Horse Racing Picks: Sam F.Davis Stakes 2018
Catholic Boy has won 3 of 4 career starts, including an emphatic 4 3/4-length score in the Grade 2 Remsen Dec 2 to close his two year-old campaign. Notably, the Remsen was Catholic Boy’s first start on dirt, stamping this colt as a darkhorse Derby contender (25/1 in current KY Derby Futures @ Bovada). With a win in the Sam F. Davis, Catholic Boy could further elevate his status as a horse to be reckoned with.
Trained by Jonathan Thomas, Catholic Boy’s only blemish came in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf where he finished fourth, beaten just a length and a half. While his sire, More Than Ready, typically produces better turf runners, Catholic Boy is out of a Bernardini mare (Song of Bernadette), further validating his ability to handle the dirt – a point clearly demonstrated in the Remsen. The Sam F. Davis is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than Catholic Boy’s 1 1/8-mile Remsen score, but shouldn’t be an issue for a horse who possesses his tracking speed and strong finishing move.
Those looking to bet against the favorite will have plenty of viable options in a field that doesn’t lack for potential. Here’s a quick look at the group:
1- Navy Armed Guard: Still a maiden after five career starts, this colt fits on figures, but faces a major step up the class ladder
2-Flameaway: Talented Mark Casse trainee is a Grade 3 winner, but looks better-suited for grass. Lone start on fast dirt resulted in poorest finish of career
3- Vino Rosso: 2/2 for two-time KY Derby winning trainer Todd Pletcher. Has done nothing wrong, but will need to be a little bit better here. Plenty of license to improve
4-Septimius Severus: Named for the Roman Emperor from 193-211, the equine version will be making his first start around two turns. Tough spot.
5-Hollywood Star: Dale Romans trainee has hinted at big ability in recent works, but needs to show up with a faster race here than any of his first four starts.
6-Catholic Boy: How good was that Remsen score? Second-place finisher Avery Island came back to win the Grade 3 Withers Stakes last weekend with an 87 Beyer Speed Figure.
7-Vouch: Finished third, beaten 6 1/2-lengths by Catholic Boy in Remsen. Could improve in career start number threee
I like bettting against favorites as much as the next horse player, but only when I see valid and logical reasons to do so. Catholic Boy could be a very short price in this race, but in my estimation, deservedly so. His running style is beautiful and he probably only needs to repeat his Remsen performance to win this race convincingly. Even an effort a notch below that likely still earns the victory.
I’ll lean on Catholic Boy in multi-race bets, while also covering Hollywood Star and Vino Rosso’s numbers for backup.
- 1st: Catholic Boy
- 2nd: Vino Rosso
- 3rd: Hollywood Star
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