Dubyuhnell enters Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) as the most accomplished of the 12 three-year-olds vying for Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points in the 1 1/16-mile test at Tampa Bay Downs, but the race could easily prove more wide open than that.
A son of Good Magic, Dubyuhnell is 2-for-2 since adding blinkers for his second start, the most recent of which was a half-length win in the Dec. 3 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct over nine furlongs. He’ll be favored to add to his Derby point total in the Davis, which offers 20-8-6-4-2 points to the respective top five finishers.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has the most Sam Davis wins of any trainer, six, and will rely Saturday on Litigate. A debut winner over 6 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct, the son of Blame was a distant second last time in a one-mile Gulfstream allowance to Cyclone Mischief, the well beaten favorite in last week’s Holy Bull (G3).
Also making his stakes debut is Classic Legacy, an Into Mischief half-brother to recent Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner Art Collector. Like fellow Bill Mott trainee Rocket Can, the Holy Bull winner, Classic Legacy has improved with experience, most recently graduating by more than three lengths in his third lifetime appearance.
Exiting a one-two finish in a Jan. 13 allowance over the Tampa strip are Prairie Hawk, a Curlin half-brother to Grade 2 winner and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) runner-up Quip, and the Godolphin homebred Groveland, a son of Street Sense produced by a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 turf star Better Lucky.
Others who might get a look from bettors include Zydeceaux and Champions Dream, who were separated by a neck at the finish of the seven-furlong Pasco S. at Tampa last month. Dreaming of Kona was elevated to first in the Jan. 1 Mucho Macho Man S. at Gulfstream, though the form of that race took a hit in last week’s Holy Bull, while Worthington tries dirt for the first time after finishing third in the Dania Beach S. over the Gulfstream turf.