Centeno Has 6 Tries to Extend Florida Cup Record
Sunday, March 28, 2021
    OLDSMAR - Six-time Tampa Bay Downs jockey champion Daniel Centeno, who leads all riders with eight career Florida Cup stakes victories, is scheduled to compete in all six stakes races in today’s 18th event for registered Florida-breds.

    Each Florida Cup race carries a purse of $110,000-guaranteed. The 12-race card begins at noon.

    The Florida Cup slate kicks off with the fifth race, the Equistaff Sophomore Turf for 3-year-olds at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass. Next up is the seventh race, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore for 3-year-olds going 7 furlongs on the main dirt track.

    The eighth race is the Grey Goose Turf Classic, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the grass. Next up is the ninth, the NYRABETS Sprint for horses 4-and-up racing 6 furlongs on the dirt.

    The Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf is the 10th race, for fillies and mares 3-and-up racing a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass. The 11th race is the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies, for 3-year-old lasses traveling 7 furlongs on the dirt.

    Centeno’s Florida Cup victory haul places him two ahead of Ronnie Allen Jr. and Elvis Trujillo. Allen is named on three Florida Cup entrants, while Trujillo is now a trainer in Maryland. Tied with five Florida Cup victories apiece are Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, Eddie Castro and Antonio Gallardo, who is named to ride in four stakes.

    Tom Proctor is the all-time leader among trainers with eight Florida Cup victories. Proctor’s lone entry is the 5-year-old mare Summering in the Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf. Next with six victories apiece are Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott and Eddie Plesa Jr., with Mott represented by two Florida Cup horses.

    Another Hall of Fame trainer, Mark Casse (who won the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 6 with Helium), has won five Florida Cup races. He has two Florida Cup entries, both in the NYRABETS Sprint. Lynne Scace has also trained five Florida Cup winners.

    Students of Florida racing won’t be surprised to learn Glen Hill Farm and Live Oak Stud are tied among breeders with eight Florida Cup victories apiece. Glen Hill is the Ocala showpiece founded by the late Leonard Lavin, while Charlotte Weber owns and operates Live Oak Stud. Live Oak has three horses entered as a breeder, while Glen Hill has one.

    Tied for third among breeders, with three victories apiece, are Haras Santa Maria de Araras; Jacks or Better Farm; Rustlewood Farm; and Vegso Racing Stable. The late Arthur Appleton bred two Florida Cup winners in his own name, with another bred under his Bridlewood Farm banner.

   Glen Hill Farm and Live Oak Plantation also share the lead among owners with seven victories. Their Florida Cup entrants are all home-breds, giving Live Oak three chances to break the owners tie and Glen Hill one shot.

    Peter Vegso, probably better-known as the publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul, has four Florida Cup victories as an owner and three as a breeder under his Vegso Racing Stable banner. Next among owners with three apiece are Haras Santa Maria de Araras; Jacks or Better Farm; and Rich Averill, who has won three Florida Cup races under his Averill Racing banner in different partnerships.

AROUND THE OVAL - Kitten’s Spa won the fourth and final leg of the males division of the Tampa Turf Test Saturday, powering to a length-and-a-half victory from Jegos Fire in course-record time of 2:15.67 for the 1 3/8-mile distance. Antonio Gallardo rode the 5-year-old gelding, a son of Kitten’s Joy, for owner-trainer Jose Lozano Sanchez.

    The 6-year-old mare Antalya, who won the females division of the Tampa Turf Test, also bettered the previous course mark set last year by Fast Fire, rallying late under Isaac Castillo to defeat Bloody Mary Mornin by a length-and-a-half. Antalya’s time was 2:15.81. She is owned by Thundering Hooves Racing and trained by Anthony Granitz.

    The track’s leading trainer and leading jockey, Gerald Bennett and Samy Camacho, teamed for two victories. They won the second race with Probably Grace, a 4-year-old filly owned by Bennett’s Winning Stables, and added the ninth with Malio’s, a 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by J.P.G. 2, LLC. Malio’s was claimed from the race for $5,000 by owner-trainer Alison Escobar.

    Centeno also rode two winners. He captured the seventh race, the Lambholm South Race of the Week, on 4-year-old colt Jeopardy James for owner Lael Stables and trainer Arnaud Delacour. Centeno added the 10th and final race on the turf aboard Optimistic Valor, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Wayne Spalding and trained by Tim Glyshaw.
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