Kentucky Derby 2022: Race Review of the G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes

The wide-open Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs ended up not being as such ... see the particulars below, and where the winner is headed next!
The wide-open Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs ended up not being as such ... see the particulars below, and where the winner is headed next!

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With a large field of 12 drawn-in, the $250k Sam F. Davis Stakes promised to be one of the best wagering opportunities on Saturday. The drama and strong betting leading up to the race did not disappoint … A Grade 3 affair, this stakes action kicks off Tampa Bay Downs’ contribution to the Kentucky Derby Trail. When it comes to “Points,” on the table were 10 to the winner, then 4-2-1 to the 2nd through 4th finishers. Most ‘cappers were convinced that a contentious pace would be a major factor … and it wasn’t …

Taking a look at the tote board Saturday afternoon, you would have noticed that Brian Lynch’s Classic Causeway#3 was the “race-time” favorite … and it was “deserving.” At even money, the chestnut colt, ridden by expert jockey Irad Ortiz, had a couple of options at the break … one strategy was to sit back, and a take a striking position 2-3 spots off the lead. This is a maneuver he had used before, but last time out in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs, it had not helped his cause … he could not catch Smile Happy. Ortiz had another option, which was to try to wrestle the lead away from frontrunning types, and secure the engine. He did precisely that …

Victoria Ranch’s Little Vic #13, who was in the race as an “AE,” for a split second struck the front, but then Lynch’s charge took over. Building a lead steadily, he secured fractions at 22.66, 46.67, 1:11.51, and 1:36.82 … that was more than honest, and even though the colt was threatened by Ed Barker’s Shipsational #8 before the top of the lane, Ortiz repulsed Javier Castellano who was aboard that runner. Coasting … bounding … Ortiz took his mount all the way to the wire. In the end, it was nearly a 4-length victory for the Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper homebred to the tune of 1:42.80.

The rest of the field could only watch in amazement, and they vied for the remaining KYD148 Points. Those went to, by-the-way, Barker’s Shipsational #8; Mark Casse’s Volcanic #10; and finally, Matt Williams’ Strike Hard #11. Each of these entries were over 7/1, but it was Lynch’s Classic Causeway #3 that was the headliner, as the WPS Pool topped $900k; payouts for the colt by Giant’s Causeway included, Win-$5.20, Place-$4.00, and Show-$3.00. Now, it is on to the Tampa Bay Derby, which is schedule for 12 March, and boasts a tidy sum to the Top 4—50, 20, 10, and 5. Word on the street is that both the Lynch and Barker runners will ready themselves for the contest.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues …

Kentucky Derby 2022

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