Three Tampa runners could contest Kentucky Derby . . .
OLDSMAR - A day after torrential rain and severe lightning caused the cancellation of the last seven races, Antonio Gallardo rode three winners Saturday in front of a sun-splashed crowd of racing fans. Now, they will have to wait until Wednesday, since Tampa Bay Downs is closed today to allow horsemen, employees and patrons to share the Easter holiday with their families. Wednesday’s nine-race card begins at 12:55 p.m.
Gallardo, the effervescent Spaniard who has won four of the last five Tampa Bay Downs jockey titles, won the third race on hard-knocking Miss Rickles, a 7-year-old mare owned by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Nick Caruso. Gallardo returned to the winner’s circle in the fourth race on King Daddio, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Ca Sal Stables and trained by Kathleen O’Connell.
Gallardo teamed up with O’Connell again in the sixth race, winning on the turf with 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding Soldat’s Storm. He is owned by O’Connell in partnership with James O’Connor.
Ronnie Allen Jr. rode two winners on the card. He was aboard 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding Pemaquid Pete in the second race for owner Leonard Rubacha and trainer Teresa Connelly. Allen then won the seventh race on J’s Flashy Halo, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding by First Dude owned and bred by Janis K. Maitlen and trained by Maria Bowersock.
On May 4, the Oldsmar oval will present a 12-race card leading to the simulcast of the 145th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. First-race post time will be noon. Patrons will be dressed to the nines in Derby finery, adding to the pageantry and aura of racing’s greatest spectacle, and mint juleps will be sold in commemorative Kentucky Derby glasses which sport the names of each winner from Aristides in 1875 through Justify in 2018.
Derby Day at the Downs will be enhanced by a pair of $100,000, mile-and-40-yard stakes races for 3-year-olds: the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for males and the FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for fillies. Both contests are for registered Florida-breds sired by an FTBOA-registered Florida stallion.
Meanwhile, runners who have competed at Tampa Bay Downs are likely to occupy three of the 20 available positions in the Run for the Roses starting gate. That trio includes Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Tacitus; Live Oak Stud's Win Win Win, who won the Pasco Stakes on Jan. 19 and finished third in the Tampa Bay Derby; and Spinoff, who posted a dominant allowance/optional claiming victory on Feb. 22.