Sam F. Davis Stakes

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The Sam F. Davis Stakes

Sam F. Davis Stakes Race Facts

  • Location: Tampa Bay Downs, Tampa Bay, FL
  • Inaugural Race: 1981
  • Current Distance: 1 1/16 miles
  • Track Type: Left-Handed Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: Three-year-olds
  • Status: Grade 3
  • 2023 Purse: $250,000
  • 2023 Race Date: Saturday, February 11th

The Sam F. Davis Stakes is typically run in February at Tampa Bay Downs. The Road to the Kentucky Derby prep-race is one of two Kentucky Derby preps held at the Florida track and awards a point spread of 20-8-6-4-2 to the top finishers

2022 Sam F. Davis Race Results

POSTHORSEJOCKEY / TRAINERWIN / PLACE
3Classic CausewayIrad Ortiz, Jr. / Brian A. Lynch$5.20 / $4.00 / $3.00
8ShipsationalJavier Castellano / Edward R. Barker$7.00 / $5.00
10VolcanicEdwin Gonzalez / Mark E. Casse$5.60
11Strike HardLeonel Reyes / Matthew J. Williams
4Golden GliderAntonio A. Gallardo / Mark E. Casse
5God of LoveRafael Manuel Hernandez / Mark E. Casse
13Little VicPaco Lopez / Juan Carlos Avila
12Kitten MischiefManuel Franco / Jonathan Thomas
1Mr Rum RunnerRomero Ramsay Maragh / Patrick L. Biancone
7Make It BigJose L. Ortiz / Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.
2Unpredictable BayAlonso Quinonez / Alnaz Ali
6TrademarkDaniel Centeno / Victoria H. Oliver

Exotic Payoffs:

  • $1 Exacta (3-8) Paid: $19.50
  • $0.50 Trifecta (3-8-10) Paid: $76.05
  • $0.10 Superfecta (3-8-10-11) Paid: $89.40

Watch the 2022 Sam F. Davis Stakes

The History of the Sam F. Davis Stakes

The Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) is a 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-olds held at Tampa Bay Downs in early February. The race offers a purse of $250,000 and is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby with the winner receiving 10 qualifying points. The inaugural race was in 1981, and 10 of the last 11 Sam F. Davis races since 2007 have produced at least one Kentucky Derby runner. The 2017 race had Kentucky Derby points for the first time since 2013, and the race drew its strongest field in years and offered more betting interest and competition. Still, the favorite McCraken won the 2017 Sam F. Davis in a then-record time of 1:42.45 coming from more than four lengths off the pace at the three-quarter pole (McCracken’s reign was short lived as the 2018 edition winner Flameaway beat his time by 1/100th of a second!). Runner up Tapwrit, at 9-1 odds, finished 2nd and he went on to win the 2017 Belmont Stakes.

McCraken’s off the pace style and win was in contrast to 2016 winner Destin, who pressed the pace just off the leader. Both those horses went on to run in the Kentucky Derby. But no Sam F. Davis winner has ever won a Triple Crown race. Destin came closest, losing the 2016 Belmont Stakes by a nose.

Among other notable winners of the Sam F. Davis Stakes that helped it improve its status were Bluegrass Cat (subsequently runner-up in the Kentucky Derby) and grade one winner Any Given Saturday.

The Sam F. Davis Stakes is also an important lead-up to the Tampa Bay Derby, usually held a few weeks later. Destin was the last to complete the double in 2016; others to do so were Phantom Jet (1987), Speedy Cure (1991), Marco Bay (1993), Thundering Storm (1996) and Burning Roma (2001).

Sam F. Davis Stakes Past Winners

YearWinnerJockey/TrainerDistance/Time
2022Classic CausewayIrad Ortiz, Jr. / Brian A. Lynch1 1/16 miles / 1:42.80
2021Candy Man RocketJunior Alvarado / William I. Mott​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.30
2020Sole VolanteLuca Panici / Patrick L. Biancone​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:42.60
2019Well DefinedPablo Morales / Kathleen O'Connell​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:42.70
2018FlameawayJose Lezcano / Mark E. Casse​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:42.44
2017McCrakenBrian Hernandez Jr. / Ian R. Wilkes​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:42.45
2016DestinJohn R. Velazquez / Todd A. Pletcher​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:43.67
2015Ocean KnightIrad Ortiz Jr. / Kiaran P. McLaughlin​1 1⁄16 miles / 1.43.74
2014VinceremosEdgar S. Prado / Todd A. Pletcher​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:47.34
2013Falling SkyJose L. Espinoza / John P. Terranova II​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.79
2012Battle HardenedJulien R. Leparoux / Eddie Kenneally​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.58
2011BrethrenRamon A. Dominguez / Todd A. Pletcher​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:45.07
2010RuleJohn R. Velazquez / Todd A. Pletcher​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.15
2009General QuartersJames Lopez / Mark L. Miller​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:43.54
2008Fierce WindCornelio Velasquez / Nicholas P. Zito​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.13
2007Any Given SaturdayJohn R. Velazquez / Todd A. Pletcher​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.27
2006Bluegrass CatJohn R. Velazquez / Todd A. Pletcher​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.17
2005Andromeda's HeroRafael Bejarano / Nicholas P. Zito​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:46.63
2004Kaufy MateRamsey Zimmerman / Kirk Ziadie​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.60
2003White BuckRoger I. Velez / Jerry P. Paradise​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:45.47
2002Bunk N TedDerek C. Bell / Kenneth B. Wirth​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:49.86
2001§ Burning RomaJuan Umana / Heather A. Giglio​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:45.20
2000Go Lib GoRobert C. Landry / Kenneth G. McPeek​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:44.84
1999San GennaroPedro A. Rodriguez / Richard J. Ciardullo Jr.​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:45.54
1998Dabney CarrKevin Whitley / Elizabeth Zemp-Everard​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:46.20
1997Wilt the TiltLuis Antonio Gonzalez / Cyndi Smith​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:46.00
1996Thundering StormJorge A. Guerra / Don R. Rice​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:47.60
1995AkibaSantos Noe Chavez/ Sonny Hine​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:47.40
1994Parental PressureJack M. Lauzon/Fred H. Loschke​1 1⁄16 miles/1:47.40
1993Marco BayRonald Dale Allen Jr. / Sarah A. Lundy​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:45.60
1992RandyHerson A. Sanchez / Angel Raphael Rosado​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:46.40
1991§ Speedy CureRicardo D. Lopez / Harvey Culp​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:47.80
1990Fiery BestManuel A. Santos / Jose A. Mendez​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:46.00
1989Papa LeonardRobert Woodhouse / Joseph I. Losen​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:46.80
1988House AccountDean Kutz / Thomas F. Proctor​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:46.80
1987Phantom JetK. Keith Allen / Philip A. Gleaves​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:45.20
1986Fellow's LadyRamon Sagardia / Charles Miranda​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:47.40
1985Tamao's GrayRuben A. Hernandez / Curtis N. Spencer7 furlongs / 1:27.00
1984Morning Bob (Division 1)Miguel A. Rivera / Woodford C. Stephens​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:47.00
D. White (Division 2)Jose A. Velez Jr. / Frank A. Alexander1 1⁄16 miles / 1:46.40
1983SavertonKevin Wirth / Glenn S. Wismer​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:47.40
1982Tampa Bay BuckHeriberto Rivera Jr. / Arnold W. Fink​1 1⁄16 miles / 1:47.80
1981Croziers AceBrian L. Mills / Robert E. Van Worp Sr.1 mile & 70 yards / 1:45.40