1 of 2 | No More Time wins Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, a Kentucky Derby prep. Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Downs
Feb. 12 (UPI) -- No More Time joined the growing list of legitimate Kentucky Derby prospects with a front-running win in the weekend's major prep race, the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida.
Heats for Kentucky Oaks prospects also were on the slate, along with a surprising amount of action in the turf sprint division.
We start with:
The Road to the Rose
No More Time wasted no time getting over to the rail and into the lead in Saturday's $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, and then held off a late bid by Agate Road to win by 1 1/4 lengths. The only rival who ever put a head in front of the winner was a loose horse who soon was corralled by an outrider.
No More Time, a Not This Time colt, picked up 20 "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points, putting him at the No. 6 spot on the leaderboard.
"That was a monster move," said winning trainer Jose D'Angelo, who got his first graded stakes win. "He took the lead with no problem today. I said before the race we wanted a good start and we'll see what happens, but he did it on his own."
D'Angelo indicated No More Time, based at Palm Meadows, might be back for the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9.
Out West at Golden Gate Fields, Endlessly launched a powerful late rally to land Saturday's $100,000 El Camino Real Derby by 1 1/4 lengths over Tapalo.
The Oscar Performance colt, trained by Michael McCarthy, ran 1 1/8 miles on the all-weather track in 1:50.68 with Umberto Rispoli up. He won his first three starts, all on the turf, including Grade III scores at both Santa Anita and Del Mar, before finishing eighth, beaten just 3 3/4 lengths, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
The Path to the Oaks
Kinza blasted right to the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita, was never challenged and won by 2 lengths over Kopion.
The Carpe Diem filly, out of the Quality Road mare Secret Wonder, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37.03 with Juan Hernandez riding for trainer Bob Baffert. She improved to 2-for-2.
The race offered 20 Kentucky Oaks points to the winning filly but Kinza wasn't able to cash that ticket, as Baffert and his horses are banned from participation in the Oaks as well as the Derby.
Power Squeeze stalked the pace in Saturday's $150,000 Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, took the lead heading for home and won by 2 3/4 lengths from Whocouldaskformo.
Power Squeeze, a Union Rags filly, now has three straight wins at three different tracks.
Saddle Up Jessie, the virtually even-money favorite, led the way in Saturday's $150,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational at 1 mile at Aqueduct and won easily, by 2 1/2 lengths over Movie Moxie.
Saddle Up Jessie, with Manny Franco riding for trainer Brittany Russell, now has five wins and two seconds from her last eight starts.
Big City Lights, the odds-on favorite, was just up in the final go in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita, defeating pacesetter Hopkins by a nose.
Big City Lights, a 5-year-old son of Mr. Big, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.91. Flavien Prat rode for trainer Richard Mandell. Big City Light earned his first graded stakes victory and now has five wins and four seconds from nine starts.
Valentine Candy chased down pacesetting Time for Truth in the stretch run of Saturday's $150,000 Ozark Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park and went by that one for a 2 1/2-lengths, seasonally appropriate victory.
The Justify colt, trained by Steve Asmussen, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.32 on a muddy track, notching his third straight win.
Nice as Pie was smooth as silk in Saturday's $125,000 Valdale Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the Turfway Park all-weather, rallying to the lead in the stretch, drawing clear quickly and winning by 2 1/4 lengths, geared down.
The Tapiture miss, sent off as odd-on favorite, got her third straight win, all at the northern Kentucky track.
Missed the Cut cut the corner into the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita, got through along the rail and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Planetario.
The 5-year-old son of Quality Road ran 1 1/4 miles, starting on the hillside course in 2:01.14 with Joel Rosario up for trainer John Sadler.
Coppola outfinished Panther Island to win Saturday's $125,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint by 1/2 length. With Edgard Zayas in the irons for trainer Dale Romans, the 5-year-old son of Into Mischief ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 54.39 seconds.
Stone Silent pressed the pace in Sunday's $100,000 Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park, took the lead at the top of the stretch and drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths as the even-money favorite.
The 4-year-old Adios Charlie filly backed up a last-race victory in the Abundantia Stakes at the same 5 furlongs.
Chi Town Lady rallied from last of nine to defeat a tough field in Saturday's $50,000 Minaret Stakes for fillies and mares at Tampa Bay Downs.
The 5-year-old Verrazano mare, with Tyler Gaffalione up for trainer Wesley Ward, nipped Unifying by a neck while returning from an eight-months break.
Ward and Gaffalione might have won the companion $50,000 Pelican Stakes if even-money favorite Nakatomi hadn't been hopelessly trapped behind rivals in the stretch. That opened the door for Sibelius to rally for his second straight victory in the event, scoring by a neck over Mish.
On Sunday at Santa Anita, Antifona came from next-last of 11 to capture the $100,000 Sweet Life Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 2 lengths at odds of 10-1.
The French-bred miss, by Recoletos, got her first U.S. win after going 2-for-7 last year in her native land.