Falling Sky likely for Tampa Bay Derby
Oldsmar, FL (Sports Network) - A firm decision has yet to be made, but Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Falling Sky is a strong candidate for the $350,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on March 9.
Trained by John Terranova II, Falling Sky defeated Pasco Stakes winner and 17-10 favorite Dynamic Sky by a neck after setting most of the pace in the 1 1/16-mile Davis. It was the first start around two turns for the 3-year-old colt.
"I don't think going longer will be a problem," Terranova said. "Obviously, coming back here (for the Tampa Bay Derby) is an option. I love this place. We thought he would be a natural route horse."
Falling Sky got the benefit of having Jose Espinoza in the saddle, replacing Luis Saez who remained at Gulfstream Park last Saturday.
"Mr. Terranova is my main man, and I was glad to get this ride and to win the race for him," Espinoza said. "It wasn't a perfect trip. He hopped coming out, and we were chasing horses early on. But I didn't have to use him to get the lead; he did it pretty much on his own and was relaxed for me getting to the stretch."
Angel Serpa, rider of fourth-place finisher Speak Logistics, entered an objection against Falling Sky which the stewards ruled against.
"I know (Serpa) didn't have enough room to go through," Espinoza noted. "My horse was very strong and he was switching leads and leaning in slightly, and there was not much room to go through.
"When he tried to make it, he bumped my horse from behind and lost momentum. I didn't know what was going on, but I heard yelling and took a hold of my horse. My horse kept very straight and I had a ton of horse at the top of the stretch. He's smart, and when he saw (Dynamic Sky) next to him, he gave it another gear."
Owned by Newtown Anner Stud, James Covello and Joseph Bulger, Falling Sky picked up his third win in four starts. The colt's bankroll totals $194,800. The win was worth 10 points as part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series.
"This is why we bought him," Terranova said. "Nick Sallusto suggested the purchase, and we put together a few of our big clients and went and got him for this reason.
"We weren't sure if now was the time to stretch him to two turns or to continue the natural distance progression, but obviously it looks like we made the right call."
02/05 15:31:03 ET