It is not the major track in Florida, but each year Tampa Bay Downs puts out some good possible Kentucky Derby runners.
Horse racing in Florida sits up much the same as California, with the bigger tracks set up in the southern part of the state, with the little sisters up north.
You have got Santa Anita and Del Mar in the southern part of California, with Golden Gate Fields in the north. In Florida Gulfstream is the signature track located between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, with Tampa situated to the north.
Even though Tampa and Golden Gate live in the shadows of the bigger tracks to the south, they both feature Kentucky Derby prep races.
Saturday the running of the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs will draw the attention of the horse racing world.
A full field of 12 runners will go to post in the 11th race on the Tampa card. Post time is set for 2:02 p.m. PDT.
There are some big name trainers saddling runners.
Smiley Sobotka (Dale Romans/Daniel Centeno/3-1) is the lukewarm morning-line favorite in what looks a like a competitive field. The horse got his first win back in early October, then came back with a second in the Kentucky Jockey Club in late November at Churchill Downs.
Since then, he has put together a series of good works at Gulfstream for the return.
Nova Rags (Bill Mott/Samy Camacho/4-1) is the second choice. The horse is coming off a minor-stakes win over the Tampa track at 7 furlongs with Camacho up. The last time he went two turns he was a fading fourth back in early November. A solid comeback win mixed in with a series of good works makes the horse attractive.
Boca Boy (Cheryl Winebaugh/Antonio Gallardo/5-1) comes in with two wins in four starts and has started in three straight stakes races. The question is the horse has been off since September and jumps back into things in a graded stakes race.
An average series of works for the return was topped off by a bullet work over the track on January 29, but it just seems like this is too much.
Known Agenda (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez/6-1) is one of two Pletcher horses entered, neither are among the early favorites. If I could get the 6-1 here, I would be more than happy to take it.
The last start was a second in the Grade II Remsen back in early December. Velazquez, who was up in the Remsen, is in town to take the ride, certainly an appealing addition to the ticket. A dedicated series of workouts has me feeling the horse is ready to run.
Runway Magic (George Arnold/Julien Leparoux/8-1) is the last of the single-digit runners. Leparoux has been up in all four career starts be it at Gulfstream or Churchill Downs. In his last start, the first as a winner, he was third in a minor stake at Gulfstream. This will be the first time the horse takes on two turns.
Millean (Pletcher/Roberto Alvarado/12-1) is the other Pletcher horse and has not shown a lot to think he is worthy of consideration in this spot.
By Dennis Miller