09/20/2007 12:00AM

Sam Davis gets a purse boost

EmailTampa Bay Downs has released its 2007-08 stakes schedule, which features an increase in the purse of the north Florida oval's second most prestigious event, the Sam F. Davis Stakes, from $150,000 to $200,000. The 26-race schedule is worth a record $2.6 million.

The 94-day Tampa meet opens on Dec. 8 and runs through May 4, 2008.

Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and Haskell Invitational winner Any Given Saturday, who finished one-two following a stirring stretch-long battle in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby, were two of the four Grade 1 winners to race at Tampa during the 2006-07 season. The others were Diana winner My Typhoon and Acorn winner Cotton Blossom. Grade 2 winners Delightful Kiss and Most Distinguished also competed at Tampa this year.

The Sam Davis serves as the traditional prep for the track's cornerstone event, the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby. Any Given Saturday won the 2007 Sam Davis for trainer Todd Pletcher, who also captured the 2006 edition with Bluegrass Cat.

The Sam Davis will be run Feb. 16. The Tampa Bay Derby highlights the track's Festival Day card on March 15, which features four stakes worth $750,000 in purses, including the $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies and the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes on the turf.