Thoroughbred Racing

Canadians come south for Davis Stakes

Oldsmar, FL ( - Canadian trainers Reade Baker and Mark Casse have each entered a colt to do battle in Saturday's $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Eight 3-year-olds have been entered in the Davis which will have a post-time of 4:25 p.m. (ET).

The 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis is the opening leg of the Tampa Bay Downs Million Dollar Derby Bonus. The owners of any horse that wins the Davis, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on Mar. 8 and Kentucky Derby on May 3 will collect a $1 million bonus.

"This is the time of year when even casual horse racing fans begin focusing on the three-year-olds who look like Kentucky Derby candidates," said Tampa Bay Downs General Manager Peter Berube. "We've been fortunate to have two Kentucky Derby winners use the Tampa Bay Derby as a stepping stone (Street Sense in 2007 and Super Saver in 2010), and the addition of the $1 million bonus gives owners and trainers of the top horses another reason to consider Tampa Bay Downs as a starting point."

Asserting Bear, trained by Baker, will start from post six with Joe Rocco Jr. getting his first ride on the Ontario-bred colt. Owned by Bear Stables, the 3-year-old will be making his 2014 debut in the Davis.

Asserting Bear has won two of six career starts with a second and a third. Racing exclusively at Woodbine last year, the colt won the Coronation Futurity Stakes before finishing second as the even-money favorite in the Kingarvie Stakes.

The 3-year-old has banked $232,157 and will be racing on dirt for the first time at Tampa Bay.

Leaving from the outside post will be Mark Casse's Matador with Julien Leparoux also riding the colt for the first time. This will be the fourth time Asserting Bear and Matador have faced each other.

Owned by John Oxley, Matador won the Cup and Saucer Stakes at Woodbine on Oct. 20 with Asserting Bear getting third. Matador was third and Asserting Bear eighth in the Summer Stakes last Sept. 14 while Casse's colt was seventh in the Coronation on Nov. 17.

Matador has one win in four starts and $178,682.

Another of the entrants to have raced at Woodbine is trainer Wayne Catalano's School On a Hill. The colt will start from post 7 with Ron Allen Jr. getting the mount.

School On a Hill, co-owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, was seventh in the Summer Stakes as the 3-1 favorite. His only win in five starts came in his career debut at Arlington Park on Aug. 22. The colt has earned $31,147.

Here is the field for the Davis in post position order: Harpoon, Luis Saez; Noble Cornerstone, Kent Desormeaux; Imaginethatmom, Abdiel Jaen; Vinceremos, Edgar Prado; Cousin Stephen, Daniel Centeno; Asserting Bear, Joe Rocco Jr.; School On a Hill, Ron Allen Jr. and Matador, Julien Leparoux.

01/29 16:31:24 ET