02/01/2014 6:37PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Vinceremos leads one-two finish for Pletcher in Sam Davis

Tom Keyser
Vinceremos, under Edgar Prado, scores a 12-1 upset in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Just a couple hours after it was announced that Todd Pletcher has a record-setting 42 nominees to the 2014 Triple Crown, his powerhouse stable was represented by the top two finishers Saturday in the 34th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Vinceremos, ridden by Edgar Prado, found the wire just in time as his Pletcher stablemate, Harpoon, came charging on the outside in a frantic four-horse finish. The winning margin was a nose, with Cousin Stephen three-quarters of a length back in third and Matador another neck back in fourth.

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

Vinceremos, a Pioneerof the Nile colt, is owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing. He returned $26.80 as fifth choice in a field of eight 3-year-olds after finishing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:47.34 over a fast track.

Both of the Pletcher horses saved ground for much of the trip. Always on or near the pace, Vinceremos came through a rail opening when Cousin Stephen drifted after turning for home, edged to the lead, and narrowly held sway. Harpoon, the 9-5 second choice with Luis Saez up, also had a good inside trip before angling out for the drive and was gaining fastest of all at the end.

Noble Cornerstone, the 9-5 favorite, was never a factor when finishing seventh after acting up badly just prior to the break.

“He absolutely freaked in the gate and lost his race right there,” said his jockey, Kent Desormeaux.

Unlike last year, when the Davis winner (Falling Sky) received 10 points in the newly created Kentucky Derby points system, the Davis does not carry any Derby points this year. As an alternate allure to horsemen, Tampa initiated a new $1 million bonus tying the Davis to the March 8 Tampa Bay Derby and May 3 Kentucky Derby.

Randy Gullatt, racing manager for Twin Creeks in from Kentucky for the day with his wife, Kim, said: “It’s pretty logical, I’d say,” that Vinceremos will return from the Palm Meadows training center for the Tampa Bay Derby.

Vinceremos was coming off a head victory in a one-mile maiden race on Jan. 4 at Gulfstream. The Davis marked his third career start. The colt was purchased for $340,000 in April at the Keeneland 2-year-old in training sales.

Pletcher watched from Gulfstream Park.

Vinceremos, he said, “is still learning. He has a little trouble once he makes the lead figuring out how to close it out, but he's a horse with some quality and to win a race like this in his third start and first time around two turns is pretty impressive.”

As for Harpoon, “he was a little green inside with the dirt hitting him in the face, and I thought once [Saez] got him angled outside he closed really well. Unfortunately for him, when he angled out, they fanned him way out.”

Matador, making his dirt debut, ran creditably and was perhaps compromised by a stretch incident whereby Joe Rocco Jr., the jockey on a tiring Asserting Bear, inadvertently whacked Matador on the head with his whip.

The $2 exacta (4-1) paid $87.60, the $1 trifecta (4-1-5) returned $197.40, and the 10-cent superfecta (4-1-5-8) was worth $114.14.

A promotional ontrack raffle for Tampa fans will also net $100,000 for Ben Wheelock – whose name was drawn immediately after the Davis – if Vinceremos completes that bonus sweep.

The $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby remains on the Churchill points schedule with 50 points to the winner.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch






Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
I have some lingering questions... The final stages of the race were quite slow. I don't know if there was quite a bit of cushion, but the 82 Beyer seems to say that there was no cushion. Which means Harpoon was passing tired horses... I liked Vinceremos making 2 moves...possibly 3. If you watch the replay, Cousin Stephen gets on even terms with him in deep stretch and Vinceremos found a little extra. I think Harpoon could have benefited from a more tactful ride, but you never know. I also think Harpoon will benefit from this race and may win his next start...providing he is not facing Cairo Prince or some other foe of that caliber. However, he definitely has to take them on eventually. As for Vinceremos, I don't know if that extra kick late keeping Cousin Stephen safe took something out of him; it may have. Cousin Stephen and Matador looked pretty good too. I am looking forward to watching any of these guys race again.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I make no comment on the caliber of the horses or the race. However, the final stages of the race were no slower than any other part of the race, which was slow in general and the track was on the slow side as well. Regarding Vinceremos making two or three moves or if it took something out of him. Personally I liked what I saw, he easily moved into contention on a wide open rail. When he made the lead mid stretch, he pricked his ears and flat out stopped trying, he was loafing big time. The rider hit him twice after he did that, on the second crack and seeing Cousin Stephen coming, he pinned his ears and dug in and was drawing away from that horse. All of this is good news and bad news. But as far as who showed the most potential talent. The winner Vinceremos.
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
The segment went slow. From the 6 furlong mark to the mile, 27 seconds elapsed. The last sixteenth took 7 seconds. Agreed that Vinceremos was impressive; however Harpoon covered a lot more ground. I liked the "blanket" finish. I am looking forward to watching any of these guys race again. Hopefully they all came out in good order.
m More than 1 year ago
WWW More than 1 year ago
great quiet ride by Prado
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I was a critic of the new Churchill point system for the derby from the start.and even though every one seems to love it.i still believe that its flawed and this race is just one more example it seems unfair to me that the host track of the derby can one year say your race gets points and the next year say no points. Deciding this based on eliminating the competition by monopolizing the route to the derby.i wont even get into the fact that it makes it almost impossible for a filly to get in.
michael More than 1 year ago
I like the way this horse had enough to drop back and come again down the complete stretch. He may have been waiting on horses, but not so sure about that aspect. This was a classic Prado ride from the Maryland years. Trainer of year or not, I hope Pletcher doesn't find a way top grind this one down into sawdust.
Joe More than 1 year ago
Basically you just stated that you liked the fact that this horse was still green, which is not a quality most would admire in their race horses or horses they cheer for. Also stated that TAP is a butcher and will grind him into saw dust just like the rest of his horses. You should be a steward!
Greg More than 1 year ago
Go to equibase for all your handicaping needs!!
Hail No More than 1 year ago
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James Mcrae More than 1 year ago
great race from 1st to 4th its early so they all can improve off this race itd be nice to see them go at it again a couple more times
Perl More than 1 year ago
Looked like a weak race.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Worst track announcer in North America. I mean, c'mon.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
c'mon Frank Miramahn isn't that bad..
Perl More than 1 year ago
Isn't it Richard Grunder?
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Sorry, my joke font wasn't working
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
as an addendum in no way did I want to discredit the winner - very impressive. to me he does not re-rally as much as wait on the others and get going again. he kinda was playing ...