McCraken remained undefeated, proved his ability to win outside Churchill Downs, and climbed the Kentucky Derby (G1) leaderboard in the span of 1:42.45 last Saturday when taking his season debut in the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Worth 10 Derby qualifying points to the winner, the Sam Davis was the first start of the season for McCraken, who went three-for-three at Churchill last season and will reportedly make his final two Derby preps in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) next month, worth 50 points to the winner, and the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland in April, worth 100 points to the winner.
While McCraken currently sits at #3 on the leaderboard, the remaining Sam Davis points weren’t enough for either runner-up Tapwrit or third-place finisher State of Honor to crack the Top 20. Both could come back in the Tampa Bay Derby to challenge McCraken again.
Two colts that failed to significantly improve their position on the Derby leaderboard in last weekend’s lone prep were Wild Shot and No Dozing. While both marginally added to their non-restricted stakes earnings that act as a tie-breaker, both finished out of the money in the Davis.
Wild Shot, third in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and second to McCraken in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last season, took a brief lead in mid-stretch after racing wide most of the way and then petered out to finish fourth. No Dozing, fourth in the Breeders’ Futurity and second in the Remsen (G2), finished a dull sixth.
Two preps worth 10 points to the winner are on tap for the upcoming three-day holiday weekend: Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields and Monday’s Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn.