Oldsmar, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Ocean Knight, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.,
drove through the stretch on his way to victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F.
Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
The 1 1/16-mile Davis Stakes is the final local prep for the $350,000 Tampa
Bay Derby on March 7.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Stonestreet Stable, Ocean Knight was making
just his second career start in the Davis after winning his debut effort in
December. The colt broke from post 11 in the 12-horse field and stalked the
leaders up the backstretch.
Ocean Knight, a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, went wide around the
final turn and into the stretch to challenge 28-1 longshot Divining Rod for
the lead. The 8-5 favorite drew even with Divining Rod at the 100-yard mark
and was able to go on and post a neck victory.
“He did (bring back memories of Curlin), but it’s hard to say because I was
jumping up and down so much,” Stonestreet owner Barbara Banke said.
“We knew he was fast. He had been hauling everything else around the training
center all year long. (On the turn for home), though, we thought he had had
it. He was clear, but he was wide and it’s tough to run down speed.”
My Johnny Be Good, the 7-2 co-second pick, was third with 9-2 choice Ami’s
Flatter fourth followed by 7-2 pick Catalina Red, Crittenden, Royal Son,
Coomer, Bears Personality, Brother Bobo, Bandages and G Five.
The time for the Davis was 1:43.74 on a fast track, a fifth of a second off
the stakes record set by General Quarters in 2009.
Ocean Knight garnered $120,000 for the win to remain perfect in two starts.
“I had ridden (Ocean Knight) before so I knew he would wait until I asked him.
We were good from the gate,” Ortiz noted, “and I was able to get position just
outside the lead group. Mr. McLaughlin told me he had been training up to the
race very well and to just relax, wait with him and set him down into the
“When I asked for run he just went after the horse on the lead a like a good
horse should. I really hope I get to ride him back in those big races coming
Ocean Knight returned $5.20, $3.60 and $3.00. Divining Rod paid $17.60 and
$8.80, My Johnny Be Good paid $4.40 to show.