The Cliff's Edge fails to catch Kaufy Mate, and colt pays record $71.40 in Sam F. Davis Stakes.
By DON JENSEN
Published February 22, 2004
OLDSMAR - Kaufy Mate's victory Saturday in the 24th running of the $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes surprised many people. Trainer Nick Zito wasn't one of them.
Zito and his Kentucky Derby hopeful, The Cliff's Edge, left Tampa Bay Downs as a runnerup Saturday afternoon after Kaufy Mate's record-setting 13/4-length win.
Kaufy Mate, a 3-year-old colt ridden for the first time by Ramsey Zimmerman, returned an all-time high Sam T. Davis payoff of $71.40. That surpassed the record of $56.40 by White Buck in 2003.
The Cliff's Edge made his first start of the year after winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Nov.29 at Churchill Downs. Though he had the outside No.12 post, many in the season's largest crowd of 5,571 made him the prohibitive 1-2 favorite.
After delaying the start momentarily, The Cliff's Edge, with Shane Sellers aboard, broke last in the 11-horse field and was forced to go six-wide at one point. He challenged Kaufy Mate down the stretch, but his tank was empty.
"I thought we were going to be okay," Zito said. "But look how far out he was. Look how wide he was. He just never got around those horses. He might have gotten tired."
Before the race, Zito had his eyes on Kaufy Mate, a Florida-bred by Diligence and Astaire's Ginger.
"I used to train the (No.) 7's (Kaufy Mate's) father, so I knew a little about his background," Zito said. "And wasn't the 7 favored in his last race? He ran a big race today."
Kaufy Mate was coming off a seventh-place finish in the Jan.17 Pasco Stakes as the 3-2 favorite. The Pasco was his first race of the year.
Kaufy Mate stalked pacesetter and Pasco Stakes winner Misguided Left until assuming control entering the stretch. His time for the 11/16-mile race was 1 minute, 44.60 seconds.
Owned by Gregory Kaufman and trained by Kirk Ziadie, Kaufy Mate earned his largest paycheck with the winner's share, $57,500. It raised his career earnings to $85,730. Zakocity finished third.
"In the Pasco, he got left at the gate and we just threw that race out," Ziadie said. "I can't tell you what our next race will be. I'd like to go to the Tampa Bay Derby. But I change my mind a lot and train day by day."
Zito said the future of The Cliff's Edge was up in the air as well. "We'll see what happens," he said. "He did a good job from the outside, but it's somewhat of a disappointment."
Earlier in the card, favorite Ender's Sister ($5.80) and jockey Brian Peck won by three-quarters of a length over Fall Fashion in the 24th running of the $60,000 Suncoast Stakes. It was the third consecutive victory for Ender's Sister, owned by Green Lantern Stables and trained by George Arnold. The winning time for the 11/16-mile race was 1 minute, 47.16 seconds. Ladyinareddress was third.
"I basically had 2 tons of horse all the way around," said Peck, who rode Ender's Sister for the first time. "She's a grinder and handled everything with the greatest of ease."
Tampa Bay Downs set a co-mingled handle record of $4,731,222, eclipsing the mark of $4,722,986 set Jan.10.