01/31/2013 4:12PM

Sam F. Davis: Speak Logistics can give Plesa another serious Kentucky Derby horse

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Speak Logistics, here winning the In Reality at Calder, hasn't started since finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

If you had asked trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. last fall who would be his better 3-year-old prospect this season – Speak Logistics or Itsmyluckyday – he would have had a hard time answering. And in light of Itsmyluckyday’s awesome performance defeating reigning 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby last weekend in Gulfstream Park’s Holy Bull Stakes, Plesa is hoping he will have a similar problem separating the pair after Speak Logistics makes his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

[SAM F. DAVIS: Get Tampa Bay Downs PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

The Sam Davis, which is worth 10 points to the winner in the new system used to determine eligibility for the Kentucky Derby, is the second of three prep races for 3-year-olds to be decided at Tampa this season, culminating with the track’s marquee event, the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. The Sam Davis is also one of three Grade 3 races on Saturday’s card, along with the $150,000 Endeavour for fillies and mares on the grass and the $150,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

Speak Logistics, who has not started since finishing seventh behind Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, will likely vie for favoritism in the 1 1/16-mile Sam Davis along with the Mark Casse-trained entry of Dynamic Sky and Northern Lion. Dynamic Sky captured the first of Tampa’s major 3-year-old races, the seven-furlong Pasco on Jan. 12.

Speak Logistics began his career at Monmouth Park, where he won his maiden going a mile in his second start. Plesa then brought Speak Logistics to Calder for the 1 1/16-mile In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, which he captured by 2 3/4 decisive lengths over Two T’s At Two B. That performance earned Speak Logistics a trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup, where he was beaten 5 3/4 lengths by Shanghai Bobby after prompting the pace in the Juvenile.

“He’s always been a horse I had a lot of confidence in and he proved it in the stallion stakes,” said Plesa, who trains Speak Logistics for the Hardaway Stables. “I thought he ran a big race in the Breeders’ Cup considering he got bounced around and faced something he’d never experienced before when racing between horses. We freshened him up after that race. His last work was great. If he progresses like [Itsmyluckyday], I’m in great shape.”

Dynamic Sky rallied to a three-quarter-length victory over entrymate Sky Commander in the Pasco although Casse thought he might not have been at his best. It was Dynamic Sky’s first start since finishing a troubled sixth, a half-length in front of Speak Logistics, in the BC Juvenile.

“He got pretty sick after the Breeders’ Cup and was just not showing the same interest training up to the Pasco as he had his previous races,” said Casse. “I also thought seven furlongs might be a little short for him, but he was right off the pace under a snug hold all the way.”

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Casse put blinkers on Dynamic Sky for the first time in the Pasco and felt the new equipment made a difference.

“He still doesn’t know what he’s doing, he still hasn’t caught on yet,” said Casse. “In the Pasco his legs were going all over the place and his ears were going each way when he hit the wire. He also had a habit of laying in on other horses. It cost him the Breeders’ Futurity, and I do think the blinkers helped him with that.”

Northern Lion is coming off a wire-to-wire 5 1/2-length maiden win when stretching to 1 1/16 miles for the first time in his 2-year-old finale at Gulfstream.

“Two turns was a plus,” said Casse. “They let him go along on a pretty easy pace, but I still thought it was an impressive effort and he should complement Dynamic Sky very well in this race.”

Trainer John Terranova cross entered his recently acquired Falling Sky in both the Sam Davis and Gulfstream’s seven-furlong Hutcheson on Saturday but will opt to send him a route of ground at Tampa. Falling Sky was an impressive 1 3/4-length allowance winner at Gulfstream for trainer Antonio Sano on Dec. 15.

“We liked the way the race came up at Tampa better,” said Terranova. “The post position was better than drawing inside like we did in the Hutcheson, and our feeling is he’s a natural route horse so it looks like a good spot to stretch him out for the first time.”

Also figuring to be major factors in the Sam Davis are the lightly raced Divine Ambition, a tiring third in the Pasco, and the stakes-placed My Name Is Michael, who makes his first start on dirt and first since being transferred to trainer Bill Mott’s barn.