Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Bluegrass Cat tops of group of 36 horses nominated to the $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) that highlights the March 18 Festival Day card at the Florida track.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for owner Winstar Farm, Bluegrass Cat has won four in a row, including setting a stakes record victory as the favorite in the Feb. 18 Sam F. Davis. "Our intention is to return for the Tampa Bay Derby," Pletcher said after the Sam F. Davis.
The son of Storm Cat
has $273,780 in career earnings, including a win in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct in November of last year, and is the expected to be the favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby.
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito has nominated eight 3-year-olds for the Derby, among them Great Point, second in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 4, and Little Cliff, who was fourth in the Sam F. Davis.
Also nominated is undefeated El Lobo, a Florida-bred from the barn of local trainer Kathleen O'Connell whose two victories in as many starts came this year at Tampa Bay Downs, including a win at the 1 1/16-mile distance.
Saint Augustus, Sharp Humor, Superfly, Sweetnorthernsaint, Beacon Shine, Reaffirmed, and Almost Certain are the other stakes winners nominated, along with Deputy Glitters, the Sam F. Davis runner-up.
Also on the Festival Day card are the $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, the grade III $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes on the turf, and the $75,000 Turf Dash.