Updated on 09/17/2011 9:57AM

Coach Jimi Lee the speed in Sam Davis Stakes

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Jim Linscott
Coach Jimi Lee wins the Hoosier Juvenile last November at Hoosier Park. The Kentucky-bred son of Roar squares off against 10 others in Saturday's $50,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

OLDSMAR Fla. - Coach Jimi Lee, who has won two of his four starts, including the Hoosier Juvenile Stakes at Hoosier Park, will be given his first test around two turns on Saturday when he tops a field of 11 3-year-olds in the $50,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes. The race is Tampa Bay Downs's traditional prep for the Grade 3, $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby.

The Davis will share the spotlight with the $50,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies as the two 1 1/16-mile stakes highlight an 11-race program.

Yacht Club, undefeated in two local starts, tops the field in the Suncoast, which serves as a final prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Florida Oaks. Both the Tampa Bay Derby and Oaks will be run March 16.

Coach Jimi Lee, who was fourth in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park in his 2003 debut, is the dominant early speed in a Davis field loaded with late-running types. For that reason, he is the horse to beat under Juan Umana.

A Roar colt trained by Jimmy Divito, Coach Jimi Lee led until late in his debut at Arlington before finishing second at 51-1. He then was off from July to October but came back with verve, leading throughout to win a maiden sprint in his first race with Lasix.

Six weeks after that, Coach Jimi Lee journeyed to Hoosier Park, where he pulled off a mild upset in the Hoosier Juvenile, leading from start to finish and pulling away late to score by four lengths over a "good" track.

In the Spectacular Bid, Coach Jimi Lee raced within striking distance over a good surface but couldn't gain on the victorious First Blush, finishing just over three lengths back.

Patriotic Flame, who finished second behind Trust N Luck in the What a Pleasure in December, tops the challengers. In his last start, he finished off the board for the first time in his career when he ran seventh in the Holy Bull.

Supervisor, who rallied late to finish fourth in the Holy Bull and fifth in the Tropical Park Derby, is also a top contender.

In the Suncoast, the challengers to Yacht Club include Splasha, who ran out of stretch when he rallied for third in the Gasparilla Stakes here after running off three straight wins at Calder, and Crimson and Roses, who was second in that same race in her 2003 debut.

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