Zito Leads Tampa Bay Derby Nominations
By Dick Downey
Trainer Nick Zito leads the Sam F. Davis Stakes nominations list with seven, including two apiece from the stables of Marylou Whitney and Robert LaPenta. Trainers Mark Casse and Kenneth McPeek have nominated five each.
Casse’s nominees include the first two finishers in the $100,000 Pasco Stakes on Jan. 12 at Tampa Bay Downs, Dynamic Sky and Sky Commander, both owned by John C. Oxley. The Casse-trained Prospective ran second in last year’s Davis after winning the Pasco, then won the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby.
Zito’s nominations include maiden winners Mountain Eagle and Eton Blue, both homebreds belonging to Marylou Whitney. McPeek has named, among others, Frac Daddy, second in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club last November. Frac Daddy may be entered in the Grade III Holy Bull set for Jan. 26.
Stakes winners nominated to the Davis include the Jane Cibelli-trained Purple Egg, winner of the Dec. 1 Inaugural at Tampa Bay Downs; Display Stakes winner Avie’s Quality, trained by Josie Carroll; Gulfstream Park Derby winner Itsmyluckyday, trained by Edward Plesa, Jr.; Plesa’s Speak Logistics, winner of the In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes; and Seacliff Stakes winner Sr. Quisqueyano, from the barn of Luis Olivares.
Shanghai Bobby, a near-unanimous choice as 2012 Eclipse Award Champion 2-Year-Old Male, is on the list of nominees but is also expected to race in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 26.
The 33rd running of the Sam F. Davis anchors Tampa Bay Downs’ Festival Preview Day card. It’ll be run at 1 1/16 mile on the dirt. The first four finishers will earn points toward the Kentucky Derby.
Owners and trainers of horses not nominated by the deadline have the option of entering by paying a $3,000 supplemental fee.
A full list of the nominations may be viewed here.