02/02/2013 7:58PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Sam Davis proves right spot for Falling Sky

Tom Cooley Photography
Jose Espinoza gets Falling Sky to the wire a neck in front of Dynamic Sky in the Grade 3 Sam Davis on Saturday.

Trainer John Terranova left his options open on Saturday with Falling Sky, entering his recently acquired 3-year-old in both the seven-furlong Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park and the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. And in the end, Terranova made the right choice.

Falling Sky, who was purchased for $425,000 out of the January mixed sale at Ocala, made all the pace en route to a game neck decision over Dynamic Sky in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis. My Name Is Michael, the surprising 8-5 choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds, rallied belatedly to finish third, another three lengths further back.

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

Falling Sky stumbled briefly at the break but seized control of the race from Divine Ambition on the opening turn. He repulsed a bid from Speak Logistics, who checked back from inside the winner near the quarter pole, before holding off Dynamic Sky through the final furlong.  A claim of foul by the rider of Speak Logistics against the winner was disallowed.

Dynamic Sky, never far back, rallied four wide and was gaining gradually on the winner while racing greenly through the stretch.   

Falling Sky, a 3-year-old son of Lion Heart, posted his third win in four starts while stretching out beyond 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time in his career. He completed the distance in 1:44.79 and paid $17.80 while earning 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for his efforts.

Falling Sky was ridden to victory by Jose Espinoza, filling in for Luis Saez, who was originally named to ride the winner but opted instead to stay at Gulfstream, where he won four races on Saturday’s program.

“I guess we made the right choice to stay here. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t,” said Terranova by phone after the race. “We thought he’d be a natural route horse from watching his earlier races and we wanted to give him a chance around two turns. He gave us a bit of a fear when he slipped the first step out of the gate, but recovered quickly enough and Jose did a great job getting him to switch off and relax once he made the lead.” 

Terranova said Espinoza told him he wasn’t concerned about the objection, that he thought he’d left enough room for Speak Logistics to get through on the turn.

“We accomplished what we needed to accomplish with this race but still, you don’t want to get taken down,” said Terranova, who said he has nothing planned at the moment for Falling Sky’s next start.


Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eight makes easy lead, squeezes and chops horse #5 at the perfect time where there is no camera angle on the turn. I think jockey Espinoza got lucky, the way he behaved, to me it looks like he was surprised the #5 was there and gets away with it. Maybe there was no hole for the #5, you just can't tell from the replay. Anyway, the #5 lost 3 lengths and all momentum to the 1A and the eventual winner and could not recover. 1A was way outside the whole way, wobbly in the stretch, and just not good enough. He ran well, but to me it looked like the race took alot out of him. Discount the winner's easy lead and perfect trip. He certainly came back well, but if he gets any kind of pace pressure next time, he'll be a much shorter price, obviously, and he is all yours to play. I had no wagers on this, btw, as objective as I can be.
mrm More than 1 year ago
That looked like a winning move by the 5. Couldn't tell from the camera angle if he was fouled. It looked more like it got a little tight and the jock got cold feet.
mrm More than 1 year ago
I meant the 4 horse.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
A fabulous, frontrunning, gutsy win by the Lion Heart colt, Falling Sky. He impressed me today. He tenaciously held on to the very end of the Sam F. Davis. Very nice performance at a nice price. Dynamic Sky ran a game race of his own, he was never very far behind the entire race. It was an entertaining match. This race proved to be interesting, just as the signs on the form indicated that it might. Congratulations to Falling Sky and his connections on a nice win.
hotboyholly More than 1 year ago
the 5 was gone until the winner made him check.