Road to the Kentucky Derby Features Trio of Stakes on Saturday

Michael DempseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2013

Apr 3, 2011; Hallandale, FL, USA; Julien Leparoux (7) aboard Dialed In and jockey Jesus Castanon (5) aboard Shackleford dual down the stretch in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park race course. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

There are three stakes coming on Saturday that will have Kentucky Derby implications.  The Grade 3 $250,000 Sam F. Davis drew the biggest field and appears the toughest race for horseplayers to come up with the winner.

The Grade 2 $200,000 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita drew just four runners, and in the Grade 3 $200,000 Withers at Aqueduct, we have to beat the imposing Todd Pletcher-trained Revolutionary, who is 3-5 on the morning line.

The Sam F. Davis drew a competitive field of 10, including Pasco Stakes winner Dynamic Sky, who along with entrymate Northern Lion are the 9-5 morning line favorites for trainer Mark Casse.

Under the new point system devised by Churchill Downs, the winner of each of the three Derby preps on Saturday will earn 10 points, with the runner-up earning four, third place getting two and fourth earning one point.

Currently, 2012 juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby and multiple stakes winner Goldencents are tied for first in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings with 24 points apiece.

The value of the preps increase as we get closer to the Kentucky Derby, with the final round of major Derby preps worth 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers.

The final round of Derby preps includes the Florida Derby, UAE Derby, Louisiana Derby, Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes. Those races will be run between March 30 and April 13.

This year’s Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4.

Here is a look at today’s Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs:


Tampa Bay Downs Race 11 The Grade 3 $250,000 Sam F. Davis (Post time 5:23 ET)

4. My Name Is Michael   4-1

8. Falling Sky    5-1

1. Northern Lion / 1a Dynamic Sky    9-5

5. Speak Logistics   3-1

My Name Is Michael will be making his first start on conventional dirt here after the colt was a good second last out in the Display Stakes at Woodbine on polytrack. The winner Avie's Quality came back to run poorly in a eighth-place finish in the LeComte (G3) at Fair Grounds in his next outing. Our top pick lands with the hall of fame Bill Mott barn that is 23 percent winners with newcomers to the barn. The colt sure has the pedigree to handle two turns on dirt; by Macho Uno out of a Vindication mare.

Falling Sky was a good-looking winner against Alw-1 optional claimers last out over a wet track and will be going two turns for the first time. The runner-up and third-place finisher in his last start both came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in their next starts. The John Terranova barn also entered him in today's seven-furlong Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park, but goes here, which would indicate the barn is confident the colt can handle two turns.

Dynamic Sky bounced back from a sixth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) with a game win in the Pasco last out, going seven furlongs. The colt had to steady off heels of his stablemate and then angled four wide, finishing up strongly for the win. The stretch out to a route should suit this guy, although the 9-5 morning line seems a tad on the light side.


Morning line and trainer statistics provided by the Daily Racing Form.


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