Tampa Bay: Destin and Reload Stand Out on Record Handle Day for Festival Preview

Tampa Bay: Destin and Reload Stand Out on Record Handle Day for Festival Preview


By Jim Freer

Destin won the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (Grade 3) on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, and in the process gained a top early spot on this year’s list of Triple Crown contenders.

Destin’s impressive victory came on a day when Reload won the $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (Grade 3) in 1:40.15. That was just a half-second off the turf course record for 1 1/16 miles.

Tepin and Weep No More were the other stakes winners on a day when the Oldsmar track set a Festival Preview Day all-sources handle record of $10,743,714.70. That included $469,852 bet by a crowd of 5,351 at the track for the 12-race card.

Tampa Bay Downs has a ten-race program today with a first post of 12:45 p.m.

The highlights of yesterday’s stakes races are below.

Later this weekend, we will have a more detailed review of the Sam F. Davis and how it fits into this year’s Triple Crown prep season.

*Destin beat Rafting by 2 ¼ lengths in the Sam F. Davis at 1 1/16 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds.

John Velazquez rode Destin who won in 1:43.67. It was the second fastest time in the 36-year history of the Sam F. Davis.  General Quarters set the stakes record of 1:43.54 in 2009.

Destin, trained by Todd Pletcher, likely will make his next start in the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 12.

*Tepin beat Lady Lara by 3 ½ lengths in the $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes (Grade 3) at 1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up.

Julien Leparoux rode Tepin, who won in 1:42.91 on the course listed as firm. Mark Casse trains the 5-year-old mare.

The race was the first of 2016 for Tepin. Last year, she won the Breeders’ Cup Mile (Grade 1) in a field that included males at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.  She later was voted the winner of the Eclipse Award as Champion Grass Female for 2015.


*Reload caught the 61-1 shot Take the Stand at the wire and won by a neck in the Tampa Bay Stakes for 4-year-olds and up.

Reload, ridden by Javier Castellano, won in the fast time of 1:40.15. The course record for 1 1/16 miles is 1:39.65, set by Legs Galore in 1999. 


Reload’s time was almost three seconds faster than Tepin’s time on Saturday.


But it should be noted that the Hillsborough had just six horses, and the early tactical fractions were relatively slow for stakes horses.

Take the Stand and Spark Kit, who finished tenth and last, dueled through fast early fractions in the Tampa  Bay Stakes.

Shug McGaughey trains the 7-year-old Reload, who won his second graded stakes. In 2014, he won the one-mile Canadian Turf Handicap (Grade 3) at Gulfstream Park

*Weep No More, at 13-1, rallied from eighth place after a half mile and won the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes at one mile and 40 yards on dirt for 3-year-old fillies.

Weep No More beat Valueable Charmer by 2 ¾ lengths and won in 1:41.69.  Victor Lebron rode Weep No More for trainer George “Rusty” Arnold.


Sam F. Davis Stakes

3 -DESTIN                            10.00 3.80 3.00

5 -RAFTING                                  4.20 3.00

6 -MORNING FIRE                                3.00

$2 EXACTA 3-5 PAID $40.80; $1 TRIFECTA 3-5-6 PAID $83.00; $1 SUPERFECTA 3-5-6-7 PAID $289.90


Hillsborough Stakes

5 -TEPIN                               2.60 2.10 2.10

3 -LADY LARA-IRE                    3.40 2.60

1 -LOVELY LOYREE                            4.20

$2 EXACTA 5-3 PAID $7.40; $1 TRIFECTA 5-3-1 PAID $21.50; $1 SUPERFECTA 5-3-1-4 PAID $40.00


Tampa Bay Stakes

7-RELOAD                                              8.20 4.60 3.20

8 -TAKE THE STAND-ARG                          37.80 15.00

11 -KARIBU GARDENS                                          3.80

$2 EXACTA 7-8 PAID $321.60; $1 TRIFECTA 7-8-11

PAID $1,088.80; $1 SUPERFECTA 7-8-11-6  PAID $8,760.00


Suncoast Stakes

3 -WEEP NO MORE           29.60 12.80 5.80

2 -VALUEABLE CHARMER               11.40 6.80

11 -SMART SHOPPING                                 3.40

$2 EXACTA 3-2 PAID $278.80; $1 TRIFECTA 3-2-11 PAID $931.80; $1 SUPERFECTA 3-2-11-10  PAID $8,539.00