SAM F. DAVIS STAKES | PURSE: $250,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 3 | 1 1/16 MILES
WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC's Vinceremos pulled off the upset by a nose in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Sam F. Davis for three-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs. Off as the 12-1 fifth choice, the colt paid $26.80 for the score.
The Todd Pletcher charge vied for the lead from the start down on the inside of pacesetter Cousin Stephen, who led the field through opening fractions of :24 ⅕, :48 ⅗ and 1:13 ⅗.
Vinceremos faded back to fourth as the field entered the far turn, while Asserting Bear and School On a Hill moved up to challenge the leader. Vinceremos looked like he might have been out of the race, but held on to his position down along the rail and surged back to challenge turning for home, taking a 1 ½-length lead with a furlong to go.
All the while, 3-2 second choice Harpoon also fought back after dropping back to sixth near the top of the stretch. He was forced to angle out four wide and came powering home on the outside, but ran out of room as Vinceremos got up just in time for his first stakes victory.
Harpoon, who completed the Pletcher exacta, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Cousin Stephen, who was a neck better than Matador in fourth. Asserting Bear and School On a Hill, were fifth and sixth, respectively. The 3-2 favorite Noble Cornerstone never got involved after breaking a bit slow and finished seventh, while Imaginethatmom brought up the rear.
Vinceremos, who was cross-entered to Saturday's Grade 3, seven-furlong Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park, covered 1 1/16 miles over the fast Tampa track in 1:47 ⅕ with Edgar Prado up. He was runner-up in his only start as a two-year-old on November 30 and broke his maiden by a head on January 4, both races coming at Gulfstream Park.
The son of Pioneerof the Nile banked $120,000 for the win to boost his bankroll to $153,600 from a 3-2-1-0 line.
Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall, Vinceremos is out of the More Than Ready mare Kettle's Sister, who is a half-sister to Grade 3-placed Cognac Kisses and Kettle Won. The dark bay's third dam is Safely Home, who produced the 1989 champion sprinter, Safely Kept. His female family also includes Grade 2 winners Partner's Hero and Santiva.
Vinceremos initially sold for $140,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale before being purchased as a two-year-old for $340,000 at the Keeneland April sale.