(The bigger the Stakes, the bigger the hugs / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(It was a Jehozacat kind of day…all smiles…at Tampa Bay Downs / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Editor’s Note:

The final version from Tampa Bay today:

(Sole Volante & connections / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Pregame warmups before the Sam F. Davis / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(A little controversy never hurt anyone , right? / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Arch to the March / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Lucrezia is amazing / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

 

(Tampa Bay action / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Jehozacat is a beauty / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Got Stormy and Johozacat before their Stakes showdown / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Wanderlust and Imperial Hint … chilling … at Tampa Bay Downs / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

(Some more beauty and Last Two Words at Tampa Bay Downs / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

 

 

(Independence Hall / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Editor’s Note:

As the season and the races start to migrate towards the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” our very own Holly M. Smith travels a bit, too, to capture all the glory of both horse, man and excitement. This week, she is in Tampa for the Sam F. Davis Stakes. We are lucky enough to get some of Holly’s best work to share with you. We get to see some of the aspiring horses and connections. We get to see the eye of the future. We get to see the chances made, and some of the hearts broken. And, most of all, we get to see who will be making the next step towards Louisville — for the 146th Kentucky Derby.

Today, we will see who emerges from the Sam F. Davis.

All photos by Holly M. Smith

Friday’s Pre-Game Looks:

(Phat Man has an eye for the camera)

(The G.O.A.T today is a goat)

(The grand Independence Hall has the look of a good one. A real good one.)