The last of the traditional preps for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is unlikely to have an impact on next week's "Run for the Roses," but Saturday's $100,000-added Derby Trial at Churchill Downs will undoubtedly get the 132nd Spring Meet at historic Churchill Downs off to a rousing start.
WinStar Farm's homebred Bluegrass Cat kicked off his 3-year-old campaign with a dogged victory over 63-1 shot Deputy Glitters in the $121,000 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday.
What has happened to the Sam F. Davis Stakes? Saturday's race has drawn a field that in the past would have been considered a super field for the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), for which the Davis has been an obscure prep. Perhaps the presence of so many accomplished horses can be attributed to Gulfstream Park's configuration.
Several of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps fell apart last weekend, and the Southern California invaders got hammered by the boys up North in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), but we did see an honest, classy colt in Cause to Believe, and there was plenty of other news on the Derby trail.
Sun Coast racing fans 5,459 strong turned out for opening day at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, making it the largest opening day crowd in the track's history, up 6 ½% over last year's opener. On-track wagering was a healthy $558,242, up 25%, out of a total all source handle of $3,759,918, a jump of approximately 19% over last season's opening day handle, according to track officials.
Deputy G, ridden by Gary Stevens, overcame a stumble at the start and turned back the stretch rally by R Loyal Man for a half-length victory in the $176,250 grade III Bashford Manor Stakes for 2-year-olds, the closing day feature at Churchill Downs.
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