Spanabel Takes Lead at Tampa's Summer Festival
Friday, July 1, 2022
    OLDSMAR - Skyler Spanabel returned to Tampa Bay Downs for the two-day Summer Festival of Racing with an eye on the future.

    “My main trainers wanted me to come back, and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to keep building my business,” said Spanabel, who has competed at Delaware Park and a few other mid-Atlantic tracks since the Oldsmar meet concluded on May 7. “Guys like Robert (G. Smith), Peter (Wasiluk, Jr.) and James Gulick – I want to ride for them here again next season.”

    Spanabel rode one winner today, her 23rd of the season (for record-keeping purposes, today’s action counted as the final day of the 2021-2022 campaign, while Friday’s card counts as the first day of the 2022-2023 meet). She finishes in 14th place for the meet.

    “For her to come in here and win (23 races), that says a lot because the jockey colony is so competitive,” Smith said. “Next year, everyone is going to know who she is

    Spanabel won Thusday’s fifth race, a 5-furlong dash on the turf, on Talkin Tipsy, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly bred, owned (in partnership) and trained by Gulick. Spanabel also posted a second and two thirds to take the lead in the $5,000 Jockeys’ Challenge standings with 46 points.

    The Jockeys’ Challenge winner collects $2,500, with the second-place finisher earning $1,500 and third taking home an extra $1,000. Spanabel is named on four horses today. Three-time Jockeys’ Challenge winner Ademar Santos, who is second with 27 points, and Marcos Meneses (tied for third with Jose Alonso with 25 points), are both named to ride all eight races.

    Points are awarded on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale based on each jockey’s finish in a race, so Santos and Meneses have decent shots to make things tight by this afternoon.  

    For the 22-year-old Spanabel, being in the thick of the fight is what matters.

    “Riding here today, it feels like I never left,” she said. “I’m trying to give everybody I ride for the best I can. They’re trying to make money and I’m trying to make money, and in the end you do your best and what happens, happens.”

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