02/10/2011 5:08PM

Pletcher looks to continue monopoly of Sam Davis with Brethren


Grade 3 Sam F. Davis - Tampa Bay Downs - Race 10
Est. Post Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern - Feb. 12, 2010

The $225,000 Sam F. Davis is traditionally the first of two graded stakes for 3-year-olds to be run at Tampa Bay Downs each winter and the prep for the meet’s cornerstone event, the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. But if things continue as they have over the past five years, Tampa officials might want to think about renaming the event the Todd Pletcher. Or simply WinStar.

Pletcher has won three of the last five runnings of the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis, all for WinStar, and will be favored to do so again Saturday when he sends out the undefeated Brethren against nine rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race.

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail

Brethren has some big shoes to fill and high expectations to fulfill being a half-brother to WinStar’s reigning Kentucky Derby champion Super Saver. By Distorted Humor, Brethren won his only two starts at 2, overcoming an eventful start to capture his debut by a half-length going six furlongs at Belmont Park on Oct. 16 before returning five weeks later to win an entry-level allowance race going a mile at Churchill Downs.

“He’s training well and is ready to get started,” said Pletcher. “Now it’s time to see where we are. I was very pleased with his first two races, he’s done exactly what we’re asked so far and now he’s got to stretch out and try his first stakes.”

Pletcher said he has nothing picked out for Brethren beyond the Sam F. Davis, nor has he given any real thought to bringing him back in four weeks for the Tampa Bay Derby.

“In a perfect world he’ll only run twice before the Derby,” said Pletcher. “But we also have to keep an eye on graded stakes earnings while trying to sort out and try to separate some of the other top 3-year-olds we have in the barn.”

Brethren will break from the extreme outside, in post position 10, in the Sam Davis with Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez flying down from New York to handle the assignment.

While Brethren is strictly the horse to beat, there are three other members of the field coming off races for which they received higher Beyer Speed Figures than the favorite.

Washington Rules posted an 88 Beyer winning his maiden going a mile at Gulfstream Park three weeks ago for trainer Ken McPeek and has continued to train well for his stakes debut, zipping a bullet five furlongs in 59.72 seconds at Gulfstream on Saturday. Kent Desormeaux will be back aboard in the Sam Davis.

Adulare is also coming off a well graded maiden win, earning an 89 after outgaming the regally bred Stormberg to post a well deserved nose decision at Calder on Jan. 2. Monzon owns the highest Beyer number in the field, a 90 he received for his last-to-first win in Aqueduct’s Count Fleet Stakes on New Year’s Day. Monzon has been working at the Classic Mile training center in preparation for his return to graded stakes company

Reprized Halo upset Gourmet Dinner to capture Calder’s rich In Reality Stakes but finished third against $25,000 starter allowance company in his 2-year-old finale.

Too Experience defeated Reprized Halo in the pair’s previous encounter and has won five of six starts overall including Calder’s Seacliff Stakes.

Fancy Point returns in Florida Oaks

The $125,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies is being run on the grass for the first time this season and drew a full field of 12, topped by Fancy Point, who will be making her first start since finishing 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Fancy Point is already a stakes winner, having led throughout to win her maiden in Saratoga’s Phil G Johnson in just her second career start. She was also third behind Juvenile Fillies Turf favorite Winter Memories in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo prior to the Breeders’ Cup. Fancy Point will run under Bill Mott’s name for the first time in the Oaks after having raced for trainer William Phipps at 2.

McPeek and Desormeaux will also have a strong hand in the Oaks with Niji’s Grand Girl coming off a 1 1/4-length entry-level allowance win in her 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream. Niji’s Grand Girl has not finished worse than third in six career starts and was the workmate of Washington’s Rules last weekend at Gulfstream.

Dynamic Holiday is already a stakes winner at 3, having posted a game nose decision over A Brilliant Idea to kick off the New Year in Calder’s Tropical Park Oaks.