Bluegrass Cat and John Velazquez win the Sam F. Davis.

Bluegrass Cat and John Velazquez win the Sam F. Davis.

Tampa Bay Downs

Bluegrass Cat Scratches Out Sam Davis Win

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.

A leading candidate for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Bluegrass Cat won his fourth straight race since losing his debut start in June. The son of Storm Cat-She's a Winner (A.P. Indy) won the Nashua (gr. III) at Belmont Park and the Remsen (gr. II) at Aqueduct to wrap up his 2-year-old season.

Ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, the 7-10 favorite bid three wide coming off the far turn in the 1 1/16-mile test, got a short lead in upper stretch, and held off the stubborn Deputy Glitters for a 1 1/4-length triumph. The final time was a solid 1:44.17, less than a second off the track record.

"He was a fresh horse and ran exactly the way we wanted him to," Pletcher said. "Our intention is to return for the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III)."

Bluegrass Cat stalked the leaders in third into the final turn behind Laptop Computer and Deputy Glitters, who was hung out five wide on the first turn for rider Jose Lezcano. Laptop Computer set fractions of :23 4/5, :47 4/5 and 1:12 3/5 before coming under pressure from both Deputy Glitters and Bluegrass Cat, who angled out for his charge.

"I was in a comfortable position," said Velazquez. "He rated perfectly. He has done everything we have asked him to do so far."

The winner earned $60,000 for the win and has now banked $273,780 in his career.

He paid $3.40, $3 and $2.60. Deputy Glitters returned $26.40 and $11.20, rounding out a healthy $115.60 exacta. It was 4 1/4 lengths back to R Loyal Man ($4), who flattened out in the stretch under Manoel Cruz as the 11-2 second choice in the field of 10.

Then came Little Cliff, Seaside Retreat, Hesanoldsalt, Laptop Computer, Pegasusbystorm, Blazing Rate, and Sweet Grass Creek. Electrify and Right Flanker scratched.

The all source handle record was set on the twelve-race card at $7,430,768, with over $700,000 wagered on-track. It is the first $7 million dollar day in Tampa Bay Downs history.

Endeavour Breeders' Cup
Charlotte Weber's My Lordship won the $125,000 Endeavour Breeders' Cup by a length over Sabine Stable's Laurafina. Two-time grade I winner Amorama finished a dull third as the heavy favorite in a field of 10.

The Bill Mott-trained My Lordship sat off the pace of Zona, who rattled off fractions of :23 1/5, :47, 1:10 3/5 for six furlongs, before being headed in the stretch by My Lordship and Laurafina. Under the precise handling of Cornelio Velasquez, My Lordship found room and was able to hold Laurafina safe at the wire. She finished the 1 1/16-miles event in 1:40 1/5 on a firm turf course. My Lordship returned $9.40, 5.00, and 3.00. Laurafina paid $5.60 and 2.80, while the French-bred Amorama returned $2.40 to show.

The Endeavour was the third stakes win in a row for the homebred daughter of Lord Avie. The $75,000 payday pushed her career earnings to $474,463 in 16 starts.

(Chart, Equibase)