Guests at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday - Jacinto and Me
Wednesday, January 1, 2020

    OLDSMAR - Hall of Fame jockey Jacinto Vasquez will be the featured guest on track announcer Richard Grunder’s “Morning Glory Club” Show at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the first floor of the grandstand.

    Vasquez retired in 1996 with 5,228 victories, which is 26th best all-time among North American jockeys. The Ocala resident rode an additional race in 2008 at Santa Anita that included eight Hall of Fame riders.

   Vasquez won the Kentucky Derby on Florida-bred Foolish Pleasure in 1975 and on the filly Genuine Risk in 1980, but may be more well known as the jockey for Ruffian, who won her first 10 starts before breaking down in a match race against Foolish Pleasure on July 6, 1975 at Belmont Park. Attempts to save her were unsuccessful and she was euthanized the following day. Vasquez rode Ruffian in the match race, saying she was the better of the two horses.

    The rider’s other filly of renown, Genuine Risk, was the first of her sex to win the Run for the Roses since Regret in 1915. Both Ruffian and Genuine Risk are in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga. Among the many other top thoroughbreds ridden by Vasquez were Turkoman, Smile, Highland Blade, Forego, Forever Silver, Sensitive Prince and Princess Rooney. He won the Tampa Bay Derby in 1990 on Champagneforashley.

    Vasquez will be accompanied Saturday by his close friend, sports writer Bernie Dickman, whose Tampa Bay Downs selections appeared in the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) for 22 seasons. Dickman, who also gave handicapping seminars at Tampa Bay Downs for 15 years, will sign copies of his book “Thrills of a Lifetime – My 62 years as a sports writer.” He currently opines on various facets of the racing and breeding industries on his website,

    Copies of the book signed by Dickman and Vasquez will be on sale for $22. Vasquez will also sign glossy photographs of Ruffian and Genuine Risk for $12 apiece and will be available to sign other memorabilia.

    Fans who attend the “Morning Glory Club” Show on Saturday will receive free coffee and donuts and free admission to the races in the afternoon.

CHANCE TO WIN BIG - The second annual High Rollers Handicapping Contest, featuring a potential first-place prize of $20,000, will be held Saturday, Jan. 11 in the VIP Room.

    Players are required to deposit $1,000, of which $500 will serve as the player’s wagering bankroll and $500 will go to the prize pool. Any dollar amount remaining in their bankroll at the conclusion of the contest goes directly to the player, meaning all of the prize money is returned to the entrants.

    Wagers will be limited to win, place and/or show, with each player required to bet $100 on five races on the card. Anyone wagering on less or more than five races will be disqualified. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five finishers, with $20,000 to the winner, or 50 percent of the prize pool if there are fewer than 100 entrants; $8,000/20 percent to the second-place finisher; $6,000/15 percent to third; $4,000/10 percent to fourth; and $2,000/5 percent to fifth.

    Only races at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 11 will be included in the contest, and players must wager at the contest site to be eligible. The first and second-place finishers will also earn a seat in either of the next two National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championships in Las Vegas (this year’s event will be held Feb. 7-9 at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino). Players can enter online at . The entry deadline is noon on Jan. 11. For additional details, call (813) 855-4401, extension 1368.

Leave a comment below
comments powered by Disqus