Three Stakes Highlight Skyway Festival Program
Thursday, January 4, 2024

    OLDSMAR - Patriot Spirit, an impressive winner of the Inaugural Stakes here on Dec. 2; Grade III stakes-winner West Saratoga; and two-time stakes-winner Book’em Danno are among 20 3-year-old colts and geldings nominated to the 26th edition of the $125,000, 7-furlong Pasco Stakes on Jan. 13 at Tampa Bay Downs.

    The Pasco is one of three stakes on a Skyway Festival Day card. The others are the 40th running of the $125,000, 7-furlong Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the 40th running of the $50,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth Wayward Lass Stakes for fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-upward. All three races will be contested on the main track.

    The Gasparilla closed with 24 nominations and the Wayward Lass drew 18 nominations. Entries will be taken in the Racing Office on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

    Patriot Spirit, a Kentucky-bred son of Constitution owned by George Mellon’s Mellon Patch, and trained by Michael Campbell, improved to 2-for-4 lifetime with his victory in the Inaugural. He turned in a 6-furlong workout of 1:14 4/5 here on Saturday.

    The next four finishers in the Inaugural – Crazy Mason, Rathmore, Sir Flash and Gotts Got It – are also nominated to the Pasco.

    West Saratoga, owned by Harry L. Veruchi and trained by Larry Demeritte, captured the Gr. III Iroquois Stakes on Sept. 16 at Churchill Downs, then wrapped up his 2-year-old campaign with a fifth-place finish in the Gr. I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity on Oct. 7 at Keeneland.

    Book’em Danno, a gelding owned by Atlantic Six Racing and trained by Derek Ryan, won the Smoke Glacken Stakes on Sept. 9 at Monmouth and the Futurity Stakes on Oct. 8 at the Belmont At The Big A meet before finishing second to Where’s Chris in the Nashua Stakes on Nov. 5 at Belmont.

    Other stakes-winners nominated to the Pasco are Bentornato, from the barn of Jose Francisco D’Angelo; and Sweet Soddy J, trained by Raymond E. Ginter Jr.

    The Gasparilla nominees include Let Them Watch, a Florida-bred daughter of Maximus Mischief who won the Sandpiper Stakes here in gate-to-wire fashion on Dec. 2. She is owned by Case Chambers and trained by Michael Maker. Let Them Watch also won the Sharp Susan Stakes in August at Gulfstream Park as a 2-year-old.

    Other Gasparilla nominees include Irish Maxima, who finished fifth in the Gr. I Frizette on Oct. 7 at Belmont At The Big A, trained by John Servis; Leslie’s Rose, a Todd Pletcher-trained filly who won her career debut by 9 ¼ lengths on Nov. 19 at Aqueduct; trainer Saffie A. Joseph Jr.’s restricted stakes-winner R Harper Rose; and Joseph’s Mystic Lake, third in the Gr. III Mazarine Stakes on Nov. 4 at Woodbine.

   The Wayward Lass has drawn a quality group of nominees, including trainer Gerald Bennett’s 4-year-old filly Dreaming of Snow, a stakes-winner who captured a 7-furlong allowance/optional claiming event here on Dec. 9; 5-year-old Evidencias, a Brazilian import trained by Christophe Clement; 4-year-old Opus Forty Two, the winner of last year’s Gasparilla, trained by Arnaud Delacour; and trainer Tim Padilla’s Minnesota-bred stakes-winners, 5-year-old She’s My Warrior and 6-year-old Molly’s Angel.

    Around the oval - Charlie Marquez rode three winners yesterday. He swept the early double, winning the first race on 3-year-old filly Chief Lady for owner Winner Circle Stables and trainer Gregg Sacco and taking the second on 3-year-old filly Pamz Palace, owned by Roger B. Sterling and trained by Crystal Pickett.

    Marquez added the fifth race on the turf with Aloha Man, a 3-year-old colt owned by Crystal G. Pickett and Marblehead Management One and trained by Pickett.

    Samuel Marin rode two winners. He won the fourth race on The Sweaty Fox, a 5-year-old mare owned by Harry Hoglander and trained by Tony Wilson. Marin added the ninth and final race on the turf with Magical Marriage, a 7-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Dennis A. Drazin and trained by Patrick McBurney.

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