Bennett, Rodriguez Playing The Claiming Game
Friday, March 27, 2020
OLDSMAR - Leading trainer Gerald Bennett and rival Darien Rodriguez enjoy claiming horses they think are capable of improvement with a few adjustments, or by just standing pat. Considering their records at the current Tampa Bay Downs meeting (Bennett leads with 38 victories and Rodriguez is fifth with 14), it’s no surprise when they fall head over heels with the same horse.
My Boy Lenny, a speedy 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Wildcat Heir, has been a recent subject of their shared affections. Rodriguez claimed the gelding from Bennett out of a 6 ¼-length victory in an allowance/$32,000 optional claiming victory here on Feb. 22 for Acclaimed Racing Stable and Gumpster Stable.
Rodriguez then worked My Boy Lenny 4 furlongs in a swift 47 3/5 seconds on March 9, and entered him in Wednesday's fifth race, a $21,000, 7-furlong contest for older horses for the same claiming price as last time. The razor-sharp My Boy Lenny aired again, winning by 6 lengths in 1:21.95 under leading jockey Antonio Gallardo.
And, once again, My Boy Lenny was on the move after the race - re-claimed by Bennett for $32,000 for J J Brevan Stable, the horse’s previous owner. “As long as I can rent them and make
money with them,” Rodriguez said after the race, “I’m fine with that.”
The runner-up to My Boy Lenny was the 7-year-old Town Classic, a gelding Bennett had claimed from Rodriguez two starts back for $ 16,000 for Mercy Man Racing. Town Classic turned in a fine effort, finishing 3 ½ lengths ahead of General Paddy.
Another claiming horse, the 6-year-old gelding Last Promise, continued to excel, winning for the fifth time in seven starts at the meeting. He won a $25,000 claiming race on the grass by two lengths from The Curt Fox. Ademar Santos rode Last Promise, a son of Spring at Last-Breaking Promises, by Broken Vow, who was making his first turf start since June 9 at Monmouth. Santos is the fourth jockey to win here on Last Promise. Owned by Efrain Cambray-Diaz and Promise Racing Stable and trained by Tim Padilla, Last Promise leads the meeting by number of victories, with no other horse having more than three.
AROUND THE OVAL - Racing continues today with an eight-race card beginning at 12:45. The track is conducting racing without spectators for the foreseeable future. Eight races are scheduled for Saturday, with the first race at 12:20.
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