02/24/2005 12:00AM

Time is right for Get Down to get serious


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Tampa Bay runs three stakes on Saturday's Preview Day program, headlined by the $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes. In addition to the Davis, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, the 12-race card includes the $100,000 Endeavour Stakes for fillies and mares on turf and the $60,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the main track.

The Davis is likely to produce starters for the Grade 3, $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby, while the Suncoast serves as a prep for the $150,000 Florida Oaks, and the Endeavour will offer a glimpse of the local hopefuls for the Grade 3, $125,000 Hillsborough Stakes. The Derby, Oaks, and Hillsborough will be run here on March 19.

, a Doneraile Court colt owned by West Point Thoroughbreds LLC., is among 13 entered in the Davis. He has been preparing for his 2005 debut under the care of Nancy Triola at the Classic Mile Training Center. Triola is a former assistant to West Point Thoroughbreds' main trainer, Rick Violette.

Get Down has run just twice, and shown adaptability. In his debut on Oct. 17 at Woodbine, he went right to the front in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint and led at every pole, earning a respectable 72 Beyer Speed Figure.

Brought back five weeks later over a muddy strip at Woodbine, Get Down added Lasix and rallied from next to last in a six-horse field to win going away at seven furlongs. The horse who finished third in that allowance race, One Smooth Ride, came back in his next start to win the Display Stakes at Woodbine.

Triola said Get Down has been growing and maturing with every passing day.

"We backed off by design," said Triola, "That's why he doesn't show works from November until February. The transitional period from 2 to 3 is so important for a horse, and everyone thought the best path would be to let him grow up and enjoy himself a bit before going back. We're hopeful Saturday he'll show he can compete at the next level."

Household-name trainers Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher will have strong presences in the Davis. Zito will send out Andromeda's Hero and G P's Black Knight, who is owned in part by golfing great Gary Player. G P's Black Knight was pulled up in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, but came into that race off a close second in the What a Pleasure Stakes.

Pletcher entered Killenaule, winner of the Dover Stakes at Delaware Park and the Storm Cat at The Meadowlands, and third behind Rockport Harbor in the Grade 2 Remsen in New York.