Tips and Analysis for the Sam F. Davis and the El Camino Real Derby

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Tips and Analysis for the Sam F. Davis and the El Camino Real Derby
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Two prep races are taking place at horse tracks on each side of the country this weekend, featuring 3-year-old thoroughbreds vying for a spot in the starting gate at this year’s Kentucky Derby in only 83 days.

These key races, part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, are the El Camino Real Derby in Northern California and the Sam F. Davis Stakes in South Florida.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby

The Road to the Kentucky Derby series is made up of 48 races. Points are awarded to the top four finishers in each race. Each week, the new points are added to points from previous races during this series to determine each horse’s overall position on the leaderboard.

The winner in each of this weekend’s stakes races is awarded 10 points, the runner-up gets four, the third horse earns two and the fourth-place finisher gets a single point.

More points are available in the most important graded stakes races leading up to the May 7 Kentucky Derby. Races with higher point totals begin next week.

This series began on Sept. 18 with the Iroquois for 2-year-old thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs. It will conclude with the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 16, three weeks before the Run for the Roses.

The field is limited to 20 horses, and we will be covering the series race by race. We will update the 2022 Kentucky Derby qualifier leaderboard on an ongoing basis, so you should bookmark this page.

Current 2022 Kentucky Derby Qualifier Standings

Rank HorsePoints Earnings
1 Pappacap 14 $558,000
2 Epicenter 14 $100,000
3 White Abarrio 12 $186,850
4 Mo Donegal 12 $161,500
5 Rattle N Roll10 $300,000
6 Jack Christopher 10 $275,000
7 Make It Big 10 $240,000
8 Smile Happy 10 $234,410
9 Slow Down Andy 10 $180,000
10 Major General 10 $177,525
11 Dash Attack 10 $172,500
12 Early Voting 10 $137,500
13 Call Me Midnight 10 $123,500
14 Courvoisier 10 $83,750
15 Barber Road 8 $239,700
16 Commandperformance 6 $200,000
17 Classic Causeway 6 $126,100
18 Giant Game 4 $182,500
19 Simplification 4 $140,070
20 Cabo Spirit 4 $112,000

Sam F. Davis Stakes Distance, Purse, Date

Track: Tampa Bay Downs, Tampa, Fla.

Inaugural Race: 1981

Distance: 1 1/16 mile

Surface: Dirt

Status: Grade 3

2022 Race Date: Saturday, Feb. 12

Sam F. Davis Field with Opening Lines and Odds

In the past 12 years, the Sam F. Davis Stakes has propelled 13 thoroughbreds into the starting gate at Churchill Downs, with a couple of 3-year-olds performing well but not quite crossing the finish line first in the Run for the Roses.

The Sam F. Davis is held at Tampa Bay Downs, a historic track hosting races since 1926. Located just northwest of downtown Tampa near the Gulf Coast, Tampa Bay Downs is the only thoroughbred track in the western part of the state.

In addition to Saturday’s Derby prep race, Tampa Bay Downs is home to one of the pivotal Triple Crown preludes, the $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. This March 12 Derby qualifying race awards points on a 50-20-10-5 basis.

The Sam F. Davis puts Florida in the racing-world spotlight for the second week in a row.

Last weekend, the Holy Bull was run at Gulfstream Park near Miami on the other side of the state. White Abarrio pulled off the upset at Gulfstream to claim 10 Derby qualifying points, covering the track’s 1 1/16 miles in 1:42:80, upending quality horses such as Simplification and Mo Donegal for the win.

Not surprisingly for South Florida at this time of the year, the weather on Saturday promises to be warm and humid. The high temperature is projected to be 80 degrees, with a 10% chance of precipitation and 61% humidity.

Field for the Sam F. Davis Stakes

Position HorseTrainer RiderOdds
1 Mr Rum Runner Patrick L. Biancone Romero Ramsay20-1
2 Unpredictable Bay Alnaz Ali Alonso Quinonez20-1
3 Classic Causeway Brian A. Lynch Irad Ortiz, Jr.3-1
4 Golden Glider Mark E. CasseAntonio A. Gallardo12-1
5 God of Love Mark E. CasseRafael Manuel Hernandez10-1
6 Trademark Victoria H. OliverDaniel Centeno15-1
7 Make It Big Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.Jose L. Ortiz9-2
8 Shipsational Edward R. BarkerJavier Castellano6-1
9 Howling Time Dale L. RomansJoseph Talamo5-1
10 Volcanic Mark E. CasseEdwin Gonzalez12-1
11 Strike Hard Matthew WilliamsLeonel Reyes6-1
12 Kitten Mischief Jonathan ThomasManuel Franco12-1
13 Little Vic Juan Carlos AvilaPaco Lopez15-1

NOTE: No. 9 Howling Time has been scratched

Picks and Analysis for 2022 Sam F. Davis Stakes

The 13-horse field includes early favorites Make It Big (9-2), Classic Causeway (3-1), Howling Time (5-1), and Strike Hard and Shipsational (both 6-1).

Trained by Brian A. Lynch, Kentucky-bred Classic Causeway in three starts has a first, second and third-place finish, earning a career of $181,100.

Others to watch include Make It Big, undefeated in three starts, and a possible surprise horse, Golden Glider (12-1), unbeaten in two starts.

Another to watch is Mark Casse-trained God of Love (10-1), coming off a November win in the Grey Stakes (G3).

El Camino Real Derby Distance, Purse, Date

Track: Golden Gate Fields, Berkeley, CA

Inaugural Race: 1982

Distance: 1 1/8 mile

Surface: Synthetic

Status: Grade 3

2022 Race Date: Saturday, Feb. 12

El Camino Real Derby with Opening Lines and Odds

This race is held at the only major horse track in Northern California, Golden Gate Fields, located north of Oakland along the San Francisco Bay shoreline, not far from the University of California, Berkeley campus.

In addition to awarding the winner 10 points in the quest for a spot at Churchill Downs in Louisville, this $100,000 race grants the top finisher a guaranteed entry at another Triple Crown race, the May 21 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico in Maryland.

The El Camino Real Derby, first run in 1982 and held at Golden Gate since 2009, puts horses to the test on 1 1/8 miles of all-weather, synthetic Tapeta Footings track. Previous winners include Rombauer, who won the 146th Preakness Stakes last year.

One thoroughbred highlighting this year’s El Camino Real Derby is Mackinnon, son of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

On American Pharoah’s way to a Triple Crown sweep, the legendary thoroughbred won the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series we will highlight in April.

For those attending the race this Saturday, typical East Bay weather is in store. The high Saturday is expected to be 74 degrees under partly cloudy skies, with only a 4% chance of precipitation.

Field for the El Camino Real Derby

Position HorseTrainer RiderOdds
1 Stormy Samurai Jack Steiner William Antongeorgi III8-1
2 Mackinnon Doug F. O'Neill Abel Cedillo8-5
3 Unraptured Tim McCanna Armando Ayuso10-1
4 Blackadder Bob BaffertEdwin A. Maldonado7-2
5 Nuestro Engreido Rondan FelixRivera Santos20-1
6 Boice Wong JonathanEvin A. Roman9-2
7 Dr Pescado Rondan Felix Pedro M. Terrero15-1
8 Meetmeattheclub Daniel FrancoSilvio Ruiz Amador50-1
9 C'Mon Man McLean BillIrving Orozco15-1
10 Il Belator Josa BautistaAlejandro Gomez20-1
11 Del Mo Doug F. O'NeillFuentes Ruben10-1

Picks and Analysis for 2022 El Camino Real Derby

Mackinnon (8-5) could be the star of this 11-horse field. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the chestnut son of legendary horse American Pharoah, is expected to close strong en route to an impressive finish.

Mackinnon has had seven starts, with three wins and one finish each in second and third place, compiling $333,860 in earnings.

A Bob Baffert-trained horse, Blackadder (7-2), along with Boise (9-2) and Stormy Samurai (8-1), can be counted upon to challenge for the top spot, or at least pick up Derby-qualifying points.

Del Mo (10-1) might end up as a surprise finisher.

Final Recap

The El Camino Real Derby and Sam F. Davis Stakes will give a combined eight horses Derby qualifying points in the exciting 2022 sprint to the Triple Crown.

Since you are interested in the sport of kings, you should check out our horse race betting page. It contains a lot of great information, and we will be tightly focused on the Road Kentucky Derby every step of the way, so you should come back to visit us.

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Larry Henry

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