPICKS
COUNTDOWN REWIND: SAM F. DAVIS STAKES
By Jeremy Plonk
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2013
Track: Tampa Bay Downs
Kentucky Derby Points Awarded: 10-4-2-1
Distance: 1-1/16 miles (2 turns)
HANDICAPPERS’ RECAP: The steam poured in for Canadian transplant MY NAME IS MICHAEL (Bill Mott) in what I thought was a surprising turn of wagering events, considering the manner in which DYNAMIC SKY (Mark Casse) had won the Pasco Stakes. The scratch of NORTHERN LION (Casse) helped ease the pace scenario some, but stretch-out sprinters FALLING SKY (John Terranova) and DIVINE AMB ITION (Darrin Miller) figured to make it honest. And if SPEAK LOGISTICS (Eddie Plesa) had forced himself into the fray, it could have gotten hot. The local experience of FALLING SKY and DYNAMIC SKY wound up providing a nice assist as they ran one-two in their second stakes engagements of the meet.
ON THE CLOCK: The Davis played out like many American dirt races on the clock, slowing each quarter-mile through splits of 23.49, 24.19, 24.93, 25.42 and then a final sixteenth in 6.76. The fourth quarter clocked at least 10 lengths slower than the first, so this race doesn’t excite me by times. But for Tampa Bay Downs’ surface, this race didn’t melt to pieces and it proved a serviceable prep for the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9.
THE EYE TEST: FALLING SKY broke outward into DYNAMIC SKY at the start, shuffling that one back a bit, but FALLING SKY straightened quickly and went to the front while finding the two-path into the clubhouse turn. DYNAMIC SKY wound up stuck four-wide around the first turn, widest of all. He remained four-wide on the far turn and Trakus data indicates he ran 51 feet (more than six lengths) farther than the winner. It was the second straight questionable ride by Luis Contreras on DYNAMIC SKY, and it cost him the gig (as reported by DRF’s Jay Privman, trainer Mark Casse will be going to a new pilot when DYNAMIC SKY returns for the Tampa Bay Derby). While FALLING SKY had the benefit of an inside trip, he did take the heat of the pace from a rank DIVINE AMBITION and still galloped out best of all after the win. As for the others, SPEAK LOGISTICS moved nicely inside on the far turn and was set to take the lead when hard-checked. The stewards disallowed the claim of foul, but no matter whose fault the incident was, fair-minded handicappers have to see the impact it had on SPEAK LOGISTICS. As for the well-bet MY NAME IS MICHAEL, he got a dream trip saving ground and never broke momentum. The “closed fast too late” seems a misnomer to me in the chart, considering ‘MICHAEL made up just 1-3/4 lengths over last five-sixteenths of a mile behind a slowing pace. To his credit, MY NAME IS MICHAEL was making his first dirt start and appeared to take a while to get his sea legs under him, and this was his first start in two months. MIDNIGHT POPPA matched strides with MY NAME IS MICHAEL much of the trip, moved in tandem, but didn’t finish as well as that one. Certainly a 19-day gap in his workout tab in January could be cited as a reason for his stretch flatness.
PROJECTING THE DAVIS FORWARD: The lack of a Tampa terror sets up a wild Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, because I think many owners and trainers will think this will be one of the easiest spots to get 50 points on the calendar. The top five Davis finishers all make sense to return, where a rematch between FALLING SKY and DYNAMIC SKY appears likely. But the connections of MY NAME IS MICHAEL and SPEAK LOGISTICS are talking about the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth back home at Gulfstream. The latter could fill the FoY void left by stablemate ITSMYLUCKYDAY, who will be awaiting the Grade 1 Florida Derby. I could see MY NAME IS MICHAEL re-routed to Turfway or Keeneland as his best chance to make the Kentucky Derby. DIVINE AMBITION could return for the Tampa Bay Derby, but would perhaps be another possibility to Turfway for Silverton Hill Farm. MIDNIGHT POPPA deserves another shot if he has an uninterrupted work tab.