Leinster Turf Races Set for Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs
Thursday, February 22, 2024

    OLDSMAR - By Saturday afternoon, the waiting will be over for 18 turf sprinters primed to show their best stuff against stakes competition.

    Postponed last week by a rainy weather forecast that lived up to its billing, the $100,000 Leinster Lightning City Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward and the $100,000 Leinster Turf Dash for horses 4-and-upward will be held on the Tampa Bay Downs turf course.

    Saturday's weather forecast calls for plenty of sunshine, with temperatures reaching the upper 60s.
    Both 5-furlong races have drawn nine horses, with 4-year-old filly Awesome Pic a “main track only” entrant in the Leinster Lightning City, which is scheduled as the seventh race. The Leinster Turf Dash is the ninth race.

    The first of 10 races begins at 12:18 . Saturday's card also includes the third legs of the Tampa Turf Test, as starter handicap event for older horses of both sexes which have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2023-24. The distance of both Tampa Turf Test races is a mile-and-an-eighth.

    The field for the Leinster Turf Dash is headed by a pair of graded stakes-winners, Yes I Am Free and Storm the Court. Yes I Am Free, an 8-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Golden Kernel Racing Stable and trained by Laura Cazares, has earned more than $750,000 in his career, highlighted by victories in the Gr. III Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Stakes in 2022 and 2023. Antonio Gallardo has been named to ride Yes I Am Free.

    Storm the Court has two lifetime victories from 24 starts, but one came in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2019 at Santa Anita. The 7-year-old’s career earnings exceed $1.4-million.

    Owned by David A. Bernsen, Susanna Wilson and Peter Eurton and trained by William E. Morey, Storm the Court has finished second in two Tampa Bay Downs starts, both at the Leinster Turf Dash distance. Pablo Morales is the jockey.

    Another likely contender is Sky’s Not Falling, a hard-knocking 6-year-old gelding owned by R. Larry Johnson and R. D. M. Racing Stable and trained by Michael Trombetta. Samy Camacho has been named to ride. Sky’s Not Falling has won almost $400,000 in his career, highlighted by a victory in the 2022 Maryland Million Turf Sprint Stakes at Laurel.

    The Leinster Lightning City appears to be a wide-open affair. The field includes two stakes-winners: Boo Boo Kitty, owned by Rice Racing and trained by Kevin Rice, and She’s My Warrior, owned by Peter Mattson and Tim Padilla and trained by Padilla.

  Boo Boo Kitty, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare, will be ridden by Morales. She won the 2022 Satin and Lace Stakes at Presque Isle Downs, but will be making her first start in more than 16 months.

    She’s My Warrior, a 5-year-old owned by Peter Mattson and Tim Padilla and trained by Padilla, is a two-time stakes-winner at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. She will be ridden by Alonso Quinonez.

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