Patriot Spirit creates optimism by way he trains and acts

At 11h52, on February 9, 2024 By TAMPA BAY DOWNS

Trainer Michael Campbell and his crew have spent much of the last eight weeks sharpening their 3-year-old colt Patriot Spirit for Saturday’s Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at a distance of a mile-and-a-a-sixteenth at Tampa Bay Downs.

But they haven’t had to work much on his competitive spirit, which emerges every time he steps onto the track within sight of other Thoroughbreds.

“He’s a very aggressive animal,” Campbell said, referring to Patriot Spirit’s strong desire to defeat an opponent. “We worked him a mile (on Jan. 13) and he worked terrific, as fast as some horses run (1:38 2/5) in the afternoon, and he was by himself and galloped out like nobody’s business.

“We came back and worked him a half-mile a couple of weeks ago, and just as he was pulling up some horses re-engaged him and that sucker took off and ran another half-mile. So he had two mile workouts, essentially, within 12 days.”

Leading Oldsmar jockey Samy Camacho, who rode Patriot Spirit to victory here in the Inaugural Stakes on Dec. 2 in his final start as a 2-year-old and will be aboard Saturday, gave the Kentucky-bred son of Constitution plenty of leeway in his Jan. 25 workout so as not to dull his instincts.

“When he saw that other horse trying to pass him, he took off again, and I let him go because you’re teaching him to get relaxed and breathe and get his stride,” Camacho said. “I hope he breaks well and (if he does) he’s going to be 1-2-3 early and we’ve got a big chance.”

The 44th running of the Sam F. Davis, which is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race awarding 20 points to the winner toward qualifying for the May 4 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs, has attracted a field of 12 3-year-olds. Patriot Spirit drew the No. 3 post position. The Sam F. Davis is the 10th race on an 11-race race card that begins at 12:27 p.m.

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