Monday, February 17, 2020
Florida Cup Sprint winner heads Turf Dash . . .
OLDSMAR - Florida-bred Extravagant Kid, whose victory here last year in the Florida Cup Sprint kicked off a bountiful season featuring four stakes victories and a Gr. I runner-up effort, heads the list of probable starters for Saturday’s $100,000 Turf Dash Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Turf Dash, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward, and the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes, for fillies and mares 4-and-upward, headline the track’s annual Turf Sprint Showcase Day card. Both races will be contested at a distance of 5 furlongs on the turf course.
Extravagant Kid, who is owned by DARRS Inc., and trained by Brendan Walsh, was well-traveled in 2019. After winning the Florida Cup Sprint, the 7-year-old gelding shipped to Toronto, where he finished second to Canadian superstar Pink Lloyd in the Gr. III Jacques Cartier Stakes on the all-weather track at Woodbine.
Next up was a trip to Louisville for a victory in the Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes on the Churchill Downs turf. Then, back to Woodbine, where he finished second to Wet Your Whistle in the Grade I Highlander Stakes on the grass.
Kept fresh and keen by Walsh, Extravagant Kid went on to win the Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs in Virginia and finish second in the Gr. II Kennedy Road Stakes at Woodbine. He concluded 2019 on Dec. 28 by capturing the Janus Stakes (taken off the turf) at Gulfstream and began 2020 on Jan. 18 by winning the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes on the dirt at Gulfstream.
Extravagant Kid is 13-for-40 lifetime, with 11 seconds, and has career earnings of $787,354.
Other probables for the Turf Dash are multiple stakes-winning 5-year-old Justaholic, trained by Tom Clark; End Play, a 7-year-old gelding from the barn of last season’s Turf Dash-winning trainer, Jason Servis; Backtohisroots, trained by John P. Terranova II; and Mai Ty One On, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Jane Cibelli.
Heading the list of Lightning City probables is 8-year-old mare Rocky Policy, owned by Barry Ostrager and trained by Robert B. Hess Jr. Sporting an 8-for-38 lifetime record, with career earnings of $449,709, she turned in a superb performance in September to win the 5-furlong Turf Amazon Stakes at Parx Racing.
A likely Lightning City contender is 4-year-old Ireland-bred filly Mae Never No, trained by Wesley Ward. Although she has raced only twice on the turf, with two thirds, she is a stakes- winner who has been working well at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach for her 2020 debut.
The Lightning City field could also include stakes-winner Miss Deplorable, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare trained by Baltazar Galvan; 5-year-old Florida-bred mare R Happy Ending, owned by Averill Racing and trained by Georgina Baxter; lightly-raced Ode to Joy, a 5-year-old mare trained by Arnaud Delacour; 4-year-old Ambassador Luna, trained by James Gulick; and conditioner Chandradat Goberdhan’s filly Sea Sparkle.
AROUND THE OVAL - For the second day in a row, a Gerald Bennett-trained horse bobbled at the break. And just like Saturday, Bennett’s charge made it to the winner’s circle, as the improving 3-year-old colt He’s Smokin Now overpowered eight rivals to win the featured ninth race, the $20,200 Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week.
Bred in Florida by Bennett and his wife Mary and campaigned by their Winning Stables, He’s Smokin Now took command on the turn and rolled to a 4-length victory from Catch Ya Later Bro, a Florida-bred 3-year-old twin colt owned by Josie Gump and trained by Bill Sienkewicz.
He’s Smokin Now’s time for the 6 furlongs on the main track was 1:11.67. Now 3-for-6, he is a son of Drill-Smokin Mary, by Texas Glitter.
In Saturday’s Minaret Stakes, Bennett’s 6-year-old mare Lady’s Island nearly went to her knees at the start, but was much the best in scoring her 14th career victory.
The triumph by He’s Smokin Now was one of two on the card for Bennett, who leads the Tampa Bay Downs trainer standings with 27 victories. Bennett, who has won the last four Oldsmar titles, won the seventh race with Cpl. Dionicio, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Juan Rosario and ridden by Ademar Santos.