Thursday, December 24, 2020
OLDSMAR - Racing fans eager to welcome the new year can start turning the page by picking up the 2021 Tampa Bay Downs calendar beginning Saturday.
The calendar will be distributed to all guests (with paid admission) through Wednesday, or while supplies last. Spectacular photography throughout the new edition is certain to kindle exciting memories and whet appetites for big races ahead, while ensuring a prominent display area within the household.
Key racing dates are highlighted, such as Skyway Festival Day on Jan. 16, featuring the $125,000 Pasco Stakes for newly turned 3-year-olds and the $125,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; Festival Preview Day on Feb. 6, with three graded stakes topped by the Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes for 3-year-olds; and Festival Day on March 6, an extravaganza consisting of five stakes – four graded – worth a combined $1-million, the centerpiece being the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.
All areas of Tampa Bay Downs will be closed Friday, Christmas Day. The racetrack, The Downs Golf Practice Facility and The Silks Poker Room all reopen Saturday, with golf opening at 8:30 a.m. and cards being dealt at 10 a.m.
A 10-race card on Dec. 26 begins at 12:13 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs will also simulcast the opening-day card from Santa Anita, as well as racing from Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds, Laurel, Hawthorne and Mahoning Valley
Around the oval - Frank Mazur won the “10 Days of Festivus” Handicapping Contest with a final bankroll amount of $113.30, $3.50 ahead of runner-up Bob Diver. Mazur earns the first-place contest prize of $1,000 and Diver earns $500.
More than 700 handicappers participated.
During today’s sixth race for maiden 2-year-old fillies, trainer Barbara Minshall got a workout watching Diamond Ore battle two equally-determined rivals down the stretch of the mile-and-40-yard event. “I was riding her from the quarter-mile pole home,” Minshall said jokingly after Diamond Ore’s half-length victory over Purtiz. Forbidden Dream was another neck back in third in the seven-horse field.
Samy Camacho rode the winner, who completed the distance in 1:42.25
Minshall, who trains the regally-bred winner for owner Bernard Cleary’s Clearview Stable, was especially pleased with Diamond Ore’s effort in light of it being her first start on a dirt track. Her three previous tries, including a second-place finish Nov. 14 racing a mile-and-a-sixteenth, were on the all-weather surface at Woodbine.
“She is really a nice filly who wants to go longer, and I wanted to give her a little experience,” Minshall said. “Hopefully she learned something from that. The first time she had even worked on dirt was last week (5 furlongs in 1:01 4/5 at Sequel @ Winding Oaks Farms in Ocala), and she worked really well that day.
Minshall and Camacho teamed to win the Gr. III Tampa Bay Stakes in February on the turf with 5-year-old gelding Admiralty Pier.
Diamond Ore is by one of the world’s leading sires, Tapit, and is out of the Distorted Humor mare Bubbler, making her a half-sister to Arrogate. That Bob Baffert-trained runner won the 2016 Travers and Breeders’ Cup Classic and the 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline, en route to becoming racing’s all-time money-earner with $17,422,600.
Ronald Ordonez rode two winners today. He captured the third race on the turf with Freelance, a 2-year-old colt owned by Ocala attorney David Romanik and trained by Eduardo Azpurua, Jr. Ordonez added the ninth race on the grass with the 3-year-old colt With Reward, owned by GOP Racing Stable and trained by Gerard Ochoa.
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