Fierce Wind wears down favorite, digs deep to win Sam F. Davis
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com
Feb. 16, 2008 - Fierce Wind moved to the throat of favored Z Humor in late turn, wore that one down in early stretch, turned back a bid from Smooth Air in mid stretch and still found more late to hold off a rallying Big Truck to win the 28th running of the $200,000 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay on Saturday by a half length.
It was a courageous performance by the second choice in the wagering, who was winning his third route race in a row and first stakes, all under jockey Cornelio Velasquez.
Big Truck came with a good wide rally to finish second, of a length in front of Smooth Air, but he was never going to get by the winner, who kept finding more in the drive.
Favored Z Humor pressed pacesetter Honey Honey Honey from the outside after a first quarter of 23 4/5 through fractions of 48, 1:12 4/5 and took a short lead midway through the final turn, but gave way to the winner after a brief battle from late turn to early stretch. Fierce Wind got the mile in 1:37 3/5 while turning back Smooth Air and then dug in again when Big Truck came to him late, getting the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44 over the fast track.
Trained by Nick Zito for Four Roses Thoroughbreds, Fierce Humor paid $8.80 to win and now joins stablemate War Pass on the road to the Kentucky Derby. The son of Dixie Union-Post Parade by A.P. Indy had wired an allowance field at Gulfstream Park in his previous start on January 21 going a mile and an eighth, but showed a new dimension in the Sam F. Davis, coming from off the pace for the first time to win.
Fierce Wind has steadily improved in his last three races, and hes probably got a few more notches in him. He has all the elements required of a solid Kentucky Derby contender - tactical speed, proven ability to go a distance, courage and pedigree (his full-brother Grasshopper was second in the Travers Stakes at a mile and a quarter last year.)
It will be interesting to see what happens if and when the fit and improving Fierce Wind meets stablemate and major Kentucky Derby contender War Pass.
Sam F. Davis Stakes Results and Payoffs
February 16, 2008 - Race 10 Tampa Bay
4 Fierce Wind $8.80 $4.60 $3.40
6 Big Truck $7.60 $5.60
7 Smooth Air $4.20
5 Dynamic Wayne
$2 Exacta 4-6 paid $74.60
$2 Trifecta 4-6-7 paid $348.80
$1 Superfecta 4-6-7-5 paid $2151.10