After shipping in to win the Pasco on January 12, Dynamic Sky will return to Tampa Bay Downs in pursuit of the Grade 3, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile test is one of three graded events on Saturday's lucrative 12-race Festival Preview Day card and serves as a precursor to the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9, with all roads subsequently leading to the Kentucky Derby on May 4.
Dynamic Sky figured to be a solid favorite in his own right, but his price will be even lower due to the fact that's he coupled with promising maiden winner Northern Lion. Both colts are owned by John Oxley and hail from the barn of trainer Mark Casse. Oxley and Casse teamed to win both the Pasco and Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby last year with Prospective, who also finished second in the Sam F. Davis.
Dynamic Sky will seek his third stakes victory from six lifetime starts. He won the Simcoe on Woodbine's Polytrack last September and followed it with a respectable runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity on Keeneland's Polytrack. The son of Sky Mesa concluded his two-year-old campaign with a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. Luis Contreras, who has been up in all five previous starts, retains the mount.
Northern Lion placed in his first two starts before breaking through with a smart 5 1/2-length score over maiden special weight rivals at Gulfstream Park on December 22. The speedy son of Lion Heart was making his first start at two turns that afternoon and figures to add to the early pace with regular rider Patrick Husbands.
Among Dynamic Sky's opponents in the Davis will be a pair of familiar faces, Speak Logistics and Divine Ambition.
Stakes winner Speak Logistics also shipped west for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and reported home one spot behind Dynamic Sky in seventh. He will make his three-year-old debut Saturday for trainer Edward Plesa Jr., winner of last week's Grade 3 Holy Bull with exciting Kentucky Derby prospect Itsmyluckyday. Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Angel Serpa will ride Speak Logistics.
Divine Ambition, who is trained by Darrin Miller, ran a strong third in the Pasco in only his second career start. An easy debut winner at Turfway Park on September 21, the bay colt finished only 2 1/4 lengths behind Dynamic Sky in his first start against winners and will retain the services of jockey Willie Martinez.
My Name Is Michael, who was last seen finishing second in the December 1 Display at Woodbine, has been transferred to the barn of Hall of Famer Bill Mott and will launch his three-year-old season Saturday. Jockey Joel Rosario will be in to ride the intriguing colt. Falling Sky exits a good-looking allowance score at Gulfstream on December 15 and was flattered when the runner-up, Majestic Hussar, came right back to win his next start impressively. Falling Sky is also making his first start for a new conditioner, John Terranova, but he will keep jockey Luis Saez in the saddle.