Andromeda's Hero Claims Sam F. Davis Stakes

(from Tampa Bay report)
The Nick Zito-trained Andromeda's Hero flew past 52-1 shot Summer Legacy in the final furlong and powered home to a convincing 2 ½-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs.

Zito used last year's Davis as a springboard to the Triple Crown for The Cliff's Edge, who ran second.

Andromeda's Hero, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus , was attempting two turns for the first time in the Davis but looked like he wanted to go around again. He finished in a time of 1:46.63.

After breaking from the outside 12th post position, Andromeda's Hero, with Rafael Bejarano in the irons, was bumped soundly as he raced at least five-wide around the clubhouse turn well behind early leader Nicandro, who led the 12-horse field through fractions of :22.90, 46.97 and 1:12.38.

Racing in the rear of the pack up the backstretch, Andromeda's Hero made an athletic move rounding the turn to reach contention.

Fourth but gaining at the eighth pole, Bejarano – Aqueduct's leading rider who flew in for the day – was able to angle out and Andromeda's Hero did the rest as he bolted past Tampa based runner Summer Legacy, who finished second, 6 ½ lengths ahead of Captain Lindsay.

"This is a very nice colt," Bejarano said. "He's only run three times before and looks to be improving."

Owner Robert V. LaPenta, who also owned Davis entry mate G P's Black Knight in partnership with golf hero Gary Player, was in attendance Saturday. He indicated that Andromeda's Hero could return to Tampa for the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) on March 19.

G P's Black Knight finished ninth.

The entry left the gate as the 9-5 wagering favorite and Andromeda's Hero returned $5.60, $3.60 and $2.80.

Summer Legacy ($26, $10.40) completed a $136.40 exacta. Captain Lindsay was $4.60.

(Chart, Equibase)