Spot Plays: Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs & Turfway Park, February 11 2017

Whitham Thoroughbred LLC’s homebred colt McCraken will put his unblemished record on the line in today’s Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs  Photo by Coady Photography

Central and South Florida will play host to the top stakes races in the country this weekend and, as such, I’ll focus my attention on the Sunshine State. Additionally, I’ll provide some bonus coverage of  tonight’s stake at Turfway Park–the $50,000 WEBN Stakes–for three-year-olds on my home circuit of Kentucky.

The highly regarded three-year-old colt McCraken makes his anxiously awaited 2017 debut in the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) from Tampa Bay Downs and is strictly the one to beat on paper at low odds, as the race as figures to have a quick early pace to set up his late kick.  Trainer Ian Wilkes will attempt to knock out two stakes in Oldsmar, Fla. today as he will not only saddle McCraken, but also the War Front colt Bondurant, a Green Sheet favorite, who looks playable at a price in the $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3), which promises to be a great betting race.

Light In Paris (Ire), at 4-1 on the morning line, looks live to give trainer Chad Brown his third win in the past six runnings of the Lambholm South Endeavor (G3) which makes up the last leg of an interesting all-stakes pick three on today’s Tampa program.

The featured race on today’s Gulfstream Park program is the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) which drew a deep field of eight including grade one stakes winners Lukes Alley–winner of the 2016 edition of this race–Beach Patrol and 2-1 morning line favorite Divisidero.

Trainer Mike Maker will send out a formidable three-pronged entry in the 31st renewal of the $50,000 WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park, which kicks off the three-year-old stakes program for 2017 at the Florence, Ky. oval. The English-bred colt Star Empire (GB), who was distanced in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile (G1) in his last start, has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite.

I’ll be featuring races from all over the country on Saturday, February 18 for next week’s installment including the El Camino Real Derby (G3) from Golden Gate Fields, the Royal Delta Stakes (G2) from Gulfstream Park and a pair of stakes races from Laurel Park in Maryland–the Barbara Fritchie Stakes (G2) and the General George Stakes (G3).

Furthermore, on Monday, February 20–President’s Day–I’ll provide FREE selections and analysis for the Razorback Handicap (G3) and the Southwest Stakes (G3) from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

For the Green Sheet‘s FREE Spot Plays for today, Saturday, February 11, click HERE.


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