By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
While Brethren is the morning line favorite in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes, he's a 5-2 favorite, not a 6-5 favorite. Not yet, anyway.
That 5-2 line may be gone with the wind as soon as the tote board opens for the Davis. If you'll recall, Dialed In was installed at 6-1 before the Holy Bull Stakes, and he opened under 2-1.
Before we get into this field, a brief look at recent runnings of the Davis might be instructive. In 2007, Any Given Saturday took the Davis at 1-5 odds for WinStar Farm; in 2008, Fierce Wind shipped into town from South Florida and won at 3-1 odds; local talent General Quarters pulled the upset at 13-1 in 2009; and last year WinStar's Rule easily prevailed at even money.
Brethren is also owned by WinStar Farm, so there's your trend. And he's a deserving favorite--just look at the time of his six-furlong debut. But if you're not willing to accept a short price on Brethren, then you might want to consider a horse with local experience, and take look at the top local jockeys. Three of the top five jockeys at Tampa Bay Downs have mounts in this race.
Heading the leaderboard is Daniel Centeno, who will ride Too Remember for the first time. Too Remember hasn't done much--he's only won five races in six starts. He usually doesn't win by much, so he's got grit. All his starts have come at Calder, where he's one-for-two in stakes races. He looks a little slow for this race, but looks can be deceiving. He's been working steadily in Tampa, and he's 12-1.
Leandro Goncalves, number two in wins at this meeting, rides Beamer, who comes up from Palm Meadows. Most recently, Beamer lost by a dozen to Soldat on a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park, but if you peel one more layer off this onion, you'll see that Beamer broke his maiden by 5 1/2 lengths under Goncalves at Tampa Bay Downs--and he ran a good number doing it. There are a couple of sharp works since the loss to Soldat on Jan. 21.
Luis Garcia, ranked number five at Tampa, holds forth on Watch Me Go, and that's exactly what everyone did last time out, when he won a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race at Tampa by eight lengths. He's never been two turns, but Deputy Minister is his dam sire. Upside potential is there. Upset at 8-1?
Aother horse in the Davis with local racing experience is Litigate, a son of Closing Argument that ran second to Watch Me Go in that allowance. He's blinkers off on Saturday. And then there's the mysterious Ribo Bobo.
Ribo Bobo wheels back 12 days after a bad loss in the Grade III Holy Bull on Jan. 30. Ninth by 19 lengths to Dialed In, he now adds blinkers and blew out three furlongs from the gate in a bullet :36.00 at Calder on Wednesday. In the Holy Bull, he got the fire knocked out of him in the chute after the break. His trainer, Manny Azpura, is a good horseman. I'm liking Ribo Bobo a little at 20-1. Oddly enough, he's the only horse in here that ran in the prep race for the Davis, the Pasco Stakes.
Monzon is very interesting, having beaten Pants on Fire and J J's Lucky Train in the Count Fleet. Each of those finished second next time out in the Grade III Lecomte and the Whirlaway, respectively, and Monzon was shipped South soon after the Count Fleet to aim for this spot. He's 3-1 on the morning line, but his odds might float up if and when Brethren's are driven down.
Washington's Rules was very sharp breaking his maiden last time out. It's very difficult to leave him out, so I'm not going to, not after that quick breeze in preparation for this one. I have a feeling he'll be bet down from 9-2.
3. WASHINGTON'S RULES
4. WATCH ME GO
Longshot: RIBO BOBO
Hard to leave him out: MONZON
"Difficulty, my brethren, is the nurse of greatness--a harsh nurse, who roughly rocks her foster children into strength and athletic proportion." --William C. Bryant