HRFLA Staff Report
Candy Man Rocket took the lead coming out of the final turn and then held off his stablemate Nova Rags for a one-length victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes for 3-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Sam F. Davis was a first round qualifying race for the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) on May 1 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Saturday’s first four finishers earned 10, 4, 2 and one points, respectively.
Bill Mott trains Candy Man Rocket (photo on home page) for Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and Nova Rags for Michael Shanley.
With Junior Alvarado riding, Candy Man Rocket won the 1 1/16 mile dirt stakes in 1:44.90 on the track listed as Fast. Candy Man Rocket was the second betting choice at 3-1.
Hidden Stash rallied to finish third, a neck behind Nova Rags. Boca Boy, who led until the final turn came in fourth. Known Agenda, the 3-1 favorite, finished fifth in the 12-horse field.
Candy Man Rocket’s win was his second in three career starts, and it came in his stakes debut and his first race around two turns.
Riley Mott, Bill Mott’s son and assistant trainer, said there is a good chance that Candy Man Rocket’s next race will be the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 6.
That race is a second round qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby–with the first four finishers earning 50, 20, 10 and 5 qualifying points, respectively.
Riley Mott said March 6 could be too soon for a next race for Nova Rags.
The Tampa Bay Derby will be this year’s last Kentucky Derby qualifying race at Tampa Bay Downs.
Gulfstream Park has two more Kentucky Derby qualifying points races:|
*The Fountain of Youth (Grade 2), at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 27, is a second round qualifying race.
*The Florida Derby (Grade 1) at 1 1/8 miles on March 27, is a third and final round Kentucky Derby points race. The first four finishers will earn 100, 40, 20 and 10 points, respectively.