02/02/2012 4:35PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Prospective looks to double up in Sam F. Davis Stakes


Prospective will attempt to continue his run through Tampa Bay Downs’s trio of Kentucky Derby preps when he tries to add Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes to his impressive victory in the seven-furlong Pasco three weeks earlier.

Prospective tops a field of 11 3-year-olds entered in the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 3 Sam F. Davis, which serves as the final major prep for the track’s marquee event, the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 10.

Prospective overcame an unlucky start and wide trip to register a half-length victory over Wildcat Creek in the Pasco, a performance trainer Mark Casse says is much better than it looks on paper.

“I don’t think the Beyer Speed Figure of 77 is a true indication of how good a race he ran,” said Casse who trains Prospective for owner John Oxley. “When you look at the trip and the amount of ground he lost and watch closely how he finished – he didn’t even have his ears pinned coming to the wire – I think he really won with ease.”

The Pasco was the third victory in the last four starts for Prospective, a son of Malibu Run whose only poor effort to date was his 13th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“I really had no intention of running him in the Juvenile when I got to Kentucky, but he trained so well at Churchill Downs I decided to take a chance,” Casse said. “But I don’t think the track on Breeders’ Cup Day was necessarily the same track those horses trained on all week. It was deep, heavy with a lot of kick back. The two horses I ran that day were caked in mud when they came back to the barn. Maybe those horses in the Juvenile are better than him, but I don’t think they are 20 lengths better. At least, I hope not.”

Casse said if all goes well in the Sam Davis, Prospective would return again next month for the Tampa Bay Derby.

Prospective will break from the outside in the Sam Davis. His competition will include Reveron, winner of the inaugural Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day; Burning Time, a wide-running fourth in the Pasco; Neck ’n Neck, runner-up to the undefeated Discreet Dancer in his 3-year-old debut; Grade 2 turf winner State of Play; trainer Todd Pletcher’s recent maiden winner Ecabroni; and the talented maiden Battle Hardened.

Reveron will bring a three-race win streak into the Sam Davis that includes a game half-length decision over Casual Trick in the 1 1/16-mile Gulfstream Park Derby. Trainer Augustin Bezara said he chose the Sam Davis over last Sunday’s Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream for Reveron’s next start because he wants to keep him around two turns.

Burning Time ducked out after the start to impede Prospective in the Pasco, lagged far back for the opening half-mile, and made a quick six-wide move to reach contention entering the stretch before flattening out a bit through the final furlong to finish 3 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Burning Time is already a stakes winner around two turns, having captured Calder’s Foolish Pleasure at 2.

State of Play won his first two starts, including Saratoga’s Grade 2 With Anticipation, before closing out his 2-year-old campaign finishing 12th after an unlucky start in the Juvenile Turf. The Pasco marks the first time State of Play, a stablemate of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, will race on dirt.