2023 Sam F. Davis Stakes & Suncoast Odds and Picks

The main event at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday is the G3 2023 Sam F Davis Stakes, a Kentucky Derby prep headlined by G2 winner Dubyuhnell and G3 winner Champions Dream, but the spotlight will fall on the ungraded Suncoast, in which champion juvenile filly Wonder Wheel and unbeaten Julia Shining go head to head in a mouthwatering clash.

Sam F. Davis Stakes

G3, $250,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo, 5.18pm ET

There’s a full field for the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday and Road to the Kentucky Derby points for the first five home on a 20-8-6-4-2 basis.

The clear favorite is Dubyuhnell (9-5), who already has ten RTKD points thanks to his victory in the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct in December, when he stayed on stoutly over the Big A’s mile-eighth to thwart Arctic Arrogance – runs in the Withers at Aqueduct today – by a half-length, the pair drawing well clear of the third horse on a sloppy track. That was a solid effort with the promise of better to come, and his forward style of going should make light of the slight cutback.

The other Graded winner in the field is Champions Dream (9-2), who got up late to win the short-field G3 Nashua at Aqueduct over a mile. He failed to build on that next time when runner-up to Zydeceaux (20-1), beaten a neck, in a seven-furlong stakes here, but was giving the winner 6lb and should flip that form on revised terms.

Todd Pletcher has won this a record six times and sends Litigate (5-1), who’ll need to move up quite a way following his runner-up spot in a Gulfstream Park allowance optional claimer, when he was five and three-quarter lengths behind the smart winner. There’s probably more to come but that was a heavy defeat, while Prairie Hawk (6-1) has won twice here over the extended mile, making every yard to beat Groveland (12-1) by a length in an AOC latest, and looks ready for this class hike.

2023 Sam F. Davis Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseJockeyOdds by JazzSports
WorthingtonPablo Morales+2000
Prairie HawkSamy Camacho+600
Classic LegacyJunior Alvarado+1200
LaverJose E. Morelos+1500
GrovelandDaniel Centeno+1200
Classic Car WashEmisael Jaramillo+2000
DubyuhnellJose L. Ortiz+180
NotahAntonio A. Gallardo+3000
Champions DreamTyler Gaffalione+450
Dreaming of KonaScott Spieth+1200
LitigateLuis Saez+500
ZydeceauxSamuel Marin+2000

This could be at the mercy of the strong stayer DUBYUHNELL, who looked a very promising type when winning the G2 Remsen and should continue to improve.

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Suncoast Stakes

Ungraded, $150,000, 1m 40y dirt, 3yo fillies, 4.48pm ET

Two potential stars of the summer take each other on in the Suncoast, a prep for the Kentucky Oaks with 20 points on offer to the winner.

Celebrity stardust comes from Wonder Wheel (evens), winner of the G1 Alcibiades and G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland and an almost unanimous choice as champion two-year-old filly. She may not be at her absolute peak today, with a long and hopefully glorious campaign ahead, but she sets a very high standard.

Her main rival is the unbeaten Julia Shining (5-2), a sister to mighty dual champion Malathaat, who was so game when grabbing the mile-eighth G2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct in December, getting there on the line to win by a neck. She’ll stay further so the cutback may not be what she wants, but she has a stack of class.

Her main rival is the unbeaten Julia Shining (5-2), a sister to mighty dual champion Malathaat, who was so game when grabbing the mile-eighth G2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct in December, getting there on the line to win by a neck. She’ll stay further so the cutback may not be what she wants, but she has a stack of class.

Suncoast Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyOdds by JazzSports
Wonder WheelTyler Gaffalione+100
Opus Forty TwoDaniel Centeno+1000
Charlie’s WishEmisael Jaramillo+1200
Champagne CallingJulien R. Leparoux+3000
Dreaming of SnowSamy Camacho+1500
Guns n’ GracesHector Rafael Diaz, Jr+1500
Fast TrackedAngel Suarez+2000
Ticker Tape HomeAntonio A. Gallardo+800
Julia ShiningLuis Saez+250

Julia Shining may reach her peak later in the summer so champion WONDER WHEEL looks the better bet now to extend her top-class juvenile form into this campaign

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