Bunk N Ted Overcomes Trouble to Win Sam Davis Stakes

Danny Hutt's Bunk N Ted remained undefeated following a victory in Saturday's $50,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Last after a half-mile, Bunk N Ted overcame a troubled trip to win the local prep for the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) by 2 1/4-lengths. On a sloppy track that yielded slow final times, Bunk N Ted completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:49.86.

Bunk N Ted broke in the air and was five lengths back after an opening quarter-mile run in a slow :25.14. Jockey Derek Bell and Bunk N Ted moved closer to the pace in the subsequent quarter, but were now in the rear of the tightly bunched seven-horse field. Gold Phantom continued to set a deliberate pace under Juan Umana (half in :51.20, six furlongs in 1:16.58) as Bunk N Ted moved ahead of Tails of the Crypt. Bunk N Ted's traffic trouble continued. He was steadied heading into the second turn, then was boxed in from the quarter-mile pole to mid-stretch before showing an impressive turn of foot once sent out wide for running room.

"This horse just is so much the best," said Bell. "I just had to stay there and be patient, I waited and he exploded."

Tails of the Crypt finished second, followed by Raymond Springs, Gold Phantom, Mazoolian Ghost, Eddie B. Ready, and Expected Hour.

Bunk N Ted earned $21,000 for the win, his third in as many starts. Bunk N Ted defeated subsequent Prevue Stakes winner Perfect Drift by a neck in a Churchill Downs maiden race in November when both horses were making their racing debuts. Trained by Hutt for his debut, in which he also overcame a troubled trip, Bunk N Ted has been saddled by Kenneth Wirth since shipping to Tampa Bay Downs. Bunk N Ted drew away to a 12-length victory in a Tampa Bay Downs allowance race on a "good" track prior to the Sam Davis. Bunk N Ted has now won one more race than Hutt's previous Kentucky Derby starter Celtic Warrior.

"We will know in a couple a days but he is right on course to run in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 17th," said Wirth.

Bunk N Ted is by the Danzig stallion Belong to Me and is out of the Synastry mare Littlemountaingirl. His second dam, Come My Prince, produced grade- and group-I winner Palace Music, sire of Cigar. Lazy E Ranch bred the $30,000 yearling purchase in Kentucky.

Bunk N Ted returned $5, $3.60, and $2.40. Tails of the Crypt paid $3.20 and $2.40. Raymond Springs was worth $3.20 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $14.40. (Chart, Equibase)