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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Catholic Boy Makes 2018 Debut in Sam F. Davis


Will Face Six Others in Oldsmar

Seven entries will try to move forward on the Kentucky Derby Trail on Saturday in the 38th edition of the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, the showcase of a 12-race Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South card at Tampa Bay Downs beginning at 12:13 p.m.

The mile-and-one-sixteenth, Grade III Sam F. Davis on the main track is a Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve points race, awarding 10-4-2-1 points to the first four finishers toward eligibility for the Run for the Roses. The Sam F. Davis is the 10th race of the card.

Saturday’s program is also highlighted by the return to the Oldsmar oval of two-time Florida Cup winner World Approval, this time as an Eclipse Award winner. The 6-year-old gray Champion Turf Male and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner is a sturdy favorite against nine rivals in the 32nd annual Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes for older horses at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf course.

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will make the trip to Tampa Bay Downs to renew acquaintances with World Approval, who drew the No. 7 post.

While he's in town, Velazquez will ride Vino Rosso, an interesting prospect from Todd Pletcher's barn at Palm Beach Downs.

The likely favorite for the Sam F. Davis is Catholic Boy, who won the Grade II Remsen Stakes at on Dec. 2 at Aqueduct in his most recent start. Also headlining the field is Hollywood Star, who finished second last year in both the Grade II Saratoga Special at Saratoga and the Grade III Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The full field for the Sam F. Davis in post position order, with more information about the other entries:

1. Navy Armed Guard, Joan Scott, Jesus Castanon. Navy Armed Guard is still a maiden but has shown some talent in a pair of second-place finishes from five starts.

2. Flameaway, Mark Casse, Jose Lezcano. Flameaway most recently narrowly won the Kitten's Joy Stakes on turn  in early January at Gulfstream Park.

3. Vino Rosso, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez. After breaking his maiden in his debut, he won a two-turn allowance race at the track in his second start.

4. Septimius Severus, George Weaver, Jose Ortiz. A debut maiden winner at Aqueduct on Nov. 25, he finished a distant second to Impact Player in his second start.

5. Hollywood Star, Dale Romans, Joel Rosario

6. Catholic Boy, Jonathan Thomas, Manuel Franco

7. Vouch, Arnaud Delacour, Daniel Centeno. In his most recent start, which was his second one, he finished third, beaten 6 1/2 lengths by Catholic Boy, in the Remsen.

Edited Tampa Bay Downs release with additional content by Dick Downey

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