Track Times Today

Bernie's Blog

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Florida-bred colt's status is a question mark . . .

    BALTIMORE - Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit, who upset 18 rivals in the now-controversial Kentucky Derby at odds of 12-1, was installed at 9-5 in the morning line for Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes following the post-position draw at Pimlico Race Course.

    The Florida-bred son of Protonico, under investigation for a too-high, microscopic dose of a non-banned medication in the Derby, drew Post. No. 3, and is scheduled to face nine other 3-year-olds in the 1 3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. He has been entered under 'rigorous conditions' and it is not yet clear if he will be allowed to run. 

    Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who was aboard for Medina Spirit’s front-running half-length decision at Churchill Downs, was awarded the return mount by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Preakness a record seven times, most notably with Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).

    Gary and Mary West’s Concert Tour, who incurred his first loss in four starts while finishing third in the Arkansas Derby last time out, will also represent Baffert in the Preakness after skipping the Kentucky Derby. The home-bred son of Street Sense, who will be ridden by Mike Smith for the first time, was rated second in the morning line at 5-2 after drawing Post. No. 10.

    The $1 million Preakness will headline a program featuring 10 stakes, six of them graded, worth $2.25 million in purses.

Winchell Thoroughbred’s Midnight Bourbon will remain on the Triple Crown Trail after finishing a troubled sixth in the Kentucky Derby, 8 ½ lengths behind Medina Spirit.  The son of Tiznow is rated third in the morning line at 5-1 and will break from Post No. 5.

    Midnight Bourbon finished second in the Louisiana Derby prior to his Derby run. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has enjoyed success in the Preakness Stakes, saddling Curlin and the filly Rachel Alexandra for victories in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Irad Ortiz Jr., the defending three-time Eclipse Award winner, is scheduled to ride Midnight Bourbon for the first time.

Chad Brown, who won the 2017 Preakness with Cloud Computing, will saddle Klaravich Stable’s Crowded Trade and Risk Taking in search of his second success in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Crowded Trade, who finished third in the Wood Memorial last time out, is rated at 10-1 in the morning line, while Risk Taking, who won the Withers before finishing a disappointing seventh in the Wood, is rated at 15-1. Crowded Trade drew Post No. 4, while Risk Taking will break from Post No. 9.

    John and Diane Fradkin’s Rombauer, who most recently finished third in the Blue Grass, has been shipped from Southern California. The son of Twirling Candy, who is rated at 12-1 in the morning line, earned a fees-paid berth by capturing the ‘Win & In’ El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 13. Rombauer will break from Post No. 6.

    Trainer Todd Pletcher, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, will seek his first Preakness victory with Whisper Hill Farm’s Unbridled Honor. The son of Honor Code, who finished second in the Lexington at Keeneland last time out, was rated at 15-1 in the morning line after drawing Post No. 8.

    Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm's Keepmeinmind will join Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon as the only horses in the starting gate that ran in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Laoban trailed the Derby field before closing well to finish seventh. The Robertino Diodoro-trained colt, who has been winless in three starts this year after winning the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill last fall, is rated at 15-1 in the morning line and will break from Post. No. 2.

    Yuji Inaida’s France Go de Ina, who raced three times in Japan before finishing sixth in the March 27 UAE Derby in Dubai, is rated at 20-1 in the morning line and will break from Post No. 7. The son of Will Take Charge will go to post five years after Japan-based Lani finished fifth in 2016.

    Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has saddled six Preakness winners during his Hall of Fame career, will be represented by Ram, who is slated to make his stakes debut following back-to-back victories in a $50,000 maiden claiming race at Oaklawn Park and an allowance race at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Christina Baker and William Mack’s son of American Pharoah was rated at 30-1 in the morning line after drawing the Post No. 1.















Sunday, May 9, 2021
Preakness entry on the line . . .
    “Integrity in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing is the ultimate priority for 1/ST RACING and the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC). 1/ST RACING has been an industry leader instituting processes and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reform and increased accountability. We are committed to achieving the highest level of horse care and safety standards, and we have a proven track record of pushing those standards forward. 

     “1/ST RACING and MJC intend to review the relevant facts and information relating to the reported medication positive as a result of the post-race blood sample testing completed by Churchill Downs following the 147th Kentucky Derby involving Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert. We are consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission and any decision regarding the entry of Medina Spirit in the 146th Preakness Stakes will be made after review of the facts.”
Friday, May 7, 2021
3-year-old colt has been campaigning in Japan . . .
    BALTIMORE - Yuji Inaida’s France Go de Ina is reported to have traveled well on a flight from Japan to Los Angeles, the first leg of an itinerary that will bring the 3-year-old son of Will Take Charge to Pimlico Race Course, where he is scheduled to run in the May 15th Preakness Stakes.

    France Go de Ina, who arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday, will be in quarantine there until Saturday, when the Kentucky-bred colt will board a plane for a scheduled flight to Newark.  The Hideyuki Mori-trained colt is expected to arrive at Pimlico Saturday evening following a four-hour van r
ide.

    “The horse seems to have handled the trip well and has settled into quarantine well. We fly to Baltimore on the 8th,” said Kate Hunter, the Triple Crown field representative for the Japan Racing Association.

    France Go de Ina will be ridden by Joel Rosario, who was aboard for a sixth-place finish in the UAE Derby on the March 27 Dubai World Cup undercard. Following a fourth-place finish in his career debut at 6 ½ furlongs, France Go de Ina won back-to-back 1 1/8-mile races at Japan’s Hanshin Racecourse to conclude his 2020 campaign. The UAE Derby, in which he was compromised by a slow start, was his first race of 2021.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
$500,000 guarantee on Thursday
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Racing returns to Gulfstream Park Thursday with an eight-race program highlighted by a guaranteed pool in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 of $500,000. First race post is 12:50 p.m.

    There could be two key races in the Rainbow sequence, both maiden claiming events.

    The third leg is a $50,000 maiden claiming race for fillies and mares at five furlongs on the turf. The race drew a field of seven led by a tepid 3-1 in the morning-line Shea On a Mission, a Carlos David-trained daughter of Mission Impazible making her career debut. Bettabe Swift draws the rail after finishing second in her career debut at the same distance and surface for trainer Kathleen O’Connell. Uncaptured Heart will try the turf for the first time for trainer Ralph Nicks.

    The eighth race, the final leg of the sequence, will also be a five-furlong turf event for 3-year-olds and up. Unlonely is listed at 7-5 off a pair of second-place finishes for trainer Joseph Saffie Jr. Nketiah drops from maiden special weight company after a fifth-place finish in his debut on the dirt at Tampa. Gilberto Zerpa is the trainer.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Medina Spirit doing well after Derby victory . . .
    BALTIMORE - John and Diane Fradkin’s Rombauer, third in the Blue Grass Stakes in his most recent start, is headed to the May 15 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. "That’s the plan,” trainer Michael McCarthy said Monday.

    The homebred son of Twirling Candy automatically qualified for a starting berth in the 146th Preakness with his victory in the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 13 at Golden Gate Fields. He was third, beaten 5¾ lengths in the Blue Grass behind champion Essential Quality and Highly Motivated, who finished fourth and 10th, respectively, in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

    Since Rombauer has been most effective running from off the pace, McCarthy said the Blue Grass did not suit him because there was no early speed in the race at Keeneland. “The horse laid a little closer than I would have liked but ran a credible third,” McCarthy said.

    Rombauer was second by three-quarters of a length in the American Pharoah (G1) on Sept. 26 at Santa Anita and completed his 2-year-old season with a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 6 at Keeneland. “He’s done everything and made a nice little progression from 2 to 3,” McCarthy said. “He’s put on a little weight. He’s a horse that takes pretty good care of himself, so he’s been pretty easy that way.”


     McCarthy said that Rombauer will have his final work at Santa Anita and will ship to Pimlico early next week.

 ‘All Systems Good’ for Kentucky Derby Hero Medina Spirit      

     Last September, Jimmy Barnes watched on his phone in an ambulance as his boss Bob Baffert captured a record-tying sixth Kentucky Derby with Authentic in the COVID-delayed Classic. Saturday, Baffert’s long-time assistant trainer was back watching the race in person at Churchill Downs as Medina Spirit provided Baffert a record-breaking seventh Kentucky Derby victory.

     Barnes had sustained a fractured wrist when the barn’s other 2020 Derby entrant, Thousand Words, reared and flipped as the assistant trainer attempted to saddle him in the paddock’s walking ring. Knocked off balance, Barnes fell and landed awkwardly on his right wrist. Barnes was back at Baffert’s Churchill Downs barn the next morning after the break was set at Louisville’s Norton Audubon Hospital, but he ultimately had surgery in California with screws inserted to stabilize the injury.

     “Especially if you win, you want to be here,” Barnes reflected Monday at Churchill Downs. “But I’d been here enough and we’d won it enough that I knew what was ahead of me. They didn’t know how hard it was going to be to get out of here. They said we could either go now (to the hospital) or it could be like 8 o’clock when you get out of here. I knew I probably had four or five hours at least ahead of me, setting it and doing all that. So I said, ‘Let’s go.’ And I watched it on my phone.”

     The mishaps weren’t over, however, as Authentic later knocked down Baffert in the Derby winner’s circle on the turf course.

     “It was nice to have Jimmy there and nobody fell down in the winner’s circle,” Baffert said Sunday of Medina Spirit’s victory in the 147th Derby. “It was very enjoyable, and it was good to do it in front of fans.”

     Now back on his pony, Barnes again is overseeing Baffert’s Pimlico-bound contingent, which, in addition to the Derby winner, could include Rebel Stakes winner Concert Tour for the May 15 Preakness as well as horses for other stakes next week. Baffert will be out to break a tie with fellow Hall of Famer Robert Wyndham Walden, who had seven Preakness winners between 1875 and 1888. Baffert’s most recent of seven Preakness champions include Triple Crown winners Justify in 2018 and American Pharoah in 2015. Each of his Preakness winners went on to be voted 3-year-old champion.

     Medina Spirit, who has never been worse than second in six career starts, paid $26.20 to win as the sixth betting choice of 19 while marking the seventh California-based horse to win the Derby in the last 10 years.

     “Was I surprised?” Barnes asked. “He was running against good horses in California. California horses are usually right there in the Kentucky Derby. He’d run second to (now-injured stablemate) Life Is Good. He was second to John Sadler’s horse (Rock Your World) in the Santa Anita Derby. So he’d run respectable races, maybe not the way we needed him to run. He wants to be up front, out in the clear and we had other horses who were faster than him. It just didn’t work out for him. He ended up having to be behind and having to close. But going a mile and a quarter, you just never know: Are we going to go on the lead the whole way? I thought there was enough speed that someone would have gone with us.”

     Medina Spirit had a second walk day Monday since keeping runner-up Mandaloun at bay for a half-length victory Saturday, with third-place Hot Rod Charlie and fourth-place favorite Essential Quality both beaten about a length for everything.

     “He’ll probably walk three days – that’s our typical deal,” Barnes said. “Maybe Wednesday he’ll jog. We’ll see how the weather is. It’s hard to give them too many days off when we’re coming right around. But all systems look good right now. Everything is good.”

     Baffert also has Concert Tour, who bypassed the Derby after finishing third in the Arkansas Derby, under Preakness consideration. Concert Tour worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:00.60 Sunday and is scheduled to work again this weekend. Gary and Mary West’s son of 2007 Derby winner Street Sense walked Monday and will jog today, Barnes said.
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Bob Baffert smells the roses for record 7th time . . .

    Medina Spirit made the First Saturday in May an 'affair to remember' for Florida's thoroughbred community, winning the 147th Kentucky Derby with a gutty performance and giving trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh victory in the world's most famous race, and jockey John Velazquez his fourth.

    It also gave Kentucky breeders apoplexy.

    A 3-year-old son of  Protonico, Medina Spirit follows in the footsteps of Florida-breds Needles (1956), Carry Back (1961), Foolish Pleasure (1975), Affirmed (1978), Unbridled (1990) and Silver Charm (1997) and is the first from the state to win since Silver Charm's victory. Baffert was also the trainer of Silver Charm.

    Medina Spirit was bred by Ocala's Gail Rice, and sold for just $1,000 to Christy Whitman at the OBS Winter sale in 2019 out of the consignment of Summerfield Sales. The Whitmans then pin-hooked him into the OBS July 2-year-old sale last year and he was purchased for $35,000 by Zedan Racing Stables, in whose colors he won today at odds of 12-1.

    Medina Spirit went into the Derby with two victories and three seconds under his belt racing strictly in California. He broke his maiden at odds of 3-1 in December racing 5 1/2 furlongs at Los Alamitos and later won the Gr. I Robert B. Lewis Stakes by a neck, with the Derby third-place finisher, Hot Rod Charlie, finishing a close third that day, too.

    Baffert's colt's second-place finishes came in the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby, Gr. II San Felipe and Gr. III Sham. His record is now 3-3-0 in six starts and today's $1,860,000 bonanza raised his total to $2,175,200.

    Velazquez put Median Spirit on the lead down the long stretch the first time around and kept the field at bay with a quarter in :23.09, a half in :46.70 and six furlongs in 1:11.21, with fellow Florida-bred Soup and Sandwich stalking in second with Tyler Gaffalione. When Soup and Sandwich began to back up, Florent Geroux took over the second spot with 26-1 Mandaloun and they remained glued that way all the way to the wire, with Medina Spirit prevailing by half a length. Hot Rod Charlie came on for third with Flavien Prat and had every chance to win it, but fell short by a length in the driving finish. Essential Quality, the 5/2 favorite, was fourth with Luis Saez, a head behind Hot Rod Charlie.

    The race went in 2:01.02 and produced some juicy payoffs for the long shot players. The $2 8-7 exacta returned $503.60, and the 50-cent 8-7-9 trifecta paid $848.45. The $1 superfecta - 8-7-9-14 - came back $9,456.40. 

    The wagering pools were astronomical: win-place-show ($69,432,825); exacta ($22,218,094); trifecta ($30,501,566) and superfecta ($13,933,415). The total all-sources handle for the day reached $233 million, second-best of all time behind 2019's $250.9 million. On the Derby alone, the handle was $155.4 million, also second-best to 2019's $165.5 million. The limited attendance totaled 51,838 after last year's sorry, no visitors edict. 

    A check of the official Equibase chart shows there was very little movement for the entire mile and a quarter. The best finish from the also-rans came from Keepmeinmind with David Cohen; the 49-1 shot rallied from 19th after three-quarters to finish seventh, about eight lengths behind the winner. 

    Now it's on to Pimlico with the obligatory, but useless, two-week speculation revolving around a Florida Triple Crown.  

     

    

    

    

    

Friday, April 30, 2021
South Florida resident wins in 18th try . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Apprentice jockey Rene Diaz broke through to notch his first career win Thursday at Gulfstream Park after guiding Jessica ($14) to a three-length victory.

    The 21-year-old jockey achieved the ever-important milestone in front-running fashion aboard the Michael Yates-trained 5-year-old mare in Race 3, a seven-furlong race for $12,500 filly and mare claimers.

    “It feels amazing. It felt like the wire was getting further and further away from me,” Diaz said. “Thank God, my parents and everyone that supported me. I’m grateful for the connections, also -- Mr. Yates, Shadybrook Farm. It’s just amazing, an amazing feeling. Indescribable.”

    Diaz, who grew up in South Florida and played high school soccer with fellow Gulfstream jockey Romero Maragh, worked his way up the ladder on the South Florida backstretches.

    “I was just freelancing in the backstretch, working for everybody and helping everyone out. Picking up things little by little, learning little by little,” he said. “It’s been a long three years of practicing until I decided this was my year to start. So much has happened due to the coronavirus. I’m just happy to be here and blessed.”

    Diaz, who won his first race on his 18th career mount, expressed gratitude to the trainers who helped him realize his dream of becoming a jockey.

    “I first started in the shedrow, shedrowing horses for [trainer] Aubrey Maragh. He gave me a huge chance. He was a big support. Also, Monica McGoey was a big support. She’s really the person that let me get my gate card and gave me a whole bunch of horses to breeze,” Diaz said. “Then I started expanding my horizons with Joe Orseno, Happy Alter, and Louis Roussel, where I learned a lot.”

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed 

     The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $400,000 today. The multi-race wager went unsolved Thursday for the sixth day since an April 17 mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $4,570 Thursday.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Essential Quality draws No. 14 with Luis Saez . . .

1. Known Agenda - Irad Ortiz  (6-1)

2. Like the King - Drayden Van Dyke  (50-1)

3. Brooklyn Strong - Umberto Rispoli (50-1)

4. Keepmeinmind - David Cohen (20-1)

5. Sainthood - Corey Lanerie (50-1)

6. O Besos - Marcelino Pedroza Jr. (20-1)

7. Mandaloun - Florent Geroux (12-1)

8. Medina Spirit - John Velazquez (15-1)

9. Hot Rod Charlie - Flavien Prat  (8-1)

10. Midnight Bourbon - Mike Smith (20-1)

11. Dynamic One - Jose Ortiz (20-1)

12. Helium - Julien Leparoux (50-1)

13. Hidden Stash - Rafael Bejarano (50-1)

14. Essential Quality - Luis Saez (2-1)

15. Rock Your World - Joel Rosario (5-1)

16. King Fury - Brian Hernandez Jr. (20-1)

17. Highly Motivated - Javier Castellano (10-1)

18. Super Stock - Ricardo Santana Jr. (30-1)

19. Soup and Sandwich - Tyler Gaffalione (30-1)

20. Bourbonic - Kendrick Carmouche (30-1)

Saturday, April 24, 2021
Passes Hall of Famer Frank Merrill . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gerald Bennett saddled the 3,975th winner of his career Friday at Gulfstream Park, becoming the winningest Canadian-born thoroughbred trainer of all time.

    The 77-year-old trainer saddled Tampa Bay Downs shipper Baby Boomer ($12.40) for a victory in Race 3 to pass Frank Merrill Jr., a Canadian Horse Hall of Famer who won 19 Canadian championships and led all North American trainers three times by races won, as well as winning four Gulfstream titles between 1955-1980.

    “Frankie Merrill had the record for the amount of wins for a Canadian-born trainer," Bennett said. "I’m Canadian-born. I raced at Woodbine and all over the place. I tied him today in the third race at Tampa. This breaks the all-time record for wins.” Bennett, saddled West Side Warrior for a win at Tampa before scoring at Gulfstream with Baby Boomer, who led throughout under Emisael Jaramillo.

    Bennett, a Springhill, Nova Scotia native, began his training career in Canada in 1976 saddling horses alongside Merrill, who passed away in 1990.

    “Frankie Merrill was big in the claiming game. When you’re young starting out, you said, ‘I’m going to be like Merrill,’” said Bennett, who ranks 13th on the all-time North America races-won list.
Bennett, who is once again dominating at Tampa with a meet-leading 55 winners this year, has gone on to be an exceptional claiming trainer but still hasn’t given up on “every horseman’s dream.”

    “I just go and try to buy young horses. We haven’t got to the Kentucky Derby, but we’ve won a lot of stakes here and there,” said Bennett, whose only Gr. 1 success came with Beau Genius in the 1990 Philip Iselin at Monmouth. “I’ve never had anyone pay a lot of money for a horse. We usually buy for $17,000-$25,000 and hope to get lucky. Sooner or later, the harder you work, you might get lucky and someday get to the Derby. That’s every horseman’s dream.”

Pino Nearing Career Milestone

    Mario Pino rode his first winner of the year Friday, giving him 6,962 victories in his long career. 
The 59-year-old Delaware native, who rallied from well off the pace under Wesley Ward-trained Frankie’s Girl ($6.60) to win Race 4 on the card, broke into the win column on his sixth mount since making his 2021 debut April 3.

    “Right now, with this win I’m 38 away from 7,000," saidPino. "That’s my goal. That’s why I keep riding right now, because I want to get 7,000. I’m so close to it.” Pino stayed fit galloping and breezing horses at Palm Meadows during the winter months. “I feel healthy enough to do I, and I love to ride anyway.”

    Pino ranks 10th all time in races won and is the third winningest active rider behind Perry Wayne Ouzts and Edgar Prado. He has ridden during the summer at Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania in recent years, but would like to reach the goal in South Florida.

    “I’d like to stay because I live here," he said. "I live in Delray. In years past, I’ve gone up to Presque Isle, but they only have a 50-day meet there. I’d rather stay here.” He has two mounts on today’s program. “I’m not pushing myself out there. Wesley’s put me on a couple and I’m grateful for that. I’d like to ride more.”

Friday, April 23, 2021
723 horses average $102,224 . . .

    Hip No. 1039, a son of Into Mischief consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, went to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Whitehorse Stables for $875,000 to top the fourth and final session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat at Saturday’s Under Tack session, is a full brother to graded stakes- placed stakes-winning OBS graduate Into Mystic, and is out of Loveofalifetime, by Medaglia d’Oro, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Savorthetime.

    Donato Lanni, Agent for Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, went to $750,000 for Hip No. 1099, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by Randy Miles, Agent. The bay filly, whose eighth on Saturday was the session’s co-fastest at the distance, is out of Meta Mu, by Street Sense, a full sister to stakes- placed Tikhvin Flew, from the family of graded stakes-winner Fantastic Fellow.

    Hip No. 1135, a son of Connect consigned by Scanlon Training & Sales, Agent, whose quarter in :20 3/5 was the fastest work at the distance at Saturday’s Under Tack session, was sold to Stonestreet Stables LLC for $685,000. The dark bay or brown colt is out of Miss Ten, by Rock Hard Ten, a daughter of stakes-winner Unbridled Danz, from the family of Gr. I stakes-winner Manistique.

    Breeze Easy LLC, Tom McGreevy, Agent, paid $640,000 for Hip No. 1177, a daughter of Connect consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth on Saturday in :10 2/5, is a half-sister to stakes-placed Thanks Mr. Eidson out of Nest Egg, by Eskendereya, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Final Round.

    Hip No. 1209, a son of Frankel (GB) consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, went to Hubert Guy Bloodstock for $535,000. The Irish-bred chestnut colt, who breezed an eighth on Saturday in :10 flat, is out of Onshore (GB), by Sea The Stars, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Jet Away.

    Hip No. 931, a son of Classic Empire consigned by L. G., Agent, was sold to Canary Bloodstock for $450,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who worked an eighth in :10 1/5 on Friday, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Kenda out of stakes-winner Indian Legend, by Cherokee Run, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Cherokee Queen.

    Hip No. 1062, a son of Twirling Candy consigned by S G V Thoroughbreds LLC (Steven Venosa), Agent, was purchased by Red Baron’s Barn & Rancho Temescal LLC for $450,000. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Saturday, is out of Malibu Drive, by Malibu Moon, a half-sister to stakes-winner Fast Scene.

    Joseph Migliore, Agent, went to $425,000 for Hip No. 1033, a daughter of Frosted who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 at Saturday’s Under Tack session. The bay filly, consigned by Scanlon Training & Sales, Agent for Excel Bloodstock (Bruno DeBerdt), is a half-sister to stakes-winner Bibby out of stakes-winner Love Cove, by Not For Love.

    Hip No. 1118, a daughter of Frosted consigned by Harris Training Center LLC, Agent, was sold to Joe Hardoon, Agent, for $425,000. The gray or roan filly, whose eighth in :9 4/5 on Saturday was the session’s co-fastest, is out of Miss Emilia, by War Front, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes- winner War Officer.

    John P. Fort paid $375,000 for Hip No. 1115, a son of Kobe’s Back consigned by Mayberry Farm, Agent. The gray or roan colt, whose eighth in :9 4/5 on Saturday was the day’s co-fastest, is a half- brother to stakes-placed Deep Red out of Miss Charades, by Mizzen Mast, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Silver Charades.

    Hip No. 996, a son of Valiant Minister consigned by S G V Thoroughbreds LLC (Steven Venosa) Agent, went to Vekuma Holdings, LLC for $350,000. The gray or roan colt, whose quarter in :20 3/5 was co-fastest at the distance at Friday’s Under Tack session, is out of La Nonna, by Unbridled’s Song, from the family of champion Apelia.

    Hip No. 949, a daughter of Astern (AUS) consigned by Shooting Star Sales LLC, went to Larry Zapp, Agent for Mike Mellen, for $340,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who breezed an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Friday, is out of Ivory Pearl, by Pulpit, a daughter of Gr. I stakes-winner Mea Domina.

    Hip No. 969, a daughter of Bernardini consigned by Gene Recio, Agent, was sold for $310,000 to Double Down Stable. The dark bay or brown filly, who worked an eighth in :10 2/5 on Friday, is out of Katama, by Medaglia d’Oro, a half-sister to stakes-winner Samara, from the family of graded stakes-winner Bernstein.

    Holly & David Wilson paid $300,000 for Hip No. 955, a son of Practical Joke consigned by Julie Davies, Agent. The chestnut colt, whose eighth in :9 4/5 on Friday was the session’s co-fastest, is out of graded stakes-winner Jenny’s So Great, by Greatness, from the family of Gr. I stakes-winner Supah Gem.

    CaSal Stables LLC went to $300,000 for Hip No. 1025, Symposiarch, a son of Kantharos consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent. The chestnut colt, who turned in a quarter in :20 4/5 on Saturday, is a half- brother to stakes-placed Barbary Hall out of Livia B Quick, by Crafty Prospector, from the family of Gr. I stakes-winning OBS graduate Chaposa Springs.

    Hip No. 1091, a daughter of Twirling Candy consigned by Tom McCrocklin, Agent, went to Victoria A. McGowan for $300,000. The bay filly, a half-sister to stakes-winner Medolina out of stakes-placed Melody Maiden, by Saint Ballado, breezed a quarter in :21 flat on Saturday.

    For the day, 167 horses brought a total of $19,056,000 compared with 159 selling for a total of $17,364,000 last year. The average price was $114,108, compared to $109,211 in 2020, while the median price was $65,000 compared to $50,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 14.4%; it was 16.7% in 2020.

    For the entire sale, 723 horses sold for a Spring Sale record total of $73,907,900 compared with 634 horses bringing $57,715,000 in 2020. The average price was $102,224, compared with $91,033 a year ago. The median was $50,000, identical to last year’s $50,000. The buyback percentage was 13.2%; it was 18.5% last year.


Friday, April 23, 2021
Flagler Dog Track Leads Pompano Park; Gulfstream last . . .

    The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering's statistics for the current fiscal year, which began July 1 and runs through June 30, are up-to-date through February for the eight pari-mutuel casinos in South Florida.

    The picture in 2021 differs little from a decade ago, except for one major category. In years gone by, the Isle Casino at Pompano Park was perennially No. 1 in the amount  of nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars that were dropped into its slot machines. The reason was simple: Pompano is the first venue available for the affluent players from Palm Beach and West Palm Beach on their trip south to the land of gambling. 

    There is no reason for those players to continue down I-95 or the Turnpike to Dania, or Hollywood, or Miami, unless they have paid strict attention to the takeouts of each casino and decided to go for the better deal. As shown in the charts below, Flagler Dog Track has taken over the top spot in the "credits in" department, which is another term for money dipped into the slots. Flagler's total comes to $717,919,182 for the eight months, while Pompano has dropped to second with $675,572,777. This could be because players ARE now paying attention to the takeouts - an outrageous 9.36 percent at Pompano and 6.53 percent at Flagler. 

    All the casinos that have at least one road leading to them that is pretty much free of competition have fared the best in this important battle for the wagering dollar. It's the reason that Dania Jai Alai, Gulfstream Park and Hollywood Dog Track are the bottom three of the eight in relation to net slot revenue. They're just too close to each other.

    From Gulfstream it takes a couple of minutes to go north to Hollywood Dogs, and another five or so to reach Dania. Added to that it's a short hop west to the Hard Rock on Highway 441 and the problem of stiff competition is apparent. At the top of the success list is Pompano raking in $55 million, while Gulfstream brings up the rear with $23 million. 

    The other major problem stems from the state of Florida and its onerous 35 percent tax on the net slot revenue, while doing little to advance the pari-mutuel industry. So far in the fiscal year, the state has collected $97,383,494 from the pari-mutuels. And there's still four months to go. 

    Talk about Highway 27 robbery.      

 Following are the stats and the rankings for the 8 casinos through April 30:    

 AMOUNT WAGERED (Credits In)

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1. Magic City Casino (Flagler Dog Track) - $717,919,182.

2. Isle Casino & Racing (Pompano Park) - $675,572,777. 

3. Hialeah Park - $619,181,779. 

4. Miami Jai Alai - $530,606,392.

5. Calder Casino & Race Course - $478,511,934.

6. Casino at Dania Beach (Jai Alai) - $439,306,680.

7. Big Easy Casino (Hollywood Dog Track) - 388,586,073.

8. Gulfstream Park - $382,322,778.

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NET SLOT REVENUE (with payout percentage & takeout)

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1. Isle Casino & Racing (Pompano Park, 90.64%; 9.36%) - $55,525,402. 

2. Magic City Casino (Flagler Dog Track, 93.47%; 6.53%) - $43,685,091. 

3. Hialeah Park (93.50%; 6.50%) - $37,122,765. 

4. Miami Jai Alai (92.28%; 7.72%) - $34,599,717.

5. Calder Casino & Race Course (91.15%; 8.85%) - $34,146,704.

6. Casino at Dania Beach (92.08%; 7.92%) - $26,133,195.

7. Big Easy Casino (Hollywood Dog Track, 91.74%; 8.26%) - $23,843,570.

8. Gulfstream Park (91.46%; 8.54%) - $23,182,111.

Friday, April 23, 2021
De Meric hits 3 of the top 4-selling juveniles . . .

    Hip No. 830, a daughter of Curlin consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, went to Bradley Thoroughbreds LLC for $670,000 to top the third session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 at Friday’s Under Tack session, is out of graded stakes-winner Funny Proposition, by Medaglia d’Oro, a daughter of stakes-winner Humorous Miss.

    Hip No. 644, a son of Flatter also consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to Lauren Carlisle, Agent & Myracehorse.com for $625,000. The chestnut colt, who breezed an eighth at Thursday’s Under Tack session in :10 1/5, is a full brother to stakes-winner Search Results, recent winner of Aqueduct’s Gr. III Gazelle Stakes, out of graded stakes-placed Co Cola, by Candy Ride (ARG), from the family of millionaire Gr. I stakes-winning OBS graduate Mind Your Biscuits.

    Hip No. 786, a son of Pioneerof the Nile consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold to Gayle Van Leer, Agent, for $575,000. The dark bay or brown colt, whose quarter in :20 4/5 into a stiff headwind was the fastest work at the distance at Thursday’s Under Tack session, is out of Fancy Day (IRE), by Shamardal, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Tizdubai, a full sister to champion Tiznow.

    Hip No. 744, a son of Curlin consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, went to Mike Ryan, Agent, for $425,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who worked an eighth in :10 2/5 on Thursday, is a half- brother to Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Drefong out of Eltimaas, by Ghostzapper, a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Action This Day.

    John Ballantyne/N B S Stable paid $375,000 for Hip No. 782, a daughter of Lord Nelson consigned by Randy Miles, Agent. The chestnut filly, who worked an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Thursday, is out of stakes-placed Fairy Star (AUS), by More Than Ready, a half-sister to Gr. I stakes-placed Lizard Island.

    Hip No. 905, a daughter of Street Boss consigned by Mayberry Farm, Agent, was purchased by Martin Anthony for $360,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who worked an eighth in :10 flat on Friday, is out of Hinder, by Stroll, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Fashion Faux Pas.

    Kaleem Shah, Inc. went to $310,000 for Hip No. 902, a son of Klimt consigned by Eisaman Equine, Agent. The chestnut colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Friday, is out of Hey Little Sister, by Jump Start, a half-sister to stakes-winner Smoke It Right.

    Hip No. 684, a son of Overanalyze consigned by Dynasty Thoroughbreds, was sold to Mike Ryan, Agent, for $300,000. The chestnut colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Thursday, is out of Curlamorous, by Curlin, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Da Stoops.

    Hip No. 909, a son of Nyquist consigned by Paul Sharp, Agent, was purchased by D. J. Stable LLC for $300,000. The bay colt, who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Friday, is out of graded stakes-placed Honey Chile, by Invisible Ink, a full sister to stakes-winner Prince of Time.

    GMP Stables LLC/Anthony Melfi went to $285,000 for Hip No. 747, a son of Shackleford consigned by Omar Ramirez Bloodstock, Agent. The chestnut colt, who breezed an eighth on Thursday in :10 flat, is a full brother to stakes-placed Madrugador out of Elusive Tara, by Elusive Quality, a daughter of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Lenatareese.

    For the day, 155 horses brought $14,491,000, compared with 163 selling for $11,151,000 at last year’s third session. The average price was $93,490, up 36.6% compared to $68,411 in 2020 while the median price was $50,000, compared with $40,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 18.8%; it was 18.5% last year.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Mayberry Farm sells Arrogate filly for $1 million . . .

    Hip No. 381, a son of Quality Road consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, went to Speedway Stables, LLC, for $1,500,000 to top the second session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat at Tuesday’s Under Tack session, is a half-brother to stakes-placed Coffee Crush out of graded stakes-winner Wasted Tears, by Najran.

    Hip No. 463, a daughter of Arrogate consigned by Mayberry Farm, Agent, was sold to Katsumi Yoshida for $1,000,000. The gray or roan filly, whose eighth in :10 flat was co-fastest at the distance at Wednesday’s Under Tack session, is out of graded stakes-winner Amen Hallelujah by Montbrook, a daughter of stakes- winner Sara’s Success.

    Mike Talla, West Point Thoroughbreds, L.E.B., Agent, paid $750,000 for Hip No. 490, a son of Arrogate consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent. The gray or roan colt, who breezed an eighth in a co-fastest :10 flat on Wednesday, is a half-brother to millionaire Gr. I stakes-winner Heart to Heart out of Ask the Question, by Silver Deputy.

    Hip No. 605, a son of Union Rags consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, went to Repole Stable, Inc. for $750,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who worked a quarter on Wednesday in :20 4/5, is a half-brother to stakes-placed Champagne Humor out of Champagne Ice, by Roman Ruler, a full sister to Gr. I stakes- winner Ruler On Ice.

    Hip No. 594, a daughter of Curlin consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, was sold to Norman W. Casse for $600,000. The chestnut filly, who worked a co-fastest eighth in :10 flat on Wednesday, is a half-sister to stakes-winner Checkered Past out of Catch the Flag, by A.P. Indy, a daughter of champion Catch the Ring.

    Hip No. 512, a daughter of Maclean’s Music consigned by Paul Sharp, Agent, was purchased for $575,000 by Red Baron’s Barn & Rancho Temescal. The chestnut filly, whose eighth in :10 flat was Wednesday’s co-fastest, is out of Beautified, by Congrats, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Makeup Artist.

    Hip No. 365, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to Mike Ryan, Agent, for $500,000. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Tuesday, is out of Versailles Song, by Unbridled’s Song, a daughter of Gr. I stakes-winner Versailles Treaty.

    Donato Lanni, Agent for Frank Fletcher Racing, paid $490,000 for Hip No. 530, a son of Runhappy consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent. The dark bay or brown colt, a half-brother to graded stakes-placed Hardworkcleanlivin out of Bible Belt, by Pulpit, breezed an eighth in a co-fastest :10 flat on Wednesday.

    Hip No. 394, a daughter of Upstart consigned by Tom McCrocklin, Agent, was purchased by Spendthrift Farm LLC / Myracehorse.com for $450,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who turned in an Under Tack quarter in :20 4/5 last Tuesday, is out of Who’sbeeninmybed, by The Daddy, a half- sister to graded stakes-winner Mr. Bowling.

    Hip No. 576, a daughter of Cupid consigned by Q Bar J Thoroughbreds, whose quarter in :20 2/5 was the fastest work at the distance at Wednesday’s Under Tack session, went to Ben McElroy, Agent for M. V. Magnier for $440,000. The bay filly is out of Callipepla, by Yes It’s True, from the family of graded stakes-winner Annie Cake.

    Hip No. 317, a daughter of Classic Empire consigned by Golden Rock Thoroughbreds, went to Donato Lanni, Agent, for $410,000. The chestnut filly, whose quarter on Tuesday in :20 2/5 was the day’s fastest at the distance, is out of Tigress Tale, by Tale of the Cat, a half-sister to graded stakes- winner Stays in Vegas.

    Hip No. 429, a son of Maclean’s Music consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, was sold to Myracehorse.com & Saratoga Seven for $400,000. The bay colt, who worked a quarter in :20 4/5 on Wednesday, is out of You Make Luvin Fun, by A. P. Indy, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Classic Elegance.

    First Row Partners, BSW/Crow, Agent, went to $365,000 for Hip No. 392, a daughter of Candy Ride (ARG) consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent. The chestnut filly, who worked an eighth in :10 flat on Tuesday, is out of White Sangria, by Giant’s Causeway, a daughter of stakes-winner Comancina.

    Hip No. 521, a daughter of Empire Maker consigned by Best A Luck Farm LLC, Agent, went to Belladonna Racing LLC for $350,000. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 2/5 on Wednesday, is a full sister to graded stakes-winner Keri Belle out of graded stakes-winner Belleski, by Bellamy Road.

    Hip No. 486, Triple a Okay, a daughter of Arrogate consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Agent for Chester & Mary Broman, who turned in a co-fastest Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Wednesday, went to D. J. Stable LLC for $335,000. The gray or roan filly, a half-sister to stakes-winning OBS graduate Chestertown, is out of Gr. I stakes-winner Artemis Agrotera, by Roman Ruler.

    Hip No. 305, a son of Midnight Storm consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, was sold to West Point Thoroughbreds, Inc., L.E.B. Agent, for $320,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 on Tuesday, is out of Tex Appeal, by Successful Appeal, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Strait From Texas. 

    For the day, 181 horses brought $21,056,500, compared with 158 selling for $15,990,000 at last year’s second session. The average price was $116,334, up 15% compared to $101,203 in 2021 while the median price was $47,000, compared with $55,000 a year ago. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Eisaman Equine scores for $850,000 . . .

    Hip No. 118, a son of Gun Runner consigned by Eisaman Equine, Agent, went to Donato Lanni, Agent for Michael Lund Petersen, for $850,000 to top the first session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The gray or roan colt, whose eighth in :10 flat was co-fastest at the distance at Monday’s Under Tack session, is out of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Salamera, by Successful Appeal, a half-sister to champion Vivaldi Girl.

    Hip No. 185, a son of Distorted Humor who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 on Monday, was sold to Spendthrift Farm LLC / Myracehorse.com for $550,000. The bay colt, consigned by Mayberry Farm, Agent, is out of Gr. I stakes-placed Silverpocketsfull, by Indian Charlie, a daughter of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Unforgotten.

    Maverick Racing / CMNWLTH paid $550,000 for Hip No. 297, a son of Midnight Storm consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed a quarter on Tuesday in :20 4/5, is out of Tasunke, by Indian Charlie, from the family of Gr. I stakes-winner Tap to Music.

  Hip No. 44, a daughter of Munnings consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold to Fawzi Nass for $425,000. The bay filly, who turned in an Under Tack quarter in :21 flat on Monday, is a half-sister to twice champion and Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky out of Private Feeling, by Belong to Me.

    Hip No. 104, a son of Noble Bird consigned by Ocala Stud, Agent, was sold for $400,000 to West Bloodstock, Agent for Robert E. & Lawana Low. The chestnut colt, who breezed a quarter on Monday in :20 4/5, is out of stakes-winner Rosebud’s Ridge, by Tiger Ridge, a half-sister to the dam of graded stakes- winning millionaire and OBS graduate C Z’s Rocket, winner of the recent Gr. III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

    Hip No. 262, a son of Twirling Candy consigned by Grassroots Training & Sales LLC, was sold to Nicoma Bloodstock/Ben Gowans, Agent for $375,000. The dark bay or brown colt, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest at the distance on Tuesday, is out of Sumlin, by Eskendereya, a daughter of graded stakes- placed Visavis.

    Solis/Litt went to $360,000 for Hip No. 132, a daughter of Valiant Minister consigned by Coastal Equine LLC (Jesse Hoppel), Agent. The dark bay or brown filly, who worked a quarter in :20 4/5 at Monday’s Under Tack session, is out of stakes-winner Savingtime, by Kantharos, from the family of champion Blushing Katy.

    Hip No. 202, a son of Cairo Prince consigned by Randy Miles, Agent, was purchased by John Ballantyne/N B S Stable for $335,000. The gray or roan colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5, is out of Smart ‘n Special, by Smart Strike, a full sister to Gr. I stakes-winner Shadow Cast.

    Hip No. 207, a daughter of Empire Maker consigned by Julie Davies LLC, Agent, went to Bradley Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent, for $310,000. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Tuesday, is a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Souper Colossal out of Soaring Emotions, by Kingmambo.

    Hip No. 219, a son of Lord Nelson who worked an eighth on Tuesday in :10 2/5 was sold to Columbine Stables for $310,000. The dark bay or brown colt, consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, is out of Southern Drifter, by Dixie Union, a three-quarter sister to stakes-winner Excellent Band.

    J. Stevens Bloodstock, Agent went to $310,000 for Hip No. 252, a son of Hard Spun consigned by Harris Training Center LLC, Agent. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth on Tuesday in :10 flat, is out of stakes- placed Strike Accord, by Smart Strike, a half-sister to stakes-winner Held Accountable.

    Hip No. 264, a son of Midnight Storm who turned in an eighth on Tuesday in :9 4/5, was purchased by John P. Fort for $310,000. Consigned by Parrish Farms, Agent, the dark bay or brown colt is out of Summer of Joy, by Sky Mesa, a full sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Spectacular Sky.

    West Point Thoroughbreds, Inc., L.E.B. Agent went to $310,000 for Hip No. 275, a daughter of Morning Line consigned by Two Oaks Equine. The dark bay or brown filly, who worked an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5, is out of stakes-placed Sweet Golden Carol, by Medaglia d’Oro, a half-sister to stakes-winner Sirpa.

    Hip No. 286, a son of Maclean’s Music consigned by Off the Hook LLC, Agent for Global Thoroughbreds, was sold to Ed & Susie Orr for $310,000. The dark bay or brown colt, whose quarter in :20 3/5 on Tuesday was co-fastest at the session, is out of System Time, by Girolamo, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Animal Spirits.

    Hip No. 107, a daughter of Violence consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold to Marette Farrell, Agent for Exline-Border Racing LLC for $300,000. The bay filly, whose quarter-mile breeze in :20 3/5 on Monday was the day’s fastest at the distance, is a half-sister to stakes-placed Bano Solo out of Royale Paradise, by Unbridled’s Song, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Royale Michele.

    Hip No. 257, a son of Competitive Edge consigned by Envision Equine, Agent, went to Donato Lanni, Agent for Joe Bucci for $300,000. The bay colt, who worked a quarter on Tuesday in :20 3/5, is out of Stylish Quality, by Quality Road, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Term of Art.

    For the session, 181 horses brought $17,829,500, compared with 154 selling for $13,209,500 at last year’s opening session. The average price was $98,506, up 14.9% compared to $85,776 in 2020 while the median price was $50,000, compared with $46,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 19.5%; it was 19.8% last year.

Saturday, April 17, 2021
The four include Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium . . .
    OLDSMAR - Four Kentucky Derby candidates who competed at Tampa Bay Downs this season worked  over the last few days in the Bluegrass State as their trainers stepped up preparations for the May 1 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

    Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium, who has not raced since his March 6 victory here, breezed 5 furlongs from the gate at Churchill Downs on Friday in 1:01 4/5 under Julien Leparoux. The unbeaten (3-for-3) colt had breezed 5 furlongs in 59 1/5 seconds last Saturday over the Churchill Downs surface.

    Owned by D. J. Stable and trained by Mark Casse, Helium will be ridden in the 147th edition of the mile-and-a-quarter classic by Leparoux, who replaces Jose Ferrer, his jockey in the Tampa Bay Derby.

    Hidden Stash, who was second here to Helium and third in the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 6, breezed 4 furlongs Wednesday at Keeneland in 47 4/5. Trainer Vicki Oliver is expected to van him to Churchill Downs on April 27. Although he is currently 23rd in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points standings (the field is limited to 20 starters), three horses ahead of him have been withdrawn, making him eligible. Rafael Bejarano is the jockey.

    Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby winner Known Agenda, who finished fifth in the Sam F. Davis in his lone Tampa Bay Downs start, breezed 5 furlongs on Friday at Churchill Downs in 1:00 2/5. The Todd Pletcher-trainee, who has improved dramatically since the addition of blinkers, has the services of Irad Ortiz Jr.

    Florida-bred colt Soup and Sandwich, the runner-up in the Florida Derby, went out this morning at Churchill Downs, breezing 5 furlongs in 59 4/5. He galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:12 2/5 and completed 7 furlongs in 1:25 1/5.

    Soup and Sandwich broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 24 in a mile-and-40-yard allowance/optional claiming event. Tyler Gaffalione will ride for Casse and breeder-owner Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation.

    Essential Quality, the 2020 2-Year-Old Eclipse Award winner who is a perfect 5-for-5, worked 5 furlongs this morning in 59 3/5 under jockey Luis Saez. Almost certain to be the race’s betting favorite, he is owned by his breeder, Godolphin, and trained by Brad Cox.

    Tickets still are available for the May 1 Tampa Bay Downs card featuring the simulcast of the 147th Kentucky Derby. Tampa Bay Downs plans to celebrate the occasion with a 12-race program leading to the race. Attendance will be limited, and anyone wishing to attend must purchase tickets in advance, either online or at the Customer Service window on the first floor of the Grandstand.

    Advance wagering on the Derby will be available on Friday, April 30 for those unable to secure a ticket for May 1. The April 30 Churchill Downs card includes the running of the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

A front-row box for six people in the Grandstand on Derby Day is $350, with other boxes available for $250. General-admission tickets are $10 each, with seating on a first-come, first-serve basis. The gates will open at 10 a.m. and there will be a noon post time (the races at Churchill will start earlier).

Kentucky Derby Picnic Area tables have sold out. Individual Picnic Area tickets, which are $10, are still available. All online purchases include a service fee.

Mint juleps will be sold in official Kentucky Derby souvenir glasses. For details, visit www.tampabaydowns.com on the Internet or call (813) 855-4401
Friday, April 16, 2021
Laki Lio earns $40,000 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Bella Inizio Farm LLC’s Laki Lio captured the first race of the juvenile racing season at Gulfstream Park today with a dominating gate-to-wire victory.

    The Jena Antonucci-trained son of Pleasant Acres Stallions' Ride On Curlin quickly opened up a clear lead and was never threatened thereafter, scoring by 3 ½ lengths under Angel Arroyo.


   “He’s my little rocket ship,” Antonucci said.

    Laki Lio ($11), who broke from the rail post position, ran 4 ½ furlongs in :52.16 seconds in the dash that was carded as Race 2 on the nine-race program. The clocking is just one second off the track record. The $40,000 winner's check made Laki Lio the leading money-winning 2-year-old in the country thus far.

   “I loved having the one hole. We knew he was quick out of the gate,” Antonucci said. “I loved that he could just stay focused on his job and get out there and just go and set a pace.”

    Merlin finished second, a neck ahead of Kitodan, the 4-5 favorite in a field of seven.

   Laki Lio, a Florida home-bred, is eligible for the lucrative Florida Sire Stakes Series that kicks off in August. “This one is a little special for us because I own his grand-dam and I own his dam. The family is cool,” Antonucci said. “We were going to sell him as a yearling, but he didn’t keep growing. He was a first foal. We started training him and developing him at the farm and all of a sudden we were like, ‘This is an interesting little horse. He’s pretty quick. We kept him and just stayed patient."

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
It's the 4th of this season . . .
    OLDSMAR - Fueled by continued gains in simulcast revenue, Tampa Bay Downs has increased purses by 10 percent for the fourth time during the 2020-2021 meeting. The boost takes effect with today’s card and extends through the season finale on May 2.

    Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager, said purses for each race will be increased by $3,000 from their previous levels. Purses for maiden special weight races have been hiked to $29,000, which includes $1,000 per race from the Florida Owners’ Awards program.

    Tampa Bay Downs has now raised purses by 40 percent since the Nov. 25 Opening Day card.

    “The latest increase is a tribute to our horsemen who strive to deliver a quality product, the racing office for its efforts to provide competitive racing with full fields and fans around the country who continue to flock to our signal,” Berube said.

    Tampa Bay Downs previously boosted purses on Dec. 16, Feb. 3 and Feb. 20
.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
4 colts, 3 fillies go in a $65,000 maiden special . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The racing season for 2-year-olds at Gulfstream Park will kick off Friday, when a field of four colts and three fillies is scheduled to debut in a $65,000 maiden special weight event.

    Carded as Race 2, the 4 ½-furlong dash has attracted several entrants with stakes pedigrees, including Noble Present, a half-sister to Ceci Valentina, a multiple- stakes-winner who has earned more than $277,000. Noble Present’s owner/breeder, Amalio Ruiz-Lozano, and trainer Angel Rodriguez campaigned Ceci Valentina, who captured the $200,000 Florida Sire Stakes Susan’s Girl at Gulfstream, as well as Gulfstream West’s Juvenile Filly Sprint in 2019.

    Noble Present's sire is Noble Bird, a Gr. 1 winner who earned more than $1.3 million. Rodriguez is also scheduled to saddle Ruiz-Lozano’s Rayo, a Florida-bred son of Long Island Sound. Leonel Reyes has the mount aboard Noble Present, while Jesus Rios has the call on Rayo.

    Arindel’s Quinoa Tifah kicked off the 2020 juvenile season at Gulfstream with an upset victory last April. Arindel will be represented in Friday’s race by Merlin, a home-bred son of Brethren who is a full brother to multiple stakes-placed Genghis. Edgard Zayas has the call.

    Super Super Stable’s Wow Tapit will bring a solid pedigree into the race. The Amador Sanchez-trained daughter of Cairo Prince is out of a Tapit mare whose second dam is Saoirse, a multiple graded stakes-winner in Canada and the U. S. who won the 2000 Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion older filly or mare. Hector Berrios has been named to ride the filly who was bred in Kentucky by Calumet.

    Joker Racing LLC’s Kitodan, a son of Point of Entry out of an Unbridled’s Song mare, is set to debut for trainer Jorge Delgado. Kitodan is a half-brother to graded stakes-placed Market King, who ran without success in the 2019 Preakness. Paco Lopez, who celebrated reaching the 3,000-win milestone on Saturday, has the mount.

    Owner/trainer Daniel Pita enjoyed success last year with juvenile filly Princess Secret, who won her debut before going on to capture the $200,000 FSS Susan’s Girl and $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl. Pita’s Broadway Belle, a daughter of Khozan whose dam was stakes-placed five times, is set to make her debut. Miguel Vasquez has the call on the Florida-bred filly.

    Bella Inizio Farm’s LLC’s Laki Lio, a Jenna Antonucci-trained son of Ride on Curlin, rounds out the field. Angel Arroyo has been named to ride the home-bred colt.

   Several of the entrants are eligible for the 2021 Florida Sire Stakes series that will get underway in August.

Rainbow 6 Pool Guarantee Growing 

    Racing returns Thursday with a nine-race program and a guaranteed pool of $750,000 in the Rainbow 6. First race post is 1 p.m. The sequence begins with Race 4 and will feature four turf races. 
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Score in 3 stakes in Hot Springs and 2 in Lexington . . .

OAKLAWN:

    Gary Barber, Tom Kagele and Madaket Stables LLC’s C Z Rocket swept to the lead coming off the turn in the $500,000, Gr. III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap and once again got the best of Sprint champion Whitmore, easing away late to beat him to the wire by two lengths. That’s five stakes wins for the 7-year-old Florida-bred son of City Zip, who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5 before he was purchased out of the Stephens Thoroughbred consignment at the 2016 OBS June Sale for a then sale record $800,000. Now 25-11-2-2 for trainer Peter Miller, he boosted his earnings to $1,311,641.

    Allied Racing Stable, LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC’s By My Standards, idle since November, returned to work in fine form, leading a 1-2-3 OBS sweep of the $400,000 Oaklawn Mile Stakes. The 5-year-old son of OBS graduate Goldencents chased the pace from the outside on the backstretch, charged down the stretch after fellow OBS graduate Rushie (March ’19) and caught him at the wire to win by a nose. Wells Bayou (March ’19) rallied to complete the OBS trifecta. Trained by Bret Calhoun, he now has five stakes wins, a 15-7-4-1 career record and has earned $2,069,430. Consigned to the 2018 OBS April Sale by Scanlon Training & Sales, Agent, he was sold to J. Stevens Bloodstock, Agent, for $150,000 after working an eighth in :10 3/5 at the Under Tack Show.

  Hronis Racing LLC’s Edgeway picked up her first stakes victory in the $250,000 Carousel Stakes, taking charge in the stretch and holding off a late rally by even money favorite Frank’s Rockette by three quarters of a length. The 4-year-old filly by Competitive Edge, trained by John Sadler, is now 6-4-1-1 and has earned $307,200. She was purchased for $275,000 out of the Mayberry Farm consignment at the 2019 OBS April Sale after breezing an eighth in :10 flat at the Under Tack Show.

KEENELAND:

    Tom R. Durant’s Silver Dust pressed the pace in the $150,00, Gr. III Ben Ali Stakes, took over coming off the turn and held on gamely in the lane to score by half a length. It’s the fourth graded stakes win for the 7-year-old gelding by Tapit, who turned in an Under Tack quarter in :21 2/5 before he was purchased for $510,000 out of the de Meric Sales consignment at the 2016 OBS March Sale. Now 33-7-7-5 for trainer Bret Calhoun, he has earned $975,677. 

    Horseshoe Racing LLC’s Change of Control relaxed off the pace early in the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway Stakes, circled horses on the turn to reach contention, wore down fellow OBS graduate Into Mystic (April ’18) and was best by a length. It’s the second stakes win for the 5-year-old daughter of Fed Biz, purchased for $95,000 out of the Kaizen Sales consignment at the 2017 OBS Selected Yearling Sale. Trained by Michelle Lovell, she’s now 25-6-5-5 with $413,939 in earnings.

Sunday, April 11, 2021
Allen rides 3 winners . . .
    OLDSMAR - On Monday, exactly 105 years will have passed since automobile pioneer Ransom E. Olds paid $500,000 to purchase 37,541 acres of land on the northern tip of Tampa Bay, naming his new town R. E. Olds-on-the-Bay.

    Ten years later, in 1926, the city began establishing a reputation for horsepower of a different sort during the inaugural season of Tampa Downs, which conducted a 39-day meetin
g.

    The two longstanding success stories, which continue to thrive, celebrated the city’s birth and the track’s growth yesterday with its annual Oldsmar Cup Day. The 5-year-old Willing to Speed – conditioned, appropriately, by two-time track training champion Kathleen O’Connell and ridden by Hector Rafael Diaz, Jr. – won the featured Oldsmar Cup on the turf, run as the eighth race.

    “This is a great event that is very special to the City of Oldsmar,” said Vice Mayor Dan Saracki, who attended the festivities with his wife Paula. Also on hand were City Council member Steve Graber and City Clerk Ann Nixon.

    After celebrating the city’s centennial in October of 2016 with a concert at the racetrack, Saracki and Margo Flynn, the track’s Vice President of Marketing & Publicity, moved the annual Oldsmar Cup race day to coincide with the founding date of the city.

    “It’s an event that brings the city and the people together,” Saracki said. “I believe that Tampa Bay Downs is a partner with the city, and the Oldsmar Cup brings families here for a great day of racing. The changes that have taken place here over the years are a sign that (Tampa Bay Downs) is committed to the community. It’s very important that we keep this tradition going.”

AROUND THE OVAL - Ronnie Allen Jr., rode three winners Saturday, including a dead-heat in the fourth race aboard 4-year-old filly Sniper Sis. Allen, a four-time Oldsmar riding champion, piloted Sniper Sis home for owner Houyhnhnm Stable and trainer Ron G. Potts. Sniper Sis dead-heated with Volador, ridden by Huber Villa-Gomez. Volador is owned by Metro Thoroughbreds and trained by Derek Ryan.

    Allen next won the seventh race in gate-to-wire fashion on Meanasasnake, a 5-year-old Florida mare owned and trained by Maria Bowersock. He added the 10th race – the Lambholm South Race of the Week, which was switched from the turf to the main track due to squalls – on 10-year-old gelding Fox Rox, owned by Mark Hoffman and trained by Dennis Ward.

    Villa-Gomez, Daniel Centeno and Hector Rafael Diaz Jr., each won two races. Villa-Gomez, who has won with eight of his last 28 starters since March 21, won the second race on 11-1 shot Erin Go Braugh, a 5-year-old Florida-bred horse owned by Jedal Enterprises and trained by Dalton Lawrence.

    Centeno won the first race on Relishment, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Winning Stables Inc., and trained by Gerald Bennett. Centeno added the ninth on Ain’t Wasting Time, a 4-year-old colt owned by Gentry Farms and trained by Saffie Joseph Jr.

    In addition to his victory on Willing to Speed, Diaz won the fifth race on the turf on Dance Pants, a 3-year-old colt owned by Lael Stables and trained by Arnaud Delacour.

    Tampa Bay Downs races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule through May 2. Tickets are available for the Saturday, May 1 card, which will be highlighted by the simulcast of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby (due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance at Tampa Bay Downs that day will be limited). Tickets may be purchased online at www.tampabaydowns.com or at the Customer Service window on the first floor of the Grandstand.

    The gates will open at 10 a.m. and there will be a noon post time for the Tampa Bay Downs program, which is expected to consist of 12 races. A front-row box for six people in the grandstand is $350, with other boxes available for $250. General admission tickets are $10 each, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. All online purchases include a service fee.

    Picnic Area tables have sold out. However, individual Picnic Area tickets, which are $10, are still available. Mint juleps, a Derby tradition, will be sold in official souvenir glasses.




Sunday, April 11, 2021
Scheduled for 6 days . . .
    Today's first session of the Under Tack Show for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds has been postponed. With severe impending weather approaching it has been determined that it is the best and safest course of action for both horses and people.

    The Under Tack Show will now be held over six sessions beginning tomorrow, April 12 and continuing through Saturday, April 17 with all sessions starting at 8:00 a.m.


Revised Schedule:
Hip No. 1 – 203 Monday, April 12, 2021  8:00 a.m.
Hip No. 204 – 406  Tuesday, April 13, 2021  8:00 a.m.
Hip No. 407- 608  Wednesday, April 14, 2021  8:00 a.m.
Hip No. 609 – 811  Thursday, April 15, 2021  8:00 a.m.
Hip No. 812 – 1014  Friday, April 16, 2021  8:00 a.m.
Hip No. 1015 – 1217  Saturday, April 17, 2021  8:00 a.m
.

    The Sale remains set for Tuesday, April 20 through Friday, April 23 with each session beginning at 10:30 a.m. Hip No’s 1-304 go on the block Tuesday, Hip No’s 305-608 will be offered Wednesday, Hip No.’s 609-912 sell Thursday and Hip No’s. 913-1217 will sell on Friday.

    The Under Tack Show will be streamed live via the OBS website at obssales.com and via the TDN, DRF, Blood-Horse and Past The Wire websites. The workouts will be recorded and can be viewed on the website, in their entirety or by individual hip number. They will also be available in the Video Room as well as several kiosks in the breezeway and covered walking ring. Visitors to Ocala will find the videos available for in-room viewing at The Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Residence Inn and the Ocala Hilton, plus lounge viewing is available at the Hilton. Under Tack Show results are posted on the OBS website.
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Paco wins first 3 races at Gulfstream . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Paco Lopez notched his 3000th victory today at Gulfstream Park, reaching the career milestone via the disqualification of the first-place finisher in Race 2.

    After notching No. 2,999 aboard Our Little Devil ($5.20) in Race 1, Lopez was awarded the 3,000th victory of his career by the stewards, who placed Heart of God ($6) first in Race 2 following the disqualification of the first-place finisher. The 35-year-old journeyman came right back to win Race 3 aboard Eamonn ($5.60
) to make it 3,001.

     “It’s exciting to make the milestone with my agent, Cory Moran, who was with me from the beginning. It’s also exciting to win my 3,000th race in South Florida, where I started,” Lopez said. “I won a lot of races in Mexico with the quarter horses, but to win 3,000 races in America with the best horses and the best jockeys, I’m feeling very lucky to be here.”

    After riding quarter horses in his native Mexico from a young age, Lopez ventured to South Florida in 2006, riding his first winner on July 13, 2007 at Calder. He won 229 races and nearly $4 million in purse earnings on his way to winning the Eclipse Award as champion apprentice in his first full season in 2008.

   Lopez won back-to-back Championship Meet riding titles at Gulfstream in 2010 and 2011. He also won the 2019 Gulfstream Park West crown and owns 11 riding championships in New Jersey, eight of them at Monmouth Park, where he spends the summer and early fall.

    Lopez was joined in the winner’s circle for a special presentation by his wife Renata and two young sons. “I’m very excited and I thank God for my family and for the chance to ride in America,” he said.

    Lopez has won 89 career graded stakes, eight of them Gr. 1's, including his first in the 2014 Whitney with South Florida-based Itsmyluckyday and the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint aboard Roy H.

Friday, April 9, 2021
He's listed on 6 horses today at Gulfstream . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Popular and personable jockey Paco Lopez, an Eclipse Award winner and twice the leading rider during Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet, is on the verge of reaching a career milestone.

     Lopez, 35, captured the eighth-race finale aboard Kahiko ($5), his lone victory from six mounts, as live racing returned to Gulfstream Thursday. He enters today’s nine-race program (1 p.m. post time) with 2,998 career wins according to Equibase statistics, which also noted one quarter horse win in 2009 at Hialeah. Lopez is named in six races and 10 of 11 races Saturday.

     “Just the thought of winning 3,000 races and being with him from the start is pretty phenomenal,” Lopez’s agent, Cory Moran, said. “We’ve been together through this and it’s been amazing. There’sriders that get to 3,000, but I just think it’s amazing we did it together. I’m grateful and blessed through this journey. The journey has had its ups and downs but Paco’s a good guy and a good rider, and I think we appreciate each other.”

Lopez is one of six children who grew up in poverty in Veracruz, Mexico, leaving home at age 12 to live with one of his sisters. He was shining shoes and working in a car wash for $30 a week when a customer offered him a ranch job. Soon he was riding in quarter horse races at bush tracks with incredible success, including all 13 races over a single weekend.

    In 2006, Lopez relocated to South Florida to further his dream of becoming a jockey, working on a ranch in West Palm Beach and riding unsanctioned quarter horse races. He began exercising at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s training facility in Palm Beach County, and launched his professional career in June 2007 at Calder Race Course.

    “Since the first time I met him, I just thought there was something special in him. He just had those hungry eyes,” Moran said. “He was like a little boy standing there. Bill White introduced me to him. He was the leading trainer at the time and he loved him. He introduced us and I decided to take him the day I met him. It’s been a constant win machine from that day. He’s been like a whirlwind, and it’s not slowing down. He’s done a lot of remarkable things.”

    Lopez rode his first winner on July 13, 2007 at Calder and finished with 20 for the year. In his first full season in 2008, he won 229 races, nearly $4 million in purse earnings, a Calder meet title and the Eclipse Award as champion apprentice.

    Overall, Lopez has won 200 or more races nine times, ranked in the top 10 in North America in wins five times, including third in 2019 with a career-best 283. That year he also reached a personal high of $10.9 million in purses earned. Hewon back-to-back Championship Meet riding titles in 2010and 2011, and is one of only four jockeys (Javier Castellano, Irad Ortiz Jr., Luis Saez) to win 100 or more races at Gulfstream’s winter stand. He also won the 2019 Gulfstream Park West crown and owns 11 riding championships in New Jersey, eight of them at Monmouth Park where he spends the summer and early fall. 

    Three times in his career, Lopez has won seven races on a single card. He did it twice in 2014 at Monmouth and again on March 21, 2020 at Gulfstream, each time sharing the track record. Lopez earned his 2,000th career win on Dec. 4, 2016 at Gulfstream.

    Overall, Lopez has won 89 career graded stakes, eight of them Gr. 1s, including his first with South Florida-based Itsmyluckyday in the 2014 Woodward as well as the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint aboard Roy H. Last winter, he piloted Swiss Skydiver to victory in the Gr. II Gulfstream Park Oaks; Swiss Skydiver would go on to beat males in the Preakness Stakes and be named champion 3-year-old filly.

 Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed:

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $500,000 for today’s program. The multi-race wager went unsolved Thursday for the sixth day since a March 27 mandatory payout. Tickets with all six winners were each worth $4,574. There will also be a carryover of $2,695 in the $1 Super Hi-5 for today’s opener.




Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Both have won 88 races . . .
    OLDSMAR - Antonio Gallardo won four races today, moving into a tie with Samy Camacho atop the Tampa Bay Downs jockey standings with 88 victories apiece.

    Gallardo is gunning for his sixth Oldsmar riding crown, which would move him into a tie with Daniel Centeno and Mike Manganello for most ever at the track. Camacho seeks to repeat his 2018-2019 title.

    Gallardo won the second race on Dohko, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Maria Stables and trained by Jose L. Sanchez. Gallardo added the third on Quiet No More, a 7-year-old mare owned by Carrol Stubbs and trained by Cody Axmaker.

    In the seventh race on the turf, Gallardo and 5-year-old Florida-bred mare Proper Manners were elevated from second to first when Silver Tunes, the first horse across the wire, was disqualified for coming in and hampering Proper Manners’s rally in deep stretch, causing Gallardo to angle to an outside path. Proper Manners is owned by Six SandBaggers Stables and trained by Baltazar Galvan.

    Gallardo rode Hide the Demon to the 5-year-old’s first triumph in more than a year in the eighth race to wrap up his four-bagger, giving him seven winners over the last two racing days. Hide the Demon is owned by Mellon Patch, Inc., and trained by Michael Campbell.

    Hector Diaz Jr., rode three winners. He captured the fourth race aboard Highrhythmdixie, a 4-year-old filly owned by Hugo Bracho and Antonio Francesco and trained by Antonio Machado. Diaz garnered the fifth race on the turf on Girl Dad, a 3-year-old gelding owned by RAP Racing Stable, West Point Thoroughbreds and Danned Racing and trained by George Weaver.

    In the ninth and final race on the turf, Diaz piloted 3-year-old filly Nancy Work to a come-from-behind maiden victory for owner Wayne Spalding and trainer Kathleen O’Connell.

    Kentucky Derby Day tickets are going fast. Tickets are selling briskly for the Saturday, May 1 card, which will be highlighted by the simulcast of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance at Tampa Bay Downs that day will be limited, so anyone wishing to attend must purchase tickets in advance, either online or at the Customer Service window on the first floor of the Grandstand.

    Advance wagering on the Kentucky Derby will be available Friday, April 30 for those unable to secure a ticket for May 1. The April 30 Churchill Downs card includes the running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

    A front-row box seat for six people in the Grandstand is $350, with other boxes available for $250. General admission tickets are $10 each, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. The gates will open at 10 a.m. and there will be a noon post time for the Tampa Bay Downs program, which is expected to consist of 12 races.

    Kentucky Derby Picnic Area tables have sold out. Individual Picnic Area tickets, which are $10, are still available. All online purchases include a service fee.

    Mint juleps will be sold in official Kentucky Derby souvenir glasses. For details, visit www.tampabaydowns.com on the Internet or call (813) 855-4401.

AROUND THE OVAL - Saturday is Oldsmar Cup Day, as Tampa Bay Downs celebrates the mutually beneficial relationship between Tampa Bay Downs and the city. Oldsmar residents will be admitted free of charge with proof of residency.

    The Oldsmar Cup is the eighth race, an open $16,000 claiming contest on the turf for horses 4-years-old-and-upward. Ten horses are entered in the mile-and-a-sixteenth race.




.
Sunday, April 4, 2021
20-year-old rode 503 in Panama . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH -  A rising star in Panama, jockey Jose Morelos rode his first U. S. winner today at Gulfstream Park. 

    The 20-year-old jockey, who had ridden 503 winners in Panama after launching his career at the age of 16, guided Wild Cat West ($12.40) to victory in Race 5, a mile maiden race for $12,500 claimers.

    “I’m very grateful to the trainer for giving me the opportunity,” Morelos said through an interpreter. “I’m looking forward to a lot of better things to come in the future.”


    Morelos saved ground aboard the Luis Ramirez trainee while rating behind a contested pace into the homestretch turn. Wildcat Cat West, who lacked room entering the stretch, was taken four wide for the stretch drive, and the son of Mineshaft kicked in through the stretch to graduate by a neck
.

    Morelos’ victory came on his 10th mount since his U.S. debut April 1. Jay Rushing is his agent.

CHANTAL RETURNS


    Chantal Sutherland reacquainted herself with the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle after riding Mona Stella to a comfortable victory in theRace 6 feature, a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance on turf for 3-year-old Florida-bred fillies. Sutherland connected for her first victory on her fifth mount since relocating to Gulfstream for the Spring/Summer Meet.

    “I’ve gotten a lot of positive energy from people and I’m grateful to the people who are supporting me,” said Sutherland, who rode at Gulfstream in 2006 before going onto achieve considerable success in Southern California. “There’s no more beautiful place to ride than here.”

    Mona Stella ($6.60) is owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Andie Biancone and trainer Patrick Biancone.


    Sutherland , who saved ground aboard Mona Stella while racing directly behind pacesetter Big Band Luzzian into the stretch, eased the daughter of Will Take Charge off the rail for the stretch drive. Mona Stella, who had graduated in her second career start on Sept. 29 before going to the sidelines to have a chip removed, kicked in through the stretch to score by 2 ¾ lengths.

    “I think this is a nice filly,” Sutherland said. “She only won a maiden race [before Sunday] but this was really impressive.”

    Sutherland has won 1,084 races, including multiple Gr. 1 victories aboard Game On Dude in 2001.

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $500,000 for Thursday’s program.
Sunday, April 4, 2021
7th victory for son of Into Mischief . . .

    Cash Is King LLC and LC Racing LLC’s Mischevious Alex rated just off the early pace in Aqueduct’s $300,000, Gr. I Carter Handicap yesterday, moved on the outside to reach the leaders turning for home, took over a furlong out and drew away to win by 5 1/2 lengths in hand. 

    It’s the fourth graded stakes score for the 4-year-old colt by Into Mischief, consigned by Eisaman Equine to the 2019 OBS April Sale where he went through the ring after an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat. Trained by Saffie A. Joseph Jr., he’s now 7-1-1 in 12 starts and has earned $614,730. 

    Terry Hutto’s American Bound got the 2-year-old racing season off and running in her debut at Keeneland on Friday with a 1 1/2-length wire-to-wire victory in a $60,000 maiden special weight test. Trained by Joe Sharp, the 2-year-old daughter of American Freedom earned $36,000 for the effort. Consigned by Sharon Biamonte, Agent, to the 2020 OBS Winter Mixed Sale, she'a already proved to be a bargain, purchased by Hutto for $15,000.

Friday, April 2, 2021
He's been the voice of Tampa for 37 years. . .

    OLDSMAR - For the past 37 years, announcer Richard Grunder’s enthusiasm for horse racing has left an enduring impact on countless visitors to Tampa Bay Downs.

    “There is no one on the planet who is more passionate about horse racing. Period,” said Pete Aiello, the announcer for Gulfstream Park. “Nobody eats, sleeps and breathes horse racing more than he does.”

    Jockey Scott Stevens, the recipient of the 2019 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award and Grunder’s long-time friend, suggests fans listen to Grunder with their eyes closed to better appreciate his descriptive style of race-calling.

    “It’s like he is painting a picture. He’ll tell you a horse is 3 lengths behind and full of run, or a horse is boxed in with nowhere to go,” Stevens said from his home in Phoenix. “You can visualize how the race is setting up just listening to his call, and I think that is what makes a great announcer. And he brings a lot of excitement to every race, whether it’s a cheap claiming race or a graded stakes
.”

    Sadly, for two generations of Oldsmar oval fans and simulcast bettors who have grown accustomed to Grunder’s trademark stretch call “. … in the clear and strictly the one to catch,” the 68-year-old Dodge City, Kan., product is hanging up his binoculars after the May 2 card at Tampa Bay Downs.

    Citing health concerns, Grunder has chosen to retire from announcing after a lifetime spent in the sport. He is believed to have called in the vicinity of 37,000 races at Tampa Bay Downs and is currently the longest-tenured announcer at any racetrack in the country.

    “My goal a few years back was to try to go until I was 70, but I’ve got a medical situation I need to stay on top of and some related stress issues that led me to realize it’s time,” Grunder said. “I was in the hospital a few weeks ago on a Wednesday and barely got out in time to call the first race, and I don’t get up those stairs to the press box as fast as I used to.

    “I am going to miss the camaraderie and the people, especially the three stewards who work next door to my booth. It’s been a great environment to work in. But I have no regrets at all. My father (the late Dean Grunder, a railroad worker and owner-trainer in Nebraska and New Mexico) told me once I would be a really rich man if I was able to go to a job I liked every day.

    “By that account, I’m a millionaire many times over.”

    Grunder will remain active in the sport, working as a jockey’s agent at Canterbury Park in Minnesota this spring and summer for Alonso Quinonez and Israel Hernandez. He plans to travel extensively with his wife of 48 years, Diana, visit other racetracks and spend more time with son Chad and his wife Erica, who live in El Dorado, Kan.

    “I love to fish, and we’re 100 miles from Lake Okeechobee. I’ve never been a bass fisherman, but that’s something I plan to get into,” Grunder said. “And I’m looking forward to returning to Oaklawn Park. I haven’t been there since I worked rubbing horses for (trainer) Red Payne in 1974.”

    Grunder has contacted his close friends, Tampa Bay Downs trainers Bernell Rhone and David Van Winkle, about returning to a favorite summer haunt in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada, where they rent a cabin without electricity, fish for walleye and escape from civilization. Their trip last year was cancelled because of COVID-19.

    “We try not to talk horses, but once in a while it comes back to that,” Rhone said. “We’ll rib each other, but we’ve got each other’s back. I’ve been at Richard and Diana’s house for Thanksgiving, and they’ve come over to eat with my family. I know if I ever need help, he’ll be there for me, just like I will be for him.”

    Grunder’s departure will leave a void that will be difficult to fill. He has documented most of the major moments in the history of the track, which had a reputation as a sleepy backwater until current owner Stella F. Thayer gained control at the start of the 1986-1987 meeting and instituted a series of gradual, fan-friendly changes, starting with the introduction of Sunday racing that season and hitting a high note with the debut of the acclaimed turf course on May 2, 1998.

    “Tampa Bay Downs has been incredibly fortunate that Richard has spent most of his career with us – an amazing 37 years,” Thayer said. “His voice and his style embody his enthusiasm and love for Thoroughbred racing.

    “We will never forget his contributions. Fortunately, his voice will live on through his calls of Tampa’s signature races. We are grateful for his many wonderful years at Tampa Bay Downs and wish him the best.”

    The thrilling 2007 edition of the Tampa Bay Derby, in which Street Sense and Calvin Borel edged Any Given Saturday and John Velazquez by a nose, stands foremost among Grunder’s Oldsmar memories. “When they hit the wire together, I said ‘Too close to call, it might have been Street Sense.’ Then I said to myself, ‘Whoa,’ because it was like this,” he recalled, holding his thumb and forefinger an inch apart. “Fortunately, I got it right.”

    Other unforgettable races included the dramatic come-from-behind victory by the Woody Stephens-trained Cefis in the 1988 Tampa Bay Derby and Tepin’s victory in the 2016 Hillsborough Stakes, in which she gobbled up an 18-length deficit on the backstretch to defeat pace-setter Isabella Sings in the Grade II turf event.

    “Tepin was so far back, I was worried for a moment she might have broken down,” Grunder said. “(Julien) Leparoux rode her with so much confidence. At the quarter pole she still looked hopelessly beaten, and she came on so fast he turned down his stick before they hit the wire. She was a special, special horse.”

    Grunder lived to help fans enjoy the sport as much as he does. He was the emcee for the track’s “Morning Glory Club,” which invited race-goers to enjoy coffee and donuts on winter Saturday mornings and listen to Grunder interview jockeys, trainers and track officials. His guests over the years included Carl Nafzger, Ken McPeek, Kent Desormeaux, Jacinto Vasquez, Edgar Prado, Ramon Dominguez and Michael Trombetta, as well as handicappers and authors Steve Crist and Bernie Dickman.

    Preaching the gospel of racing came naturally to Grunder, who got his first job at a racetrack 60 years ago at the now-defunct La Mesa Park in Raton, N.M., as a photo-finish runner – the guy who would post the developed photographs of a tight finish under glass for spectators to observe.

    “People would be shouting ‘Here comes photo boy,’ and I felt like I was King Tut. I got paid $3 a day, and sometimes people would ask what they did with the old photos after the next race. I said ‘They like to file them, but they’re for sale for 50 cents,’ and that became one of my side gigs,” he said, laughing.

    More valuable, though, was the chance to hang around racing officials and the track announcer, absorbing their insights into all the behind-the-scenes workings at a racetrack. “I’d go home at night and run around our living room re-creating races out of the monthly chart books. I couldn’t get enough,” he said.

    From his first announcing job in 1973 at age 20 at recently-shuttered Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to the present, Grunder has worked at numerous racetracks (see timeline below story). He is quick to credit Diana for her patience and understanding in enabling him to pursue his dream.

    “She is the trooper of all troopers. I was rubbing horses at Oaklawn Park when we got married, and we had a two-day honeymoon in Denver before I went to West Virginia to work at Waterford Park (now Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort) while she worked at a soda fountain back home in Dodge City.

    “We did a lot of moving in those days. We figured it out and one time we lived in six different apartments in 12 months,” he said.


    His years as a jockeys’ agent helped him develop a keen appreciation for the skills and courage of the athletes on horseback. “I’ve gotten aggravated with them just like everybody does,” Grunder said. “But they are unbelievable athletes who have to prove it every day. Football and basketball players sign multi-million dollar contracts, but when it comes to getting paid, jockeys are only as good as what they did last week.”

    Stevens, who is recuperating from injuries suffered on Feb. 24 in an accident at Turf Paradise, says jockeys appreciate the depth of knowledge Grunder brings to his calls. “He knows every part of that backside, from the racing office to the trainers to the exercise riders. That kind of understanding is a big thing to bringing new fans in,” Stevens said.

    The stories of Grunder’s generosity are many. In 2010 at Canterbury, he organized fund-raising efforts to assist Stevens and two other jockeys injured in a multi-horse spill. On New Year’s Eve in 2005, he turned the microphone over for one race to an aspiring young announcer whose previous experience consisted of calling races on the Arizona county fair circuit.

    “I think about him giving me that shot all the time,” said Aiello. “You make so many connections in this business, but only time will tell how many people Richard has touched over the course of his career.”

    Grunder’s voice became so recognizable that when Sega Corporation was looking for someone to perform voiceovers for its Derby Owners Club horse racing simulation arcade game in 2010, it hired him to travel to Tokyo for a week to assist in the production.

    “It was a lot of fun and an amazing experience. After a couple of days, I thought to myself ‘I’m not in Kansas anymore,’ ” he said. “They needed me to voice about 150 phrases, and they must have had me do ‘And they’re off’ about 35 or 40 times.

    “A few years later, I was driving to Canterbury after Tampa’s season had ended, and I saw a bunch of people playing the game at a truck stop in Des Moines. I told a woman sitting there, ‘Hey, that’s me. I’m the announcer.’ She looked at me like I was from outer space and said ‘Get out of here. I’m playing this game.’ ”

    Moving forward, the good news for Grunder is that racing always needs new fans looking in from the outside. It is a major adjustment, but one he is confident he can handle with the cherished support of his family, racetrack friends and the thousands of fans who have welcomed him into their homes.

    “He has been such a good ambassador for racing, promoting Tampa Bay Downs and encouraging people to come to the races. Now he wants to slow down and spend more time with his family,” Rhone said.

    “I think he will be a little bit lost next year, but he’ll be fine because he is so upbeat and great with people. Richard can talk to older folks, little kids and people who know nothing about racing, and find something in common.”

    Regardless of where his path is next directed, Richard Grunder – his voice, his kindness, his encyclopedic knowledge of horse racing – will be remembered for a long time.



RICHARD GRUNDER’S JOBS IN HORSE RACING THROUGH THE YEARS

Aug. 4, 1973—Called his first race at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

1974—Racing office, backup race-caller, Waterford Park, W.V.

1974—Announcer, Marquis Downs and Regina Exhibition Park (Sept.-Oct.)

1974-77—Placing judge, backup race-caller, Delta Downs, La.

1975—Announcer, Assiniboia Downs, Winnipeg, Manitoba

1976—79—Announcer, Marquis Downs and Regina Exhibition Park (May-Oct.)

1977-84—Announcer, assistant racing secretary, Portland Meadows, Ore.

1980-82—Announcer, Assiniboia Downs (summer)

1983—Racing office, backup race-caller, Ak-Sar-Ben, Neb.

1984—Announcer, Arapahoe Park, Colo.

1984—present—Announcer, Tampa Bay Downs

1990—Announcer, Canterbury Park, Minn.

1991-92—Announcer, Ak-Sar-Ben

1993—Announcer, Prairie Meadows, Iowa

1996-97—Announcer, Ag Park, Nebraska State Fair, Atokad Park, Neb.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
The Russells bred a winner, a second and two thirds, good for $100,000 in purses . . .

    Lost in all the excitement of Florida Cup day, with all the records for victories set by jockeys, trainers and farms, was the excellent performances by runners bred by George and Karen Russell's Rustlewood Farm in Reddick.

    In race 5, the $110,000 Equistaff Sophomore Turf, Rustlewood Farm-bred Indy Lyon won by a nose and earned a check for $60,000.

    Two races later, in the $110,000 OBS Sophomore Stakes, Rustlewood Farm-bred Shoo Shine finished third at odds of 19-1 and collected $10,000. 

    In the eighth race, the $110,000 Grey Goose Turf Classic, Rustlewood Farm-bred Shamrocket finished second, earning $20,000. 

    Lovely Luvy closed out the Rustlewood success by finishing third in the $110,000 Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf, collecting another $10,000. 

    The total purse money earned by the Rustlewood-breds came to $100,000. 

    




 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
$3.5 million for stakes schedule . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The Spring/Summer Meet at Gulfstream will kick off Thursday with an eight-race program. First-race post  is set for 1 p.m. during the meet that will run through Sept. 30. The stakes schedule will be worth $3.5 million with $500,000 in incentives offer by the Florida Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association for Florida-bred and Florida-sired horses.

    The $350,000, Gr. II Princess Rooney Invitational and the $200,000, Gr. III Smile Sprint Invitational will be contested on the July 3 Summit of Speed card, highlighting a program of 34 stakes. The seven-furlong Princess Rooney is a designated Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race with the winner earning a spot in the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Del Mar.


The tradition-rich FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series will offer $1.3 million in purses for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions. The series will kick off with the $100,000 Dr. Fager and the $100,000 Desert Vixen on July 31, followed by the $200,000 Affirmed and $200,000 Susan’s Girl on Aug. 28 and the $350,000 In Reality and $350,000 My Dear Girl on Sept. 25.

    On Thursday’s opening day program, Stonehedge Farm’s Seazan, who finished third in both the Affirmed and In Reality last year, is 8-5 in the morning line in the Race 2 feature, a $47,000 optional claiming allowance for Florida-bred 3-year-olds at a mile. The Ralph Nicks trainee, who finished off the board while trying turf for the first time last time out, was beaten by just a half length while finishing second in an open optional claiming allowance at a mile in his previous start.

   Jockey Edgard Zayas, the defending Spring/Summer Meet titlist, has seven mounts while coming off a career-best Championship Meet.

Gonzalez Gets Acquainted with Gulfstream Winner’s Circle

  Edwin Gonzalez rode three winners on Sunday’s program  while preparing to ride during the Spring/Summer Meet for the first time. The Puerto Rico-born jockey, who had been winning at more than a 30-percent clip the past few years while dominating at Penn National, scored aboard Ian Wilkes-trained Keitany ($5.40) in Race 1 with a ground-saving journey in the 1 1/16-mile maiden claiming race on turf. He came back to score aboard Keep Quiet ($) for trainer Saffie Joseph in Race 7, a $16,000 claiming race at one mile on turf, and Race 10 aboard Phat Man ($11.20).

On Saturday, his first day of riding at Gulfstream, Gonzalez came within a half-length of winning the Sir Shackleton aboard Frosted Grace, who held on gamely to finish second behind multiple Gr. 1 winner Basin. Gonzalez rode 443 winners in Puerto Rico, and scored his 1,000th win in the U.S. on March 10 at Penn National. Agent Kevin Meyocks will book mounts for Gonzalez, who has been named on four horses Thursday.

Championship Meet Titlists Honored 

    The leading trainer, jockey and owner for the 2020-2021 Championship Meet were honored on Sunday’s closing-day program at. Todd Pletcher, who won his record 17th title with 58 wins, was honored in the winner’s circle following Race 8. Irad Ortiz, who won his third straight title with a record 140 wins, was honored following Race 9. Paradise Farms and David Staudacher, who had 13 winners, were recognized following the Race 7. 


                   





       

Monday, March 29, 2021
Betting surpasses $7.7 million . . .
    OLDSMAR - Warm, breezy weather welcomed 46 Florida-bred stakes horses, their trainers, jockeys and owners and a limited but festive crowd at Tampa Bay Downs for Florida Cup XVIII. A year after the event was cancelled due to COVID-19, racing fans received another reminder that the Florida-bred industry might have taken some hits in recent years, but is still capable of producing quality stakes runners with the heart and determination to win.

    Among the highlights were two victories by jockey Daniel Centeno, raising his Florida Cup victory total to 10, the most of any jockey; an emotional victory for partners Maria Bowersock and jockey Ronnie Allen Jr., she the trainer and he the jockey; and 2020 Triple Crown competitor Tap It to Win’s successful return to action after a nearly seven-month vacation.


    On-site fans and on-line bettors responded by sending $7,732,584 into the wagering pools, almost $700,000 above the former Florida Cup Day record set in 2009.

The Florida Cup action featured six $110,000-guaranteed stakes for registered Florida-breds.

 EQUISTAFF SOPHOMORE TURF

    Trainer Maria Bowersock rushed onto the track to embrace her 3-year-old gelding Indy Lyon after his nose victory in the 1 1/16-mile Equistaff Sophomore Turf. It was the first stakes victory of Bowersock’s career, and although she didn’t say so, vindication of sorts after deciding to run Indy Lyon only eight days after his previous start.


    Bowersock’s fiancé, 56-year-old Ronnie Allen Jr., gave the son of Congrats a near-perfect ride, slowing down the pace sufficiently to save enough to hold off runner-up Officiating by a nostril, with third-place finisher Chess’s Dream, the 3-5 favorite, another neck back. A claim of foul by Centeno, aboard Chess’s Dream, against Officiating and Edgard Zayas for alleged interference in deep stretch was disallowed by the stewards. Indy Lyon paid $27.40 to win.

    Indy Lyon was bred by Rustlewood Farm for its fourth Florida Cup victory as a breeder and is owned by Tampa resident Jerry Campbell, a long-time client of Bowersock and an enduring friend of Allen dating back to their numerous successes in Michigan years ago. Allen has won seven Florida Cup races in his career, second-most of any jockey. Indy Lyon’s time was 1:42.64. He earned $60,000 for the victory, raising his career earnings to $99,691.

OCALA BREEDERS’ SALES SOPHOMORE

    Owner-trainer Gerald Bennett and Centeno figured they had a puncher’s chance with 3-year-old gelding Foreman in the 7-furlong OBS Sophomore, especially after watching Soup and Sandwich’s gritty second-place effort in Saturday’s Gr. I Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. In his previous start on Feb. 24 at Tampa Bay Downs, Foreman had finished second to Soup and Sandwich in an allowance/optional claiming race, beaten 2 ¾ lengths.


    Willy Boi set the pace and appeared to have put Foreman and the rest away inside the 1/8-mile pole, but grew leg-weary late, while Foreman found another gear. He pulled away to a half-length victory, with Shoo Shine a distant third. Foreman paid $12.60 to win after completing the 7 furlongs in 1:23.38. The son of Chitu improved to 2-for-5 lifetime, with the $60,000 winner’s share boosting his bankroll to $81,745.

GREY GOOSE TURF CLASSIC

     Me and Mr. C had been training lights-out since his previous start, an allowance/optional claiming victory on the Oldsmar turf on Feb. 12. And when Centeno asked for his best in the closing stages of the 1 1/8-mile Grey Goose Turf Classic, the 4-year-old gelding responded with desire. The son of Khozan out of Abiding, by Dynaformer, bred by Stonehedge Farm South, powered his way past favored Shamrocket to post a half-length victory in 1:48.55. Over the Channel finished third.


    Me and Mr. C, who had finished first in his two previous starts at Tampa this season (he was disqualified from the victory on Jan. 16), improved to 5-for-17 while earning $70,000 for the victory (the additional $10,000 for being Florida Sire Stakes-eligible through the FTBOA). He paid $6.60 to win. Me and Mr. C collected $70,000 for the victory as a Florida Sire Stakes-eligible runner to raise his career earnings to $198,490.

 NYRABETS SPRINT

     Tap It to Win danced on some huge stages as a 3-year-old last year, finishing fifth in the Belmont Stakes, second in the Gr. I H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga and third in the Gr. II Pat Day Mile Stakes at Churchill Downs. So, although he had not raced since early September, bettors knocked him down to 9-10 in the 6-horse NYRABETS Sprint.

    The 4-year-old ridgling justified their faith, moving smoothly and powerfully though an opening inside leader R Mercedes Boy and drawing away to a 4 ¼-length victory under Antonio Gallardo. R Mercedes Boy held on for second, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Hauntedbythemusic. Tap It to Win is a home-bred racing for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation and trained by Mark Casse. His time for the 6 furlongs was 1:09.43, just .56 seconds off It’s Me Mom’s stakes and track record.

    “He was coming off a very good 3-year-old year, but you keep your fingers crossed he’ll come back to that same form,” said Casse’s assistant, Jimmy Miranda. “That’s what happened. He was very good in the receiving barn and is just a real pro.” Tap It to Win, by Tapit out of Onepointhreekarats, by Medaglia d’Oro, improved to 4-for-10. The winner’s share of $60,000 boosted his career earnings to $333,672.

    Live Oak has nine Florida Cup victories as a breeder and eight as an owner, tied with Glen Hill Farm for first in both categories (Glen Hill stayed abreast by winning the subsequent Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf with Summering).

PLEASANT ACRES STALLIONS DISTAFF TURF

     Just when it looked as if Summering would roll to an authoritative victory in the 1 1/16-mile Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf, 44-1 shot Classy Woman, the pace-setter, dug in along the rail and battled her rival tooth-and-nail to the finish. Summering and jockey Jesus Castanon recorded a head victory, but not before Classy Woman and Jose Ferrer had long-shot players screaming like kids on a roller coaster.

    The victory for the 5-year-old Summering was her fourth in 11 starts and the ninth Florida Cup triumph for her trainer, Tom Proctor, the most of any conditioner. Breeder-owner Glen Hill Farm stayed tied with Live Oak Stud/Live Oak Plantation as the leading Florida Cup breeders and owners with nine and eight, respectively, in the two categories. Summering’s time was 1:41.50.
Summering is a daughter of War Front, but not FSS-eligible, she earned $60,000, raising her career earnings to $193,731.

STONEHEDGE FARM SOUTH SOPHOMORE FILLIES


    Bradenton resident Rich Averill’s fourth Florida Cup victory, like the previous three, came with a horse he owns in partnership. The masonry contractor enjoys spreading the joy of racing among friends, and he and ATM Racing’s Anthony Mattera have much to like in their unbeaten 3-year-old filly R Adios Jersey.

    The daughter of Adios Charlie-Marion Theatre, by Montbrook, who is trained by Georgina Baxter, turned in a near-flawless performance under jockey Paco Lopez to win the Sophomore Fillies by 2 ¼ lengths from Psychic Ability. Ray Arewethereyet, by First Dude, rallied for third in the 11-horse field. R Adios Jersey’s time for the 7 furlongs was 1:23.35, .60 seconds off My Sunshine Gal’s stakes record set in 2011. Bred by Ocala Stud and Mike O’Farrell, R Adios Jersey is 4-for-4 sprinting.

    R Adios Jersey paid $5.40 as the wagering favorite. It was her first stakes and her first race beyond 6 furlongs. The full $70,000 winner’s share increased her bankroll to $137,000. “Georgina told me this filly was ready and to do what I wanted out of the gate,” said Lopez, who allowed her to set quick fractions of :22.27 seconds for the first quarter-mile and :45.29 for the half. “It was a little fast, but she was comfortable so I let her go.”

AROUND THE OVAL - The track’s annual “Live It Up Challenge” handicapping contest concluded with Phil Lam emerging victorious and Doug Hargus finishing second. Lam tied Edwin Synowiecki for most winners with 24.
Sunday, March 28, 2021
Six-time riding champ has won eight Florida Cup races . . .
    OLDSMAR - Six-time Tampa Bay Downs jockey champion Daniel Centeno, who leads all riders with eight career Florida Cup stakes victories, is scheduled to compete in all six stakes races in today’s 18th event for registered Florida-breds.

    Each Florida Cup race carries a purse of $110,000-guaranteed. The 12-race card begins at noon.

    The Florida Cup slate kicks off with the fifth race, the Equistaff Sophomore Turf for 3-year-olds at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass. Next up is the seventh race, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore for 3-year-olds going 7 furlongs on the main dirt track.


    The eighth race is the Grey Goose Turf Classic, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the grass. Next up is the ninth, the NYRABETS Sprint for horses 4-and-up racing 6 furlongs on the dirt.

    The Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf is the 10th race, for fillies and mares 3-and-up racing a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass. The 11th race is the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies, for 3-year-old lasses traveling 7 furlongs on the dirt.

    Centeno’s Florida Cup victory haul places him two ahead of Ronnie Allen Jr. and Elvis Trujillo. Allen is named on three Florida Cup entrants, while Trujillo is now a trainer in Maryland. Tied with five Florida Cup victories apiece are Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, Eddie Castro and Antonio Gallardo, who is named to ride in four stakes.

    Tom Proctor is the all-time leader among trainers with eight Florida Cup victories. Proctor’s lone entry is the 5-year-old mare Summering in the Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf. Next with six victories apiece are Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott and Eddie Plesa Jr., with Mott represented by two Florida Cup horses.

    Another Hall of Fame trainer, Mark Casse (who won the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 6 with Helium), has won five Florida Cup races. He has two Florida Cup entries, both in the NYRABETS Sprint. Lynne Scace has also trained five Florida Cup winners.

    Students of Florida racing won’t be surprised to learn Glen Hill Farm and Live Oak Stud are tied among breeders with eight Florida Cup victories apiece. Glen Hill is the Ocala showpiece founded by the late Leonard Lavin, while Charlotte Weber owns and operates Live Oak Stud. Live Oak has three horses entered as a breeder, while Glen Hill has one.

    Tied for third among breeders, with three victories apiece, are Haras Santa Maria de Araras; Jacks or Better Farm; Rustlewood Farm; and Vegso Racing Stable. The late Arthur Appleton bred two Florida Cup winners in his own name, with another bred under his Bridlewood Farm banner.

   Glen Hill Farm and Live Oak Plantation also share the lead among owners with seven victories. Their Florida Cup entrants are all home-breds, giving Live Oak three chances to break the owners tie and Glen Hill one shot.

    Peter Vegso, probably better-known as the publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul, has four Florida Cup victories as an owner and three as a breeder under his Vegso Racing Stable banner. Next among owners with three apiece are Haras Santa Maria de Araras; Jacks or Better Farm; and Rich Averill, who has won three Florida Cup races under his Averill Racing banner in different partnerships.

AROUND THE OVAL - Kitten’s Spa won the fourth and final leg of the males division of the Tampa Turf Test Saturday, powering to a length-and-a-half victory from Jegos Fire in course-record time of 2:15.67 for the 1 3/8-mile distance. Antonio Gallardo rode the 5-year-old gelding, a son of Kitten’s Joy, for owner-trainer Jose Lozano Sanchez.

    The 6-year-old mare Antalya, who won the females division of the Tampa Turf Test, also bettered the previous course mark set last year by Fast Fire, rallying late under Isaac Castillo to defeat Bloody Mary Mornin by a length-and-a-half. Antalya’s time was 2:15.81. She is owned by Thundering Hooves Racing and trained by Anthony Granitz.

    The track’s leading trainer and leading jockey, Gerald Bennett and Samy Camacho, teamed for two victories. They won the second race with Probably Grace, a 4-year-old filly owned by Bennett’s Winning Stables, and added the ninth with Malio’s, a 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by J.P.G. 2, LLC. Malio’s was claimed from the race for $5,000 by owner-trainer Alison Escobar.

    Centeno also rode two winners. He captured the seventh race, the Lambholm South Race of the Week, on 4-year-old colt Jeopardy James for owner Lael Stables and trainer Arnaud Delacour. Centeno added the 10th and final race on the turf aboard Optimistic Valor, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Wayne Spalding and trained by Tim Glyshaw.
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Three-time Eclipse Award winner gets his first Florida Derby . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH -  Irad Ortiz Jr. set the single-season Championship Meet win record in style today at Gulfstream Park, guiding St. Elias Stable’s home-bred Known Agenda to a 2 ¾-length victory in the $750,000, Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa.

    It was the first time the 28-year-old Ortiz has won Gulfstream’s signature race and his 138th victory during the country’s premier winter stand, surpassing Luis Saez’s mark of 137 set in 2017-18. Ortiz approached the record in 2018-19, but finished with 135.

    “It means a lot," Ortiz said. "We work so hard. I feels so good to get the feedback from the owners and the trainers. They support me. I say thanks to all of them. When I say all of them, I mean all of them – from the claiming races to the stakes races. We have a lot of respect for Luis. It wasn’t easy. He wins a lot of races here, too. We are so happy.”

    Ortiz also led with 115 wins in 2019-20, and is now only the fourth jockey in history to win at least three consecutive Gulfstream riding titles, joining Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who won five straight from 2011-12 to 2015-16, Jorge Chavez (1999-2001) and Jeffrey Fell (1977-79).

    Before his Florida Derby score, Ortiz tied the wins record aboard Joseph Imbesi’s Sweet Bye and Bye in the $100,000 Sand Springs. He now has 14 stakes wins at the meet, including Gr. 1 triumphs in the Florida Derby and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, the latter with Colonel Liam. Both Known Agenda and Colonel Liam are trained by Todd Pletcher.

    The three-time defending Eclipse Award winner, Ortiz has posted 43 multi-win days at Gulfstream this winter, including a six-win effort Feb. 6 that fell just one short of the track’s single-day record shared by Saez, Tyler Gaffalione and Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey.

    Represented by agent Jay Rushing, Ortiz has also registered five five-win days, seven four-win days and nine three-win days during the Championship Meet.

 

            
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Todd Pletcher's record 6th Florida Derby victory . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - St. Elias Stable’s Known Agenda received a perfect trip under Irad Ortiz Jr. to win the $750,000, Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby, providing the defending three-time Eclipse Award-winning rider with his record-breaking 138th victory of the 2020-2021 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park.

    Known Agenda ($12.80) also provided trainer Todd Pletcher with his record sixth success in the Florida Derby while also earning a stall in the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby.

    “It has so many great meanings but for me what is so special about this is to win it for St. Elias with a horse that they bred,” Pletcher said. “I know how much that means to them, that makes it a little more extra special for us.

    The 70th running of the Florida Derby headlined a 14-race program featuring 10 stakes, six graded. The tradition-rich 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds, which has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown races, offered 170 qualifying points for the May 1 Kentucky Derby  on a 100-40-20-10 basis.

    Courtlandt Farms’ Greatest Honour, the 4-5 favorite who had won the Jan. 30 Gr. III Holy Bull and Feb. 27 Gr. II Fountain of Youth , finished third.

    Known Agenda, who had captured a 1 1/8-mile optional claiming allowance by 11 lengths on Feb. 26, settled in fifth while saving ground as Nova Rags set the pace, pressed by Soup and Sandwich, around the first turn and along the backstretch, producing fractions of :23.43 and :47.73 seconds for the first half mile. Nova Rags and Soup and Sandwich continued to lead the 11-horse field into the turn, where Ortiz found room to slip Known Agenda off the rail and made a three-wide move around Nova Rags and Soup and Sandwich. The son of Curlin kicked in powerfully through the stretch to score by 2 ¾ lengths.

    “I was really pleased with the progress he was making up the backside because one of the things we were a little bit worried about was if he got stuck inside, he didn’t seem to handle that in the Remsen very well. A lot of horses are more confident when they’re outside in the clear,” Pletcher said. “When he was making progress up the backside and picking off horses while he was inside and behind horses, I had a pretty good feeling at that point that he was running his race today and that it was a matter of – we’re going to find out how good he is.”

    Known Agenda received a ground-saving trip because Ortiz had no other viable options. “The instructions were to try and stay as close as I can without going too crazy and start working my way out and put the horse in the clear outside. I saw a couple horses outside of me and I had to take a hold to go around and I said it was too much, so I just followed the flow of the race,” said Ortiz after surpassing Luis Saez’s record of 137 set during the 2017-2018 Championship Meet. “I had to go to the rail, and it worked out great. When I took him out he started rolling.”

    Live Oak Stud's Soup and Sandwich, ridden by John Velazquez, raced greenly through the stretch but held on to finish second, three lengths ahead of Greatest Honour. Nova Rags faded to fourth. Collaborate, who stalked the early pace into the far turn, finished fifth. Bob Baffert-trained Spielberg was bumped at the start and was never a factor while finishing seventh.

     Known Agenda raced 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.45 in his third start of the year to capture his first stakes. The home-bred colt had finished fifth in the Feb. 6 Gr. III Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs before winning impressively in his Feb. 26 romp while equipped with blinkers for the first time.

    “We were looking for a couple of things in that last race. One, to see if blinkers made an improvement in his being a little more tactical and secondly, we wanted to see how he handled the Gulfstream surface. I thought we got very good answers to both of those questions,” Pletcher said. “The only thing was we were taking a fairly significant step back in class. It wasn’t an overwhelming field, but the way he did it, to win by 11 anytime in a race like that, and Irad kind of wrapped up on him the last part, I thought it was not only an impressive race but a step in the right direction. It showed us that the blinkers helped and that he handled Gulfstream.”

    Known Agenda’s Florida Derby score was not the first time the Pletcher trainee was able to defeat Greatest Honour. He beat the McGaughey trainee by a head while graduating in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race at Aqueduct Nov. 8.

    Greatest Honour, who raced inside horses along the backstretch, found running room entering the stretch but was unable to make a serious challenge while closing to third under Jose Ortiz.

    “I thought we were OK on the turn there and he just didn’t kick on the way I thought he would,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said. “I thought he ran fine. I think the winner ran a huge race.”

    McGaughey said that Greatest Honour will be pointed toward a start in the Kentucky Derby, for which he has 80 qualifying points. “As of right now, yeah. We just have to see how he is,” he said. “He belongs, as long as he’s OK.”

    Greatest Honour’s jockey was far from discouraged by his mount’s first defeat in four starts at Gulfstream. “He broke a little slow like he always does. I tried to be aggressive but I wasn’t fast enough to make it into a nice position, so I had to take him back and drop in. Actually, I had Known Agenda in front of me and I followed him the whole way,” Ortiz said. “At the three-eighths pole I kept following him. I felt like I was in contention at the quarter-pole, but the winner ran a nice race. He was the best horse today, but we’ll turn the tables on them on Derby day, that’s for sure.”

    Trainer Mark Casse said Soup and Sandwich, who earned 40 qualifying points in his stakes debut, would be pointed toward the Kentucky Derby with the hopes that the son of Tapit has earned sufficient points to get into the field. “I was very pleased, especially if he ever learns what he’s doing. [Jockey] Johnny [Velazquez] said he had to fight with him a little. He stayed on his left lead all the way down the stretch. He’s like that in the morning, too,” Casse said. “The thing that will help him is it was a little difficult to ship him down from Palm Meadows. It got him a little worked up. He’ll run a lot better out of his stall at Churchill Downs.”

    Pletcher had previously visited the Florida Derby winner’s circle with Scat Daddy (2007), Constitution (2013), Materiality (2014), Always Dreaming (2017) and Audible (2018).
Friday, March 26, 2021
3-year-old gelding has won three of his last 4 . . .
    OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs trainer Maria Bowersock tends to lean on the conservative side when it comes to entering her horses. Often that means taking a risk that a barn favorite will be claimed, but winning races is always the No. 1 objective.

    “We’re entering them where they belong and where they can win,” Bowersock said of a recent streak in which she won six races from 26 starts, with five seconds and six thirds. “We’re not running them over their heads.”

    Bowersock, who lost 5-year-old mare Suzie’ssteppinout through the claims box after a Feb. 28 victory, has climbed to sixth in the Oldsmar standings with 15 victories. Her selection as the Salt Rock Tavern Trainer of the Month was helped in no small measure by two victories by 3-year-old gelding Indy Lyon, so it seems appropriate she is throwing (some) caution to the wind by entering him in Sunday’s $110,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth Florida Cup Equistaff Sophomore Turf Stakes.

    Indy Lyon, who was bred by Rustlewood Farm and is owned by Jerry Campbell, won a starter/optional claiming race in wire-to-wire fashion last Saturday in his most recent start. Bowersock’s fiancé, Ronnie Allen Jr., will again be aboard.

    The Equistaff Sophomore Turf is one of six $110,000 stakes for registered Florida-breds on the Florida Cup Day program.

    “We switched him to the turf (in December), and it has really stepped him up,” Bowersock said of the son of Congrats, out of Cameron Crazies, by Lion Heart. “He has shown a lot of promise his last couple of races, so I think it was a good call” (to try the turf).

    Win or lose, the decision to move Indy Lyon up against stakes company is based on an old maxim: Strike while the iron is hot.

    “She gives her horses good care and runs a good stable,” said Campbell, one of Bowersock’s main clients. “We go into every race thinking we can win.”

    About 12 years ago, shortly after meeting four-time Oldsmar jockey champion Allen, Bowersock left her career as a rodeo barrel racer to train thoroughbreds (her twin sister Pamela and their mother Jeanie still compete in barrel racing; Pamela is married to world champion saddle bronc rider Sean Prater).

    Since then, Bowersock has painstakingly established herself as a consistent presence both at Tampa Bay Downs and Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Penn. She currently has 32 horses here spread among six owners.

    Bowersock and Allen live with her 16-year-old son, Gavin, who is being schooled online.


    Her top money-earner is Divine Ambition, an 11-year-old gelding she claimed for $5,000 in January of 2016 at Tampa Bay Downs. Since then, the gray Kentucky-bred has won 16 of 54 starts while earning almost $250,000 running in her name as both owner and trainer.


    “He’s a mainstay in my barn. People say, ‘Why are you still running him when he’s 11?’ Well, anyone who watched him run (March 21, when he finished a good second) can tell he loves to race. If I retire him, he’s going to go downhill. As long as he stays sound and good, he’ll keep going.”

    After being stabled last summer at Gulfstream Park, Bowersock plans to return to her Ohio roots and race this year at Thistledown outside Cleveland and Presque Isle Downs. “Gulfstream was a good learning experience, but I think our horses will fit better up north,” she said.








Friday, March 26, 2021
Guarantee is $1.3 million today . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.3 million today at Gulfstream Park. 

    The Rainbow 6 went unsolved Thursday for the 13th day since a March 6 mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $1,793 Thursday.

    A mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 is scheduled for Saturday’s Gulfstream Park program, which will include 10 stakes, headlined by the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm at Xalapa.

    Should the popular multi-race wager go unsolved through today the pool is expected to swell into the multi-millions.

    The Late Pick 5 and the Late Pick 4, both boasting all-stakes sequences, will have guaranteed pools of $750,000 Saturday. The Late Pick 5 (Races 10-14) and Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14) will both have all-stakes sequences. The Florida Derby will anchor the sequences for the Late Pick 5, Late Pick 4 and the Rainbow 6 (Races 9-14).

Irad Ortiz Jr. Wins 4, Closes in on Championship Meet Record

    Leading rider Irad Ortiz Jt. rode four winners on Thursday’s program, moving to within two victories of the Championship Meet record. Ortiz, the defending two-time Championship Meet titlist, won back-to-back aboard Ghostly Beauty ($3.60) in Race 4 and Trappezoid ($8.80) in Race 5 before scoring aboard Star Weaver ($4.40) in Race 7 and Foxxy Belle ($5.80) in Race 9.

    With three days remaining in the 2020-2021 Championship Meet, Ortiz has a total of 135, two fewer than Luis Saez’s record of 137, set in 2017-2018.

    Ortiz has seven mounts Friday and is named to ride in 13 of 14 races Saturday, when he is scheduled to ride Todd Pletcher-trained Known Agenda in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa.

    Ortiz, the defending three-time Eclipse Award winner, is also scheduled to ride in all 12 races on Sunday’s program.

Gonzalez Named on 4 Horses Saturday on 1st Day at Gulfstream

   Journeyman Edwin Gonzalez, Penn National’s leading rider the last two years while winning at over a 30 percent clip, will begin his Gulfstream residency with four mounts on Saturday’s 14-race Florida Derby Day program.

    Gonzalez has mounts in two of Saturday’s 10 stakes – Frosted Grace in the $100,000 Sir Shackleton in Race 5 and Dizzy in the $100,000 Orchid in Race 13. He is also scheduled in a pair of maiden special weight events aboard 3-year-old colt Core in Race 1 and 3-year-old filly My Desdemona in Race 7. Gonzalez is named in seven of 12 races Sunday at Gulfstream, closing day of the 2020-2021 Championship Meet.

    Gulfstream’s 105-day spring-summer meet is scheduled to open Thursday, April 1 and run through Thursday, Sept. 30.



        



       




Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Nova Rags, Soup and Sandwich Headed for Hallandale Beach . . .
    OLDSMAR - Nova Rags, who won the Pasco Stakes on Jan. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs and finished second three weeks later in the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes, and Feb. 24 Oldsmar allowance/optional claiming winner Soup and Sandwich have been entered in Saturday’s $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

    The 11-horse field is headed by Greatest Honour, who won the Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 27 at Gulfstream in his most recent start.

    The Florida Derby is the 14th race on a card that will be simulcast by Tampa Bay Downs in its entirety.

    Bill Mott, who trains Nova Rags for breeder-owner Michael Shanley, told reporters he thinks the colt deserves a c hance to prove he belongs on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve trail. Junior Alvarado is the jockey.

    “It’s a big race worth 100 points (to the winner in the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ standings),” Mott said. “If he would qualify for the Kentucky Derby, then we’d have to consider it, but this is the race that’s going to tell us what we’re going to do with him.”

    Soup and Sandwich is a Florida-bred son of Into Mischief bred by Charlotte C. Weber’s Live Oak Stud. The colt races for her Live Oak Plantation and is trained by Mark Casse, who won the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby with Helium.

    Soup and Sandwich earned his second victory in two starts in a mile-and-40-yard allowance/optional claiming race here in a time of 1:39.65. John Velazquez picks up the mount.

    Another Florida Derby entrant sporting Tampa Bay Downs form is Known Agenda, who finished fifth in the Sam F. Davis. The Todd Pletcher-trainee rebounded for an 11-length victory in a Feb. 26 allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream to earn Saturday’s opportunity.

    Pletcher has won the Florida Derby in four of the last seven years, including the 2017 running with Always Dreaming, who broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs that year en route to Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby triumphs.

    Nova Rags drew the No. 1 post position for the race, with Soup and Sandwich breaking from the No. 8 post and Greatest Honour and Jose Ortiz starting from the No. 7 position. Known Agenda and Irad Ortiz, Jr., will start from the No. 5 post.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Gulfstream program features 10 stakes . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Courtlandt Farms’ Greatest Honour will have a lot going for him in Saturday’s $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa.

    The 3-year-old son of Tapit has shown a distinct fondness for the Gulfstream Park racetrack, over which he has won all three of his races during the Championship Meet. He is trained by Shug McGaughey, a Hall of Famer who has done and won all that.

    “I’m looking forward to running him,” McGaughey said. “He’s been a pleasure all winter. He’s never missed a beat. Things have sort of been the same. We just hope it continues.”

    The 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby, which has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown events, will headline a program with 10 stakes, including the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and the $200,000 Pan American (G2) presented by Rood & Riddle. The blockbuster 14-race program will also be highlighted by a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool, which is expected to swell into the multi-millions should the popular multi-race wager go unsolved through Friday. There will also be $750,000 guaranteed pools in the Late Pick 5 and Late Pick 4.

    The Florida Derby will offer 170 qualifying points for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1) on a 100-40-20-10 basis.

    Greatest Honour, who followed up a Dec. 26 maiden score with victories in the Jan. 30 Holy Bull (G3) and the Feb. 27 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2), was installed at 6-5 in the morning line Wednesday after drawing Post No. 7 for the Florida Derby, which attracted a deep field of 11 3-year-olds. McGaughey is hoping his late-running powerhouse will follow the example of Orb, whom he saddled for late-rallying victories in the 2017 Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby.

    “They’re two different horses that have the same running style,” said McGaughey, noting Greatest Honour’s more imposing physical stature. “They may look the same, but it’s just on paper.”

    Greatest Honour, like Orb, possesses a strong late kick that has carried him to three straight victories in going-away fashion at 1 1/16-miles. After graduating by 1 ¼ lengths, the Kentucky-bred colt employed a furious stretch run to win by 5 ¾ lengths in the Holy Bull. Five lengths back in mid-stretch, Greatest Honour unleashed an eye-catching surge to catch frontrunner Drain the Clock and go on to score by 1 ½ lengths. 

    “I think he was doing – three times – what he wasn’t wanting to do – going a mile and a sixteenth over a speed-favoring track – and he was able to catch up all three times against pretty good company,” McGaughey said. “So, I am looking forward to getting him stretched out where maybe in the Florida Derby he’ll be laying like he was in the Holy Bull and not as far back as he was in the Fountain of Youth.”

    Greatest Honour was winless in three starts last year, finishing third in his first two career starts at Saratoga and Belmont, both at seven furlongs, before finishing second in a photo finish at 1 1/8 miles Nov. 8 at Aqueduct.

    “One of the things that impressed me was, with his pedigree and his make-up, he was able to make the races as early as he did, which was [September] at Saratoga,” McGaughey said. “And he was very effective in those two maiden races going seven-eighths.”

            As impressed as McGaughey may be about how much Greatest Honour has achieved thus far, he is more excited about the future. Jose Ortiz has the return mount aboard Greatest Honour.

    With Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sending Spielberg to Gulfstream, the 70th running of the Florida Derby has the potential to turn into an East-meets-West showdown.

    The son of Union Rags, who was rated second at 4-1 in the morning line after drawing Post. No. 10, is coming off a second-place finish behind Eclipse Award-winning Essential Quality in the Feb. 27 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park. In his 2021 debut, Spielberg stumbled at the start of the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita before finishing fourth behind Baffert-trained winner Medina Spirit.

    Spielberg had a productive six-race juvenile campaign, in which he finished second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and third in the American Pharoah (G1) at Santa Anita before breaking his maiden in his fourth start. He went on to win the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) two starts later.

    “He’s had a lot of races. Of all my horses, he’s had the most starts. He’s second to Concert Tour in money earned. He runs solid. He shows up,” Baffert said. “Once in a while he’ll run a flat race. He’s doing well and I think he will like the mile and an eighth. He sort of comes running, but he’s got to ship well and behave himself. And he’s got to break well. He can’t break like he did the last time.”

   Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano is scheduled to ride the Baffert trainee for the first time.

    St. Elias Stable’s Known Agenda will hold the distinction of being the only horse in the Florida Derby field to own a decision over Greatest Honour. The son of Curlin defeated Greatest Honour by a head while graduating in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight race Nov. 8 at Aqueduct.

    “He’s won at a mile and an eighth and he was able to beat Greatest Honour when he did that,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “The form from that maiden race has held up well. Overtook, who finished third that day, came back and was second in the Withers.

   Known Agenda, who drew Post No. 5 and was rated third at 5-1 in the morning line, is coming off a sharp 11-length optional claiming allowance victory Feb. 26 at Gulfstream Park at the Florida Derby distance. After getting away last and finishing fifth in the Feb. 6 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, he was equipped with blinkers for the first time for his recent romp.

   “He needed a little early focus. It definitely put his mind in the game a little bit,” Pletcher said. “He’s a horse we’ve always liked, and I think the further he gets to go, the stronger he’ll be.”

   Irad Ortiz Jr., who teamed with Known Agenda for the first time in his recent win, has the return call.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Social distancing will be in effect . . .
    BALTIMORE - 1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club announced today that Preakness 146 will run with a socially distant, limited crowd of 10,000 in attendance when it returns as the second jewel of the Triple Crown Series on Saturday, May 15 to Pimlico Race Course. The decision to include fans was made in consultation with and by approval of local and state health and governmental authorities and includes the approval for a limited number of fans for Black-Eyed Susan Day on Friday.

     A limited number of tickets will go on sale to the public on Monday, April 5. Tickets will be available for Preakness Day and Black-Eyed Susan Day at www.preakness.com, by emailing [email protected] or by calling the Preakness 146 Box Office toll-free at 1-877-206-8042, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET.

     As a result of the enhanced health protocols and required social distancing guidelines, the seating manifest has been changed to reflect altered ticket options and viewing locations. Existing ticket holders, those who opted to carry over their tickets from Preakness 145 due to COVID-19 restrictions, will have the opportunity to relocate to the nearest equivalent seating area for this year’s event beginning on March 24. 

     “We are thrilled to be able to welcome fans back to Pimlico Race Course for Preakness 146,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, 1/ST. “While fan attendance will be limited due to COVID-19 protocols, the excitement of the Preakness is not limited. The 1/ST team has worked tirelessly and in cooperation with Baltimore City and the State of Maryland to thoughtfully and safely prepare for an exciting and memorable day of world-class Thoroughbred horse racing and entertainment.”

    In full consideration for the health and safety of guests, horsemen, those on the backstretch and employees, 1/ST EXPERIENCE will deliver an entirely re-imagined entertainment and curated hospitality experience inclusive of COVID-19 protocols.  From indoor dining in the Grandstand to premium outdoor viewing from the 1/ST Turn Suites and the iconic Turfside Terrace, guests will enjoy everything the Preakness has to offer in safety. Corporate Village Suites will feature luxury open air cabanas, lounge seating and the best race day views from their new spot on the home stretch. Individual tickets range in price from $150 to $500 with pricing available on request for suites.

     "I want to thank 1/ST and The Maryland Jockey Club for working to ensure that all the proper safety and public health protocols will be in place for Preakness 146,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Having fans back at Pimlico is another sign we are on the road back to normal, and I look forward to once again presenting the Woodlawn Vase." 

     “The Preakness is a Baltimore staple and the center of American horseracing since 1870. I am excited to welcome fans back to Pimlico Race Course in Park Heights,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Sustaining the health and safety of Baltimore residents is my top priority, and I am confident the staff at 1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club will protect the health of fans by following the safety guidelines set forth by the City of Baltimore and State of Maryland.”

    Preakness weekend will open with Black-Eyed Susan Day on Friday and will once again feature the $250,000 George E. Mitchell Gr. II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. This year will mark the 97th running of this historic race. Last year, 1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club announced the renaming of this race to honor the late George E. Mitchell and his work within the Park Heights community. The 146th running of the $1 million Preakness will take place on Saturday as part of an incredible weekend featuring the finest contenders in racing who will compete for a total of $3.25 million in purses.

     NBC Sports will broadcast Preakness 146 live from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. ET on race day, with extended coverage beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

     Due to COVID-19 restrictions, InfieldFest, the beloved annual music festival tradition at the Preakness that brings together fans for legendary performances, unique hospitality and curated activations, will not proceed as usual. Instead, 1/ST EXPERIENCE will introduce a new, socially distant live component, Preakness LIVE, that will run concurrently with the NBC broadcast and will be live-streamed, featuring musical entertainment that will celebrate Baltimore’s richness and diversity. Tickets for Preakness LIVE will be announced in the coming weeks.  

    Since the outset of the pandemic, 1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club have implemented stringent COVID-19 health and safety protocols to protect the community, riders, horsemen, those who work on the backstretch and 1/ST employees. COVID-19 protocols for Preakness 146 will include non-invasive thermal temperature scans on guest arrival, expedited entry for fully vaccinated guests, enforced physical distancing and queue line markers, increased sanitation throughout the facility, accessible hand sanitization stations and a mandatory masking policy. Preakness 146 health and safety protocols can be found at www.preakness.com/health-safety.



 


Monday, March 22, 2021
Win stakes at Fair Grounds, Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park and Oaklawn . . .
    OBS April graduates enjoyed a big day on Saturday, scoring in two stakes at Fair Grounds and one each at Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Oaklawn. 

    Robert E. and Lawana L. Low’s Colonel Liam rated off the pace early in the $300,000, Gr. II Muniz Memorial Classic Stakes at Fair Grounds, came around horses to reach contention turning for home, wore down the leader to take charge a sixteenth from home and was best by a length and a half. It’s the second straight graded stakes win for the 4-year-old colt by Liam’s Map, who turned in an Under Tack quarter in :20 4/5 before he was purchased for $1,200,000 out of the Wavertree Stables consignment at the 2019 April Sale. Now 7-5-0-1 for trainer Todd Pletcher, he has earned $870,965.

    Magnifico LLC and Hubert Guy’s unbeaten Australasia scored her third stakes win in the $100,000 Crescent City Oaks, pressing the pace, taking command a quarter mile out and easing away to a 2 3/4-length victory. The 3-year-old daughter of Sky Kingdom, trained by Brad Cox, is four for four and has earned $193,200. Consigned by Woodside Ranch, Agent, to the 2020 April Sale, she was sold for $130,000 after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5.  

    Woodside Ranch was also involved with Holly Hill Stable’s Pacific Gale, who relaxed just off the lead in the early going of Gulfstream’s $100,000, Gr. III Hurricane Bertie Stakes, came out for the drive, took charge a furlong from home and drew away to win by 3 1/2 lengths. It’s the second straight graded stakes win for the 6-year-old mare by Flat Out, trained by John Kimmel, now 29-5-6-5 with earnings of $570,310. A two-time OBS graduate, she was sold by Stuart Morris, Agent, at the 2016 Selected Yearling Sale before she was resold for $72,000 by Woodside Ranch, Agent, at the 2017 April Sale after an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5. 

    Ken Russell, Brown Road Racing and Raymond Handal’s Just Read It battled fellow OBS graduate Exogen (October ’19, January ’19) down the stretch in Aqueduct’s $100,000 Cicada Stakes and was best by a head at the wire. It’s the first stakes win for the 3-year-old filly by Constitution, a two-time OBS graduate. She went through the ring at the 2020 April Sale before she was purchased for $70,000 out of the McKathan Bros. consignment at the 2020 June Sale after breezing an Under Tack quarter in :21 2/5. Now 4-2-0-0 for trainer Raymond Handal, she has earned $104,450.

    Xtreme Racing Stables LLC’s Sir Wellington came around horses to take the lead in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Gazebo Stakes, opened daylight in the stretch then held off a late charge by fellow OBS graduate Jaxon Traveler (April ’20) to score by a head. It’s the second stakes victory for the 3-year-old colt by Palace, trained by McLean Robertson, now 6-3-2-0 with earnings of $203,370. He was purchased for $35,000 out of the Stuart Morris consignment at the 2019 Selected Yearling Sale
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Colt finished second to Essential Quality in Southwest Stakes . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple Gr. 1 stakes-placed Spielberg has joined the star cast of scheduled starters for the $750,000, Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm at Xalapa on March 27 at Gulfstream Park.

    Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, the 3-year-old son of Union Rags is scheduled to clash with Holy Bull and Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth winner Greatest Honour in the 1 1/8-mile race that has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown events. “We’ll see how he stacks up,” Baffert said Friday.

    Spielberg, who is scheduled to breeze Sunday at Santa Anita before shipping to South Florida, finished second behind Eclipse Award winner Essential Quality in the Feb. 27 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park following a poor start.

    “He’s a great-feeling horse,” Baffert said. “He came out of that race in great shape.”

    In his 2021 debut, the Kentucky-bred colt stumbled at the start of the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita before finishing fourth behind Baffert-trained winner Medina Spirit.

    “He needs to get away from the gate well,” said Baffert of Spielberg’s chances of winning the Florida Derby. 

    Spielberg had a productive six-race juvenile campaign, in which he finished second in the Del Mar Futurity and third in the American Pharoah at Santa Anita before breaking is maiden in his fourth start. He went on to win the Los Alamitos Futurity two starts later.

    The colt was purchased for $1 million at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, and is owned by a partnership of SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stable LLC, Golconda Stables, Sienna Farm LLC and Robert Masterson.

    In addition to Greatest Honour and Spielberg, the Florida Derby field is likely to include Collaborate, Known Agenda, Nova Rags, Soup and Sandwich, Papetu, Quantum Leap, Jirafales and Siglioso.
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Bill Boland's daughter wins two races for first time . . .

    OLDSMAR - As she accepted congratulations from a stream of well-wishers after winning today’s sixth race on the turf with 5-year-old mare Twirling Star, trainer Sharon Boland struggled to keep her emotions under control.

    It wasn’t just winning two races on a card under her own name for the first time that caused Boland to choke up. The occasion also gave her a chance to reflect on a lifetime around racing that has provided rewards lasting far beyond the excitement of getting to the winner’s circle.

    “I was still breaking babies five or six years ago, but I was pretty much thinking about getting out of the game because it was changing so much," she said. "I had a lot of owners who said ‘You need to be back at the races. This is what you love, and this is what your passion is.’ So I came back, and it’s paying off."

    Boland, who also won the first race with the 5-year-old gelding He’s Royalty, has 12 horses in training at Tampa Bay Downs and six babies at Lambholm South, including a few she bred and “which I’m quite excited about.”

    Boland learned to gallop horses at Lambholm South when it was still the legendary Hobeau Farm of Jack Dreyfus, and later galloped for trainers Bill Badgett and the late Sally Lundy.

    Today’s victories were her first of the meeting. He’s Royalty, who broke his maiden in the 5 ½-furlong first, is owned by Bart Brookshire and was ridden by Mike Allen, while Wilmer Garcia rode Twirling Star for owners Anthony, Khaleef and Yanush Ali in the one-mile sixth. The victory was the mare’s second.

    Boland is the daughter of Racing Hall of Fame member Bill Boland, who won the 1950 Kentucky Derby aboard Middleground as a 16-year-old apprentice. A day earlier, he had won the Kentucky Oaks on Ari’s Mona. Before turning 17 that July, he earned the first of his two Belmont Stakes victories on Middleground after they had finished second in the Preakness to Hill Prince.

    Bill Boland lives in Palm Coast with his wife of 68 years, Sandy. In honor of his Kentucky Derby victory, Sharon named her property, which is in Reddick, Middleground Farm.

    “My dad taught me everything I know, mostly about integrity,” Sharon said. “Meaning you’ve got to be able to go home and sleep at night. You do the business right, work hard, hay and oats and it will pay off. You treat people fairly and be honest, and that is what I try to do.”

    Following today’s victories, Boland was just as happy for riders Allen and Garcia and her team that cares for her horses on the Tampa Bay Downs backside. “You can’t take credit for everything. It is 99 percent the horse, but it takes all of us and all the hours you put in.

    “I have a lot of people supporting me, and winning two today means the world to me.”

AROUND THE OVAL - Trainer Michael Stidham also won two races today, both on the turf. Stidham was victorious in the eighth race with Rumeli, a 3-year-old gelding bred and owned by Godolphin and ridden by Tomas Mejia. He added the 10th race with Fly Nightly, a 5-year-old gelding bred and owned by Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm and ridden by Jesus Castanon.

    Castanon also won the second race on first-time starter Danceswithbourbon, a 3-year-old filly owned by Euclid Racing and trained by Jordan Blair.


Thursday, March 18, 2021
Stronach 5 begins at $154,931 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $750,000 Friday at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved today for the seventh day since a March 6 mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $3,308. 

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $12,031 into the first race, a maiden claiming event over a mile turf course.


    Friday’s Rainbow 6 will span Races 5-10. Race 8, a wide-open claiming race at a mile, will also be included in the Stronach 5 sequence
.

    The most recent edition of the Stronach 5 went unsolved, leaving a carryover of $154,931 to be added to Friday’s pool.

    The Stronach 5 sequence will be kicked off by Race 8 at Laurel (4:30 p.m.), followed by Race 8 at Gulfstream, Race 9 at Laurel, Race 3 at Santa Anita and Race 3 at Golden Gate Fields.

WHO’S HOT: Jockey Edgard Zayas scored a consecutive triple today, winning with Uphold the Law ($7.20) in Race 6, Awsum Roar ($12.40) in Race 7, and Hercules ($8.60) in Race 8.

    Paco Lopez opened the program with back-to-back wins aboard Discreet Tune ($4.80) in Race 1 and King Cairo ($4) in Race 2.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Two-day sale nets $38 million . . .

    Hip No. 311, a daughter of Practical Joke consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, went to Hideyuki Mori for $750,000 to top the second and final session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The bay filly, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest at Friday’s Under Tack session, is out of champion Valiant Emilia (PER), by Pegasus Wind, from the family of recent Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium.

    Hip No. 547, a daughter of American Pharoah whose quarter in :20 4/5 was co-fastest at Saturday’s Under Tack session, was sold to Colombo Bloodstock Agency for $600,000. The bay filly, consigned by consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc., (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, is out of graded stakes placed stakes winner Henny Jenney, by Henny Hughes, a half sister to grade one stakes placed stakes winner Zeewat.

    Spendthrift Farm / Myracehorse.com went to $575,000 for Hip No. 357, a son of Kantharos consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent. The chestnut colt, whose quarter in :20 2/5 was Friday’s co-fastest, is a full brother to stakes winner Adventurous Lady out of Ari the Adventurer, by Pioneerof the Nile.

    Hip No. 295, a daughter of Uncle Mo consigned by Pike Racing, Agent, was sold to Live Oak Plantation for $550,000. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 on Friday, is out of Town Tour, by Speightstown, a half sister to grade one winner Moonshine Memories.

    Sean Flanagan paid $550,000 for Hip No. 504, a daughter of American Pharoah consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent. The bay filly, who breezed a quarter in :21 1/5 on Saturday, is out of Forgotten Miss, by Afleet Alex, a half sister to graded stakes winner Woodlander.

    Hip No. 507, American Passport, a son of American Pharoah who breezed an eighth on Saturday in :10 1/5, went to Hideyuki Mori for $550,000. The bay colt, consigned by Coastal Equine LLC (Jesse Hoppel), Agent, is out of French Passport, by Elusive Quality, a half sister to graded stakes winner Smooth Air.

    Hip No. 531, a son of Gormley consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, went to Breeze Easy LLC for $550,000. The bay colt, whose eighth on Saturday in :9 4/5 was the day’s co-fastest, is a half brother to stakes winner Little Kansas out of Green Eyed Cat, by Tale of the Cat.

    High Point Bloodstock paid $475,000 for Hip No. 506, a son of Quality Road consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent. The dark bay or brown colt, a half brother to stakes winner Curlin’s Fox out of graded stakes winner Foxysox (GB), by Foxhound, turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5 on Saturday.

    Hip No. 350, a son of Maclean’s Music who turned in an Under Tack quarter on Friday in :20 4/5, was sold to Lauren Carlisle, Agent for $450,000. The dark bay or brown colt is out of graded stakes winner Another Romance, by Saint Anddan.

    Hip No. 394, a daughter of Munnings consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, Agent, also brought $450,000, going to Breeze Easy LLC. The chestnut filly, who breezed an eighth on Saturday in :10 1/5, is out of Burns Turn, by Henny Hughes, a half sister to grade one stakes placed stakes winner Keeneland Kat.

    Hip No. 387, a daughter of American Pharoah who worked an eighth in :10 flat on Saturday, was sold to Kazuko Yoshida for $350,000. The bay filly, consigned by Kings Equine, Agent, is out of Brassy Lassie, by City Zip, a half sister to graded stakes winner Saham.

    For the session, 151 horses sold for a total of $19,004,500 compared with 150 grossing $14,355,000 in 2020. The average was $125,858 compared with $95,700 a year ago while the median was $70,000 compared with $50,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 18.8%; it was 37.7% a year ago.

    For the two days, 326 horses sold for $38,265,000 compared with 295 bringing $27,349,500 a year ago. The average price was $117,377 compared with $92,710 in 2020 while the median price was $62,500 compared with $50,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 16.2%; it was 38.8% in 2020.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021
All statistics soar over 2020 . . .

    Hip No. 216, a daughter of Munnings who worked an eighth on Friday in :10 flat was sold to Donato Lanni, Agent. Consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, the bay filly is a half-sister to graded stakes-winning OBS graduate Aegean out of Show Me, by Lemon Drop Kid.

    Hip No. 163, a son of Unified consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc., (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, was sold for $530,000 to Carolyn Wilson. The dark bay or brown colt, whose quarter on Thursday in :20 2/5 was the sale’s co-fastest, is out of stakes-winner Promise Me a Cat, by D’wildcat, from the family of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Tempered Halo.

    Hip No. 188, a son of Cairo Prince consigned by Harris Training Center LLC, Agent, went to Narvick International for $525,000. The dark bay or brown colt by Cairo Prince, who turned in an eighth on Thursday in a co-fastest :9 4/5, is out of stakes-placed Sadie Be Good, by Big Drama, from the family of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner It’sallinthechase.

    Hip No. 202, a son of War Front who turned in an Under Tack eighth on Friday in :10 flat, went to Ron Ellis for $525,000. The bay colt, consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, is out of stakes-winner Serene Melody, by Street Cry (IRE), a daughter of champion Serena’s Song.

    Hip No. 243, a son of Liam’s Map consigned by Pick View LLC, Agent, was sold to Narvick International for $525,000. The gray or roan colt, who breezed a quarter in :20 3/5 on Friday, is a half-brother to stakes-placed Delia O’Hara out of stakes-placed Starlet O’Hara, by Discreetly Mine.

    Hip No. 10, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to Yuji Hasegawa for $500,000. The bay filly, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest on Thursday, is out of stakes-winner Island Escape, by Petionville, and is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Tricky Escape.

    Yuji Hasegawa also went to $500,000 for Hip No. 224, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by Gene Recio, Agent. The bay filly whose eighth in :9 4/5 on Friday was the session’s co-fastest, is out of Sly Warrior, by First Samurai, a half-sister to stakes-placed Pull Dancer, dam of graded stakes-winner Good Samaritan.

    Hip No 259, a son of Candy Ride (ARG) who breezed an eighth on Friday in :10 flat, was sold to Yuji Hasegawa for $500,000. The bay colt, consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, out of stakes-winner Supreme, by Empire Maker, is a half-brother to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Silver State, winner of the recent Essex Handicap at Oaklawn.

    Mike Ryan, Agent, went to $430,000 for Hip No 83, a daughter of Curlin consigned by Pike Racing, Agent. The bay filly, who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5 on Thursday, is out of Milania, by Bernardini, a daughter of Gr. I stakes-winner Keeper Hill.

    Hip No. 110, a son of Unified who eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest on Thursday, was sold to Spendthrift Farm for $400,000. The dark bay or brown colt, consigned by Dark Star Thoroughbreds (Stori Atchison), is a half-brother to stakes-winner Malibu Saint out of stakes-winner Mykindasaint, by Saint Ballado.

    Hip No. 67, a son of Lord Nelson consigned by GOP Racing Stable Corp., Agent, was purchased by Three Amigos for $385,000. The chestnut colt, who breezed an eighth on Thursday in:10 flat, is out of stakes-placed Luna Dorada, by Seeking the Gold, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Laramie Moon (ARG).

    Hip No. 27, a son of Pioneerof the Nile consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Agent, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest on Thursday, was sold to James Divito, Agent, for $375,000. The gray or roan colt is a half-brother to graded stakes-winner Lucy N Ethel out of Kid Silver, by Silver Ghost.

    Hip No. 220, a daughter of Nyquist consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, went to Ben McElroy, Agent for KSI for $350,000. The chestnut filly, who breezed an eighth in a co-fastest :9 4/5 on Friday, is out of Silk Purse, by Elusive Quality, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner This Ones For Phil.

    For the session, 163 horses sold for $18,560,500, compared with 145 horses grossing $12,994,500 at last year’s first session. The average price was $113,868, compared with $89,617 a year ago, while the median price was $60,000, compared with $50,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 19.7%; it was 39.8% in 2020.

Violence colt, Munnings filly top March Sale’s first session

A colt by Violence and a filly by Munnings each brought $550,000 to top the first session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

  • Hip No. 48, a son of Violence consigned by Kirkwood Stables, Agent went to Spendthrift Farm LLC. The dark bay or brown colt, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest at the distance at Thursday’s Under Tack session, is out of Lemon Belle, by Lemon Drop Kid, a half sister to grade one stakes winner Unrivaled Belle.
  • Hip No. 216, a daughter of Munnings who worked an eighth on Friday in :10 flat was sold to Donato Lanni, Agent. Consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, the bay filly is a half sister to graded stakes winning OBS graduate Aegean out of Show Me, by Lemon Drop Kid.
  • Hip No. 163, a son of Unified consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc., (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, was sold for $530,000 to Carolyn Wilson. The dark bay or brown colt, whose quarter on Thursday in :20 2/5 was the sale’s co-fastest, is out of stakes winner Promise Me a Cat, by D’wildcat, from the family of graded stakes placed stakes winner Tempered Halo.
  • Hip No. 188, a son of Cairo Prince consigned by Harris Training Center LLC, Agent, went to Narvick International for $525,000. The dark bay or brown colt by Cairo Prince, who turned in an eighth on Thursday in a co-fastest :9 4/5, is out of stakes placed Sadie Be Good, by Big Drama, from the family of graded stakes placed stakes winner It’sallinthechase.
  • Hip No. 202, a son of War Front who turned in an Under Tack eighth on Friday in :10 flat, went to Ron Ellis for $525,000. The bay colt, consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, is out of stakes winner Serene Melody, by Street Cry (IRE), a daughter of champion Serena’s Song.
  • Hip No. 243, a son of Liam’s Map consigned by Pick View LLC, Agent, was sold to Narvick International for $525,000. The gray or roan colt, who breezed a quarter in:20 3/5 on Friday, is a half brother to stakes placed Delia O’Hara out of stakes placed Starlet O’Hara, by Discreetly Mine.
  • Hip No. 10, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to Yuji Hasegawa for $500,000. The bay filly, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest on Thursday, is out of stakes winner Island Escape, by Petionville, and is half sister to graded stakes winner Tricky Escape.
  • Yuji Hasegawa also went to $500,000 for Hip No. 224, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by Gene Recio, Agent. The bay filly whose eighth in :9 4/5 on Friday was the session’s co-fastest, is out of Sly Warrior, by First Samurai, a half sister to stakes placed Pull Dancer, dam of graded stakes winner Good Samaritan.
  • Hip No 259, a son of Candy Ride (ARG) who breezed an eighth on Friday in :10 flat, was sold to Yuji Hasegawa for $500,000. The bay colt, consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, out of stakes winner Supreme, by Empire Maker, is a half brother to graded stakes placed stakes winner Silver State, winner of the recent Essex Handicap at Oaklawn.
  • Mike Ryan, Agent, went to $430,000 for Hip No 83, a daughter of Curlin consigned by Pike Racing, Agent. The bay filly, who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5 on Thursday, is out of Milania, by Bernardini, a daughter of grade one stakes winner Keeper Hill.
  • Hip No. 110, a son of Unified who eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest on Thursday, was sold to Spendthrift Farm for $400,000. The dark bay or brown colt, consigned by Dark Star Thoroughbreds (Stori Atchison), is a half brother to stakes winner Malibu Saint out of stakes winner Mykindasaint, by Saint Ballado.
  • Hip No. 67, a son of Lord Nelson consigned by GOP Racing Stable Corp., Agent, was purchased by Three Amigos for $385,000. The chestnut colt, who breezed an eighth on Thursday in:10 flat, is out of stakes placed Luna Dorada, by Seeking the Gold, a daughter of graded stakes winner Laramie Moon (ARG).
  • Hip No. 27, a son of Pioneerof the Nile consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Agent, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest on Thursday, was sold to James Divito, Agent, for $375,000. The gray or roan colt is a half brother to graded stakes winner Lucy N Ethel out of Kid Silver, by Silver Ghost.
  • Hip No. 220, a daughter of Nyquist consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, went to Ben McElroy, Agent for KSI for $350,000. The chestnut filly, who breezed an eighth in a co-fastest :9 4/5 on Friday, is out of Silk Purse, by Elusive Quality, a half sister to graded stakes winner This Ones For Phil.

For the session, 163 horses sold for a total of $18,560,500 compared with 145 horses grossing $12,994,500 at last year’s first session. The average price was $113,868, compared with $89,617 a year ago, while the median price was $60,000, compared with $50,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 19.7%; it was 39.8% in 2020.

Monday, March 15, 2021
She's been working in the a. m. for Ken McPeek . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Chantal Sutherland has announced she will return to riding regularly April 1 at Gulfstream Park.

    A multiple graded stakes-winning jockey who has ridden more than 1,000 winners, Sutherland will set up business after spending the winter here galloping horses for trainer Ken McPeek. Sutherland last rode at Turfway Park on Dec. 9 after riding at Churchill Downs in November.

    Sutherland will be represented by agent John Salamone, who will also book her mounts for Florida Cup Day on March 28 at Tampa Bay Downs.

    “I felt like when I got here [this winter] it was like home,” she said. “When I got here, I loved it, and I’ve had good feedback and vibes from everyone.”

    A Sovereign Award winner in her native Canada and a Gr.1 winner with Game On Dude, Sutherland said she’s been training for her return and wants to ride as much as possible.

    “The combination of boxing, yoga, and meditation has created a great balance of grit and calm that I will leverage to win,” she said in a statement. “The choice to return has been manifesting and growing in my heart over the last year. I want to ride as much as I can before releasing the hold to a sport that is part of me. Someday I will face the expiration date that all jockeys and professional athletes must face, but not yet.”

    Sutherland rode at Gulfstream in 2005. In 2016 she returned to ride Kiss to Remember in the Added Elegance Stakes.
Monday, March 15, 2021
Sunday winners score big . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $600,000 Wednesday at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved Sunday for the fifth day since a March 6 mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $16,386.

WHO’S HOT: Tyler Gaffalione and Luis Saez each rode three winners Sunday. Gaffalione scored aboard Comp’d ($10.20) in Race 2, Kantharos Image ($21.80) in Race 5, and Pro Quality ($6) in Race 8. Saez won aboard Work Ethic ($5.80) in Race 1, Iced Latte ($7.20) in Race 6, and Exponential ($6) in Race 10.
Sunday, March 14, 2021
Highlighted by Princess Rooney, Smile and Florida Sire series . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park has announced a $3.5 million Spring/Summer stakes schedule highlighted by the $350,000, Gr. II Princess Rooney Invitational and $200,000, Gr. III Smile Sprint Invitational Saturday, July 3, and the $1.3 million FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series.

    The schedule includes 34 stakes with $500,000 in incentives for Florida-bred and Florida-sired horses’ courtesy of the FTBOA.

    The Princess Rooney, a ‘Win & In’ for Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, and Smile, which make up the Summit of Speed, were moved to September last year after being run in July since its inception 20 years ago at Calder Race Course. The Princess Rooney was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Both races will be invitationals this year for the first time.

   “This year we focused on bringing back the popular Summit of Speed on July 4th weekend,” said Mike Lakow, Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing. “The Princess Rooney fits perfectly on the national calendar within the female sprint category. We’ve increased the purse to $350,000 and have made the race an invitational along with The Smile. The Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on Sunday, July 4 completes the Independence Day weekend.”

    The Sire Stakes will begin on July 31 and culminate on Sept. 25 with the $350,000 In Reality and $350,000 My Dear Girl. Florida-bred stakes races will include the $75,000 Big Drama on May 1, $75,000 Musical Romance and $75,000 Soldier’s Dancer on May 29, the $75,000 Ginger Punch June 12, and the $75,000 Benny the Bull on August 14.    

    The stakes schedule begins on Saturday, May 1 with the $75,000 Honey Ryder for fillies at 1 1/16-miles on the turf, and the Big Drama for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.

             
Sunday, March 14, 2021
Gasparilla winner Special Princess nominated for 3 races . . .
    OLDSMAR - The Sunshine State’s rich tradition of producing, raising and racing champion thoroughbreds will be celebrated Sunday, March 28 at Tampa Bay Downs with the 18th edition of Florida Cup Day, featuring six $110,000-guaranteed stakes for registered Florida-breds.

    Originated in 2003, the Florida Cup was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its return to the Oldsmar track calendar generated 127 nominations (pending late mail), with 11 horses nominated for two races and another, this season’s Gasparilla Stakes dead-heat winner Special Princess, nominated for three races.

    Being nominated is the first step toward competing in the event, with entries to be taken on Thursday, March 25.

    Three races will be contested on the main track and three on the turf course. Florida Cup tickets are being sold on the track website, www.tampabaydowns.com, and at the Customer Service booth on the first floor of the grandstand on racing days.

    General admission tickets are $10, plus a service fee if purchased online. Picnic Area tables are also available for $50, which covers the admission cost for six fans.

    Trainer Mark Casse, who won the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby with Helium, has nominated two horses for the 6-furlong NYRABETS Sprint, both home-breds owned by Live Oak Plantation. The conditioner’s 4-year-old Tap It to Win is 2-for-3 at the distance, yet proved versatile enough to finish fifth in last year’s mile-and-an-eighth Belmont Stakes.


    He followed up that effort with a second-place finish in the Gr. I H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga and a third in the Gr. II Pat Day Mile Stakes at Churchill Downs.

    The other Live Oak Plantation/Casse nominee to the NYRABETS Sprint is 5-year-old gelding Souper Stonehenge, who finished second in last month’s Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

    Other stick-outs among the 21 NYRABETS Sprint nominees are trainer Michael Maker’s 5-year-old gelding Last Judgment, who won the Gr. III Challenger Stakes here on March 6 in his most recent start, and trainer Gerald Bennett’s 4-year-old filly The Goddess Lyssa, victorious here in the Minaret Stakes on Feb. 13.

    The other main-track Florida Cup races are the 7-furlong Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore and the 7-furlong Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies, both for 3-year-olds.

    The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore has drawn 20 nominations, with multiple stakes-winner Breeze On By, from the barn of trainer Ralph Nicks, and Willy Boi, winner of the recent Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream, among the group. Also nominated is trainer Cheryl Winebaugh’s stakes- winner Boca Boy, who finished fourth in the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes and was the pace-setter to the far turn in the Tampa Bay Derby before tiring.

    The Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies drew 25 nominations. Included are trainer Peter Walder’s Adios Trippi, who dead-heated with Special Princess in the Gasparilla; Special Princess, trained by Walter Woodard; and the improving Fan Fan,  now 2-for-3 for trainer Kathleen O’Connell.

    Tampa Bay Downs’s heralded turf course has helped to attract 61 nominations for three Florida Cup races, headed by the mile-and-a-sixteenth Equistaff Sophomore Turf with 22 3-year-olds. In addition to Boca Boy, the list includes trainer Maker’s Chess’s Dream, who won the Gr. III Kitten’s Joy Stakes in January at Gulfstream, and trainer Carlos David’s stakes- winner Hot Blooded.

    The mile-and-a-sixteenth Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-upward has attracted 21 nominations. Trainer Christophe Clement has nominated Moyglare Stud Farm’s classy 5-year-old stakes-winner Beautiful Lover, who finished second to Starship Jubilee in last year’s Gr. II Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

    Also nominated are 6-year-old Crown and Sugar, trainer Darien Rodriguez’s stable queen who won the race in 2019; Mia Martina, a hard-charging fourth in the Gr. III Florida Oaks on March 6 for trainer H. Graham Motion; and the Tom Proctor-trained, stakes-winning 5-year-old Summering.

    The Grey Goose Turf Classic brings together horses 4-years-old-and-upward to compete at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf. There are 18 nominated, including Last Judgment and Venezuelan Hug, a 4-year-old colt trained by Danny Gargan who has won three consecutive stakes, including last month’s Gr. III Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream, and 7-year-old gelding Salute the Colonel, who won three consecutive stakes in 2019 for trainer Joseph Orseno.
Friday, March 12, 2021
Sensible Jim goes for Tafel family . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger is scheduled to send out Jim Tafel LLC’s Sensible Jim for his career debut Saturday at Gulfstream Park, marking the 79-year-old Eclipse Award winner’s first starter since October 2019.

    While Nafzger is for all intents and purposes retired, he will maintain his long-time association with the late Jim Tafel and his family in Race 7, a seven-furlong maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds in which Sensible Jim will break from the No. 12 post position under Corey Lanerie.

    “We’ll see what he can do. I’m looking forward to the race, but like with all of my horses, I like to take it slow for their first race,” said Nafzger, a 2008 inductee into the National Museum Racing’s Hall of Fame.


    Nafzger trained Tafel’s homebred Street Sense for a victory in the 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1), as well as a triumph in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that clinched the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old. He also trained Banshee Breeze, the 1998 Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old filly, on a long list of stakes-winners for the Tafel-Nafzger connection.

    Nafzger has trained four generations on Sensible Jim’s maternal side, including Banshee Winds, the dam of Banshee Breeze whom Tafel purchased from Mill Ridge Farm, with whom he enjoyed a close association. Following Tafel’s passing in 2014, his wife, Ida Mae, and family sold all but one of their thoroughbreds – Makin’ Sense, a daughter of Street Sense whose third dam was Banshee Winds.

    “They disbursed everything. They asked me how much she would bring, and I said, ‘She should just keep her and breed her.’ That’s what she did. It gives her one mare,” Nafzger said. “We talk all the time. This gives her a connection to Mill Ridge Farm. She’s enjoyed it. She has only one mare. She’s not in the horse business, but it’s a connection that is still sort of alive.”

    “We think she can be a good broodmare. She’s been throwing good babies,” he added. “She kept Mrs. Tafel in the game and she’s having fun.”

    Sensible Jim, a gelded son of Hard Spun, has had a solid series of 10 workouts at Palm Meadows since December in preparation for his debut.

    Nafzger, a former rodeo bull rider who is also in the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, also won the Kentucky Derby in 1990 with Frances Genter’s Unbridled, the 1990 Florida Derby  winner who also captured the Breeders’ Cup Classic that year.

Irad Ortiz Jr. Notches 7th Straight Multi-Win Day:

    Irad Ortiz Jr. closed in on the record for most wins by a jockey during a Championship Meet while notching his seventh straight multi-win day today.

    The defending two-time Championship Meet titlist rode three winners to up his win total to 131, just six winners behind the record of 137 set by Luis Saez in 2017-2018. Ortiz scored aboard aboard Lime ($2.20) in Race 1, Malibu Max ($3.20) in Race 5 and Septemberten ($13) in Race 8. Ortiz has ridden 23 winners over the last seven programs while rapidly closing in on the record he missed equaling last season by just two winners.

Saturday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $450,000:

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $450,000 Saturday. The multi-race wager went unsolved today for the third day since Sunday’s mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with five of six winners were each worth $16,064. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover into the first race of $3,235.







Friday, March 12, 2021
Three others work in 20 3/5 . . .

    A filly by Nyquist and a colt by Kantharos sped quarters in :20 2/5 to share honors for the fastest work at the distance at the second session of the Under Tack Show for Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 March Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training.

    Hip No. 304, a bay filly by Nyquist consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc., (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, is a three-quarter sister to graded stakes-placed Conquest Babayaga out of Undercover Justice, by Lawyer Ron.

    Hip No. 357, a chestnut colt by Kantharos consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, is a full brother to stakes-winner Adventurous Lady out of Ari the Adventurer, by Pioneerof the Nile. Three horses worked the distance in :20 3/5.

    Hip No. 209, a bay colt by Khozan consigned by Silver Star, is out of Shes Got the Look, by Adios Charlie, from the family of Gr. I stakes-winner Seeking the Gold.

    Hip No. 211, consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc., (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, is a chestnut colt by Flatter out of She’s Ready Made, by More Than Ready, a full sister to graded stakes- placed stakes-winner Miss Southern Miss.

    Hip No. 249, a dark bay or brown colt by Malibu Moon consigned by Pick View LLC, Agent, is a half-brother to stakes-placed Kinenos out of Gr. I stakes-placed stakes-winner Stellaris, by Harlan’s Holiday.

   Hip No. 342, a chestnut colt by Tapiture consigned by Fast Horses, is out of Agent Romanoff, by Empire Maker, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Bridge Game.

    Hip No. 350, consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, is a dark bay or brown colt by Maclean’s Music out of graded stakes winner Another Romance, by Saint Anddan, a half sister to stakes placed Love to the Max. There were seven who worked an eighth in :9 4/5.





Thursday, March 11, 2021
Jose won Tampa Bay Derby with Helium Saturday . . .
    OLDSMAR - Jose Ferrer continued his efforts to turn back the clock at Tampa Bay Downs yesterday, riding three winners only four days after he captured the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on trainer Mark Casse’s colt Helium.

    The 56-year-old Ferrer’s victories came with three consecutive mounts. He won the fourth race on B C Beautiful, a 4-year-old filly owned by Don B. Danard and trained by Kerri Raven. After not having a mount in the fifth, Ferrer won the sixth by eight lengths on Mermaid Kisses, a 4-year-old filly owned by Ridenjac Racing, Dale Howes and Asta Fico and trained by Dennis Ward.

    Ferrer added the seventh race on the turf on Princess Nina, a 3-year-old filly owned by David Gruskos and trained by Jose H. Delgado, before settling for second in the eighth with Glory Roll.

    “Experience,” Ferrer said in explaining his recent winning ways, which have resulted in 10 winners from his last 39 mounts. “When you’ve ridden as many horses as I have (more than 30,000, with more than 4,500 winners), it comes in handy. And you have to have the horse. I’m so blessed to keep doing what I love to do. You can’t do this without loving it, and knock on wood I stay healthy.”

    Ferrer said jockeys will get into a zone when they win a big race and keep going, and acknowledged that is how he felt today. “Great things happen when you ride with confidence. You feel good about yourself, and all those positive thoughts and feelings come together and you win more races,” he said.

    His three-bagger moved Ferrer into ninth place in the Tampa Bay Downs standing with 22 victories.

    AROUND THE OVAL -  Jose Batista rode two winners, too.. He captured the first race on Li’l Meatball, an 8-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned and trained by Rohan Crichton. Li’l Meatball was claimed from the race for $5,000 by new owner-trainer Tim Padilla.


    Batista also won the eighth race aboard Nowitna River, a 6-year-old Florida-bred mare owned and trained by Anthony Granitz.


    Kerri Raven sent out her second winner in the ninth race on the turf, winning with 5-year-old Florida-bred Chess Master. Raven also owns the gelding, who was ridden by Jesus Castano
n.

   Racing continues Friday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:15 p.m. The featured seventh race is a $26,250 conditional allowance/optional claiming event for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile-and-sixteenth on the main track. At 2-1 in the morning line is 7-year-old Florida-bred gelding Bow and Arrow, who is trained by Jon Arnett and will be ridden by Antonio Gallardo.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021
EHV-1 hits stable area . . .
    LAUREL, MD – The Maryland Jockey Club has canceled Friday’s nine-race program at Laurel Park due to a number of horses entered now under quarantine after a symptomatic horse at the track tested positive for the equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1).

    Friday’s national wager - the Stronach 5, which was to feature two races from Laurel and a carryover of $154,931, has been postponed to March 19.

    The Maryland Jockey Club will look to have the remaining horses on Friday’s program fill live racing programs on Saturday and Sunday.

    Laurel will remain open for simulcasting.
Monday, March 8, 2021
Event scheduled for March 15 at Gulfstream Park . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Purina and Seminole Feed have joined Gulfstream Park and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA) as a sponsor for Canter for the Cause, a unique event that will allow equine owners and enthusiasts to walk, trot or canter their horse across legendary Gulfstream Park on Monday, March 15.

     “We are proud to support Gulfstream Park and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association with Canter for the Cause,” said Sheila Conde, South Florida Equine Specialist of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. “The programs are necessary, and the horses bring so much value to the equine industry in all disciplines. Thank you to Gulfstream Park for hosting the event. The riders and participants had a wonderful time in 2019 during the first event.”
 
    Sherri Boland, Equine Nutritional Consultant with Seminole Feed, said: “We are so proud and honored to be invited to sponsor a charity that is near and dear to our heart. Seminole feed has a long history of supporting the thoroughbred racing industry in Florida since 1934, and now throughout the country. What better way to give back to this cause than to help raise awareness to the rehoming and retraining of these magnificent athletes.”


    Canter for the Cause participants will choose from three groups (walk, trot, canter) when registering. All participants will have a chance to have their pictures taken in the winner’s circle. All riders must wear helmets, proper boots or shoes, and face coverings. All horses must have a valid and current Coggins to show at registration. Temperature checks will be taken upon entrance.

     Registration is $50. All proceeds from the event will go to Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retrain, retire, and re-home thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding.

    Participants will need to register by 10 a.m. the day of Canter for the Cause. The first group will go out at 11 a.m.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Ocala's Mark Casse gets second victory in Gr. II race . . .

    OLDSMAR - Jose Ferrer’s enthusiasm for horse racing has never wavered during a 39-year career. His love of the sport has enabled him to win more than 4,500 races, including 27 graded stakes, and be recognized as the 2018 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award winner, an honor given to a jockey whose career and personal character reflect positively on racing.

    But it’s unlikely few moments can match his victory aboard Helium yesterday in the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.

    “I’m 56, and I feel like I’m 20,” Ferrer said after the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Ironicus, out of Thundering Emilia, by Thunder Gulch, held off Hidden Stash by ¾-length in a time of 1:43.55 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth. Moonlite Strike finished third. The 8-5 favorite, Gr. III Sam F. Davis winner Candy Man Rocket, dropped back approaching the stretch, fading to 11th of 12. Helium paid $32.80.

    The 41st edition of the Tampa Bay Derby capped a record-shattering Festival Day 41 Presented by Lambholm South program. All-sources handle of $15,229,366 set an all-time record, roughly 2.5-percent above the previous mark set on Tampa Bay Derby Day in 2018.

    Other stakes winners included 4-year-old filly Micheline in the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes; 3-year-old filly Domain Expertise, who set a stakes record in the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks; 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding Last Judgment in the Gr. III, $100,000 Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes; and 3-year-old colt Winfromwithin, who set a turf course record of 1:33.72 in the 1-mile Columbia Stakes.

    The crowd let out a collective gasp when Helium, trained by Mark Casse and owned by the D. J. Stable of Leonard Green and family, moved to the lead rounding the far turn. He drew clear, but Hidden Stash and Rafael Bejarano came charging and might have grabbed a brief lead. But it didn't last.

    Helium improved to 3-for-3, his first two victories coming as a 2-year-old at Woodbine, including an Oct.  18 score in the Display Stakes in his previous start. Still, Casse knew he had many questions to answer.

    “He trained well enough that we thought he deserved a chance,” said Casse, who won the 2012 Tampa Bay Derby with Prospective. “We had thought about running in the Gotham and thought, if we’re going to try the dirt, let’s run him close to home, and it worked well for us.

    “This horse is something because he got away a little slow today and we had planned on him being closer. He made that big wide run on the turn, but when (Hidden Stash rallied) I was going to be happy with second. I thought, we can build on this, because this is only his third start and there is a lot of room for improvement.

    “What was amazing is that he wasn’t overly exhausted after the race. He’s a beautiful horse, he’s bred to run all day long and he looks like a Derby horse, so it’s exciting,” Casse said.

    In the Hillsborough Stakes, the classy Micheline, a Godolphin-owned home-bred daughter of Bernardini, out of Panty Raid, by Include, took the lead in the stretch and held on under jockey Luis Saez for a ¾-length victory from Morning Molly. New York Girl was a head back in third, followed by La Signare and Miss Teheran, who dead-heated for fourth.

    The victory was the first graded-stakes triumph for Micheline, who according to Ben Trask – the  Tampa Bay Downs assistant for trainer Michael Stidham – has a personality all her own.

    “She is kind of a silly filly – she’s a bad stall walker, so she lives in a little tent behind the barn,” Trask said. “She is definitely a unique filly with a lot of talent. I was a little concerned with the outside post today and whether she would overcome it, but Luis put her in a great spot the whole time and when he called on her, she was there.”

    Micheline, now 5-for-13, completed the mile-and-an-eighth on the turf in 1:47.19. 


    For sheer drama, it was hard to top the finish of the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for sophomore fillies on the turf. Jouster and Saez made an easy lead most of the way and appeared to be home-free until she turned her head in the stretch, perhaps seeking company.

    Whatever the circumstances, that was the opening Antonio Gallardo needed on Domain Expertise, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy out of the Limehouse mare Teroda. Domain Expertise gobbled up the ground in lightning-quick fashion and stuck her nose in front at the wire, winning in 1:41.12 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth. Her time is a stakes record, bettering Fifty Five’s 1:41.60 in 2017.








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Friday, March 5, 2021
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. sends out three in field of 12 . . .
    OLDSMAR - With the Kentucky Derby  eight weeks away, time is running short for trainers entertaining visions of red roses and mint juleps. Saturday’s Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby will bring together 12 3-year-olds, most with much to prove if they are to continue to advance toward a date with destiny on May 1.

    “Except for Bill Mott’s horse (Candy Man Rocket, who won the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes here on Feb. 6), everyone is searching to see if they belong as a contender or are just a pretender,” said Saffie Joseph Jr., who will send out three horses in the 41st annual Tampa Bay Downs showcase: Moonlite Strike, Super Strong and Awesome Gerry.

    “Candy Man Rocket is a deserving favorite. A lot of the others have shown glimpses of ability, but I think they would have to run their best race ever to win,” Joseph said. “It seems like there are a lot of horses in there with two or three starts, so it looks like it is wide-open.”

    The mile-and-a-sixteenth Tampa Bay Derby, scheduled on the main dirt track as the 11th race on a 12-race card, is one of five Festival Day 41 Presented by Lambholm South stakes worth a combined $1 million in purse money. The race is also a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points affair, with 50, 20, 10 and 5 points awarded to the first four finishers toward securing a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs.

    The other stakes on the card include the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf, scheduled as the ninth race; the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass, scheduled as the 10th race; the Gr. III, $100,000 Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the dirt, slated as the fifth race; and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on the turf, scheduled as the seventh.

    Post time for the first of Saturday’s 12 races is 12:17 p.m.

    Here is the full field for the Tampa Bay Derby in post position order, with trainer, jockey and morning-line odds:

1. My Liberty, Maria Ines Mejia, Tomas Mejia, 30-1; 2. Super Strong, Saffie Joseph Jr., Antonio Gallardo, 8-1; 3. Candy Man Rocket, Bill Mott, Junior Alvarado, 2-1; 4. King of Dreams, Juan Carlos Avila, Samy Camacho, 20-1; 5. Boca Boy, Cheryl Winebaugh, Angel Arroyo, 15-1; 6. Awesome Gerry, Saffie Joseph Jr., Hector Diaz, Jr., 15-1; 7. Moonlite Strike, Saffie Joseph Jr., Daniel Centeno, 20-1; 8. Hidden Stash, Victoria Oliver, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; 9. Unbridled Honor, Todd Pletcher, Julien Leparoux, 20-1; 10. Helium, Mark Casse, Jose Ferrer, 6-1; 11. Promise Keeper, Todd Pletcher, Luis Saez, 8-1; 12. Sittin On Go, Dale Romans, Roberto Alvarado, Jr., 20-1.

     On Sunday, Mott said Candy Man Rocket “looked as smooth as silk” while breezing 4 furlongs at Payson Park Training Center in preparation for the race. Neither that assessment nor his 2-for-3 record, which includes a 9 ¼-length maiden victory on Jan. 9 at Gulfstream, deterred the connections of 11 others from competing. Candy Man Rocket will break from the No. 3 post while again being ridden by Junior Alvarado.

    Super Strong, in some ways, is the most intriguing of the Joseph's three. He is a son of Super Saver, who finished third in the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby, then went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Super Strong’s only career start, on Dec. 19, resulted in an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Grade I, 7-furlong Classico Agustin Mercado Revron Stakes on a sloppy track at Camarero in Puerto Rico.

    Both Super Strong and Moonlite Strike are owned by Marc Tacher’s Sonata Stable. Tacher transferred Super Strong to Joseph’s Palm Meadows Training Center Beach in Boynton Beach in mid-January. “He has trained well enough to give it a shot,” Joseph said. “It’s hard to judge his form in Puerto Rico, but he acts like the distance will be no problem. We aren’t giving up much experience to most of the other horses in the race. We definitely would like him to have another race in him, but we have to play the hand we’re dealt.”

    Joining Candy Man Rocket and Super Strong as a graded stakes-winner in the race is trainer Dale Romans’s Sittin On Go, who will break from the No. 12 post with Roberto Alvarado Jr., in the irons. Sittin On Go won the Gr. III Iroquois Stakes on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs, then was a non-threatening ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 6 at Keeneland. A pair of subsequent off-the-board finishes against top-level competition finds Sittin On Go with more questions than answers as Saturday nears.

    Todd Pletcher, who has sent out a record five winners of the Tampa Bay Derby, has two colts in this year’s renewal. Promise Keeper, who will break from the No. 11 post under Luis Saez, broke his maiden in his second start on Feb. 6 at Gulfstream, drawing away to a 5-length victory in a 1-mile maiden special weight contest on a sloppy track.

    Pletcher’s other entrant is Unbridled Honor, who will break from the No. 9 post under Julien Leparoux. Unbridled Honor is 1-for-3, breaking his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs in a mile-and-40-yard maiden special weight race on Feb. 6.

    The conditioner knows about winning the Tampa Bay Derby with lightly-raced colts. His 2013 winner, Verrazano, was making his third career start; 2015 winner Carpe Diem was making his fourth start; and his 2016 and 2017 winners, Destin and Tapwrit, their fifth starts.

    Two horses that seem certain to take a fair share of wagering dollars are the third and fourth-place finishers in the Sam F. Davis, Hidden Stash and Boca Boy. Hidden Stash, who is trained by Victoria Oliver, will be reunited with jockey Rafael Bejarano, who rode him to his two career victories last fall at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. They break from the No. 8 post.

Boca Boy, the Sam F. Davis pace-setter, is the only Florida-bred and the only gelding in the race. The son of Prospective is trained by Cheryl Winebaugh and will be ridden by Angel Arroyo.

    Ken Winebaugh, the assistant to wife Cheryl, said that Boca Boy rebounded in fine fettle from his Sam F. Davis effort and that he expects another good performance. Arroyo, who rode Boca Boy in his first three starts, last rode him when he finished second in August in the Proud Man Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream.

    “I think he got a little tired in the Sam F. Davis, but he didn’t quit. This horse has plenty of heart,” Ken Winebaugh said. “I don’t think he has to be in front. He laid off the pace in the Proud Man and went to the lead (before getting caught by Hot Blooded).”

    While agreeing with the consensus that Candy Man Rocket is the horse to beat, Winebaugh thinks the Sam F. Davis form could hold up. “I think those three horses from the Sam F. Davis will be the toughest. I don’t see any newcomers who scare me too much,” he said.

    Like any Florida-bred worth his salt, Boca Boy could benefit from rain that is forecast for Saturday. He has won twice on a sloppy track at Gulfstream, including a victory on Sept. 26 in the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Florida Sire In Reality Stakes. As a state-bred, Boca Boy is eligible for the race’s $50,000 FTBOA money for registered Florida-breds. The last Florida-bred to win the Tampa Bay Derby was Watch Me Go in 2011.

    Saturday’s race appears similar to last year’s from the standpoint of the favorite being the Sam F. Davis winner – in 2020, Sole Volante. While the gelding ran well for a second-place finish, he could not catch 49-1 shot King Guillermo and Samy Camacho, who turned it on through the stretch for a 4 ¾-length victory.

    King Guillermo’s connections – Camacho, owner Victor Martinez’s Victoria’s Ranch and trainer Juan Carlos Avila – are back for another try with King of Dreams, who broke his maiden in his second start on Jan. 30 in a mile-and-a-sixteenth turf race at Gulfstream. King Guillermo had finished third in the Pulpit Stakes on the grass at Gulfstream in his previous start.

    King of Dreams and Camacho will break from the No. 4 post. King Guillermo, who finished second in a division of last year’s Gr. I Arkansas Derby but has not won since the Tampa Bay Derby, is entered in Saturday’s Gr. I Santa Anita Handicap.

    Did you know that the field contains two unbeaten horses? Beside Super Strong, there is Helium, who won both of his starts last fall racing 7 furlongs on the Tapeta surface at Woodbine. Mark Casse, who won the 2012 Tampa Bay Derby with Prospective, is the trainer. Off since his Display Stakes victory in October, Helium will break from the No. 10 post under Jose Ferrer.

In a race that seems as wide-open as any in the race’s history, My Liberty shouldn't be overlooked, assigned 30-1 morning-line odds. He is trained by Maria Ines Mejia and will break from the No. 1 post under jockey Tomas Mejia (no relation).

    My Liberty broke his maiden racing 7 furlongs on Feb. 12 and has the potential to set all his backers free by pulling the upset.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Last hit on Feb. 22 . . .

 

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1 million Thursday at Gulfstream Park.


    The multi-race wager went unsolved today for the seventh day since a lucky bettor broke the jackpot for $712,824 on Feb. 22. Multiple tickets with six winners today were each worth $12,605.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $3,539 in Thursday’s first race, a maiden claiming event at five furlongs on the turf that has drawn a field of 11 fillies and mares.

    First race post is 1:10 p.m.

WHO’S HOT:  Tyler Gaffalione doubled, scoring aboard Super Leggera ($7.30) in Race 1 and Valletta ($6.60) in Race 9. Paco Lopez also rode a pair of winners, visiting the winner’s circle with Dropped Anchor ($5.60) in Race 2 and What’s Inside ($9) in Race 8.
Sunday, February 28, 2021
McGaughey's colt leads Kentucky Derby points list . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Powered by ground-devouring strides, Courtlandt Farm’s Greatest Honour galloped past pacesetter Drain the Clock nearing the finish to capture Saturday’s $300,000, Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park with speed to spare.

      “It’s kind of fun to watch him run,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Sunday morning after reporting that all was well with Greatest Honour, who was settling back in at his winter home at Payson Park in Indiantown.

      Greatest Honour finished the 1 1/16-mile stakes for Triple Crown hopefuls in a manner that hardly told the story of his journey to the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle. The dirt that covered the son of Tapit as his pictured was being taken was much more telling of challenges the home-bred colt had to overcome in order to come through for the bettors who had made him their even-money favorite.

     Although he was getting dirt kicked in his face as he raced in traffic well behind pace-setting Drain the Clock along the length of the backstretch, Greatest Honor was hardly about to play the role of a 90-pound weakling.  Once he found running room to his outside on the far turn, the McGaughey trainee flexed his considerable muscle and powered his way to a 1 ½-length victory under Jose Ortiz.

      “I knew we were in trouble," McGaughey said. "I was kind of waiting to see how it unfolded. You know, I’m not one to give up until it’s time to give up. I knew things weren’t going the way we wanted them to go. They weren’t going that fast in front of us. I saw what was happening and I felt like if we could get him to the outside we’d have a chance. That’s exactly what happened.”

      Greatest Honour’s gutsy victory in the Fountain of Youth was considerably more testing that his 5 ¾-length romp in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull on Jan. 30 at.

      “The Holy Bull – everything went perfect. This time, he didn’t get anything perfect and he came back and won,” McGaughey said. “He was doing something he didn’t want to do – to run a mile and a sixteenth over this racetrack with the short pole. I’m just glad I don’t have to do that anymore. I was on the fence whether I wanted to run him back going a mile and a sixteenth here or not. I decided that the way he worked last Sunday, it was time to go. Now, we have longer races in front of us. I still think his future is in front of him.”

 
    Greatest Honour is being pointed to the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n Dale Farm at Xalapa on March 27. McGaughey is hoping that Greatest Honour will follow the example set by Orb, whom he saddled for victories in the 2013 Fountain of Youth, 1 1/8-Florida Derby and the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby.

     Greatest Honour virtually earned his way into the Derby field with his victory, which offered 50 qualifying points. He sits atop the standings with 60 points. 

 

       

 

           
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Effective Wednesday . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park announced Friday that it will increase all overnight purses 10 percent effective Wednesday, March 3.

    Mike Lakow, Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing, said the increase is due to the quality of the live program throughout the Championship Meet.

    “We are pleased to be in a position to raise purses for horsemen who have been so supportive during this racing season,” he said.

    Gulfstream enters the ninth weekend of its Championship Meet with nine stakes (eight graded) today highlighted by the $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth, $200,000 Davona Dale, and $200,000 WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile. The three races will be three of the five graded stakes making up the Rainbow 6. The Late Pick 4 will include all graded stakes.
Thursday, February 25, 2021
$30,000 claim has earned $300,000-plus . . .

    OLDSMAR - Randal Gindi was unsure about The Critical Way’s upside after he claimed him for $30,000 at Gulfstream Park in January of 2020.

  But the owner’s faith in trainer Jose H. Delgado’s judgment was rewarded when the 7-year-old gelding held on stubbornly to defeat favored Imprimis by a half-length yesterday in the 17th running of the $100,000, 5-furlong Turf Dash Stakes on the lawn at Tampa Bay Downs.

    “I give special thanks to Jose,” said Gindi, who flew in from Brooklyn to watch The Critical Way post his third career stakes victory, and second in Gindi’s Monster Racing Stables colors. “He really believed in the horse, and when he entered him in a stakes (the Marshall Jenney Handicap for Pennsylvania-breds) at Parx (on Sept. 7), he said ‘I don’t care what the Beyer figures say. This horse is ready.’

    “He wired the field that day from the outside (No. 11) post. I’m very excited about this horse because of his speed and ability to get tactical position,” Gindi said.

    Samy Camacho rode The Critical Way, a Pennsylvania-bred son of Tizway out of the Star de Naskra mare Critical Factor. The victory was his seventh in 22 career starts. The winning time was :55.30 seconds.

    Imprimis, a multiple graded stakes-winner with career earnings of more than $820,000, held off third-place finisher The Connector by 1 ¾ lengths, with Turned Aside another neck back in fourth.

    The Critical Way earned $45,000 for the victory, raising his career earnings to $334,168.

    In the other Turf Sprint Showcase Day stakes, the 17th running of the $100,000, 5-furlong Lightning City Stakes for older fillies and mares, 5-year-old Florida-bred mare Miss Auramet moved decisively to the lead on the turn and was still moving well at the wire to defeat a charging Ode to Joy by a half-length.

    Roberto Alvarado, Jr., rode Miss Auramet, who completed the distance in 55.30 seconds, .21 seconds off the stakes record set last year by Jean Elizabeth. Sethamee Street charged late to be third, with betting favorite Payntdembluesaway, in search of her seventh consecutive victory, finishing fourth.

Miss Auramet, who has won four of her last six starts, captured her first stakes victory in the Lightning City to raise her record to 8-for-19, with five seconds. The daughter of Uncaptured, out of Hello Rosie, by Yes It’s True, paid $18.

    As a Florida-bred eligible for additional Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association funds, Miss Auramet earned $60,000 to increase her career earnings to $349,790.

Soup and Sandwich impressive in second start.

    Mark Casse has been telling folks if a Kentucky Derby horse resides in his barn, it is likely the gray Live Oak Plantation homebred Soup and Sandwich. The son of Into Mischief, out of the Tapit mare Souper Scoop, did nothing to alter his trainer’s opinion in today’s second race.

    Taking the lead with a burst of acceleration inside the 3/8-mile pole, the Florida-bred colt dispatched his competition with relative ease under jockey Antonio Gallardo, scooting away to a 2 ¾-length victory from Foreman. Only three 3-year-olds competed after three late scratches from the allowance/$75,000 optional claiming event.

    Casse said Soup and Sandwich, who broke his maiden on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream by 7 ¼ lengths, will probably try stakes competition next time, but added that the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is likely too quick a turnaround.

    “He still has a lot to prove. This was one step, and I have to figure out the next one,” Casse said. “He ran a good number when he broke his maiden and you saw this today, and the thing is he has no clue yet what he’s doing. It’s just like he made the lead and started swapping leads, and then he jumped the (tire) tracks (in the stretch).

    “But Antonio was just saying (in the winner’s circle), what a horse. He said they tried to box him in – sometimes a three-horse field is tougher, because everyone can concentrate on one horse – but when the leader went off the rail, Antonio said he went to smooching and it was like hitting the gas on a race car."






Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Shug McGaughey's colt won the Gr. III Holy Bull . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Courtlandt Farms’ Greatest Honour, already a prime prospect on the strength of his dominating victory in the Gr. III Holy Bull , will take a significant step along the Road to the Triple Crown in Saturday’s $300,000, Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

    The Shug McGaughey-trained colt will have the opportunity to virtually clinch a spot in this year’s Kentucky Derby field with a win in the Fountain of Youth, a 50-20-10-5 qualifying points race, as well as the important prep for the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n Dale Farm at Xalapa on March 27.

    The Fountain of Youth, a tradition-rich 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, will anchor Saturday’s blockbuster 14-race program with nine stakes, including the $200,000, Gr. II Davona Dale, featuring the 2021 debut of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine and Eclipse Award winner Vequist.


    Greatest Honour, who broke his maiden in his fourth career start on Dec. 26, rallied from seventh in a field of nine to draw away by 5 ¾ lengths under Jose Ortiz in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull. The son of Tapit has shown McGaughey all the signs that he has moved forward in his training at Payson Park since his winning stakes debut.


    “He had a really good work up there Sunday morning. I was pleased with the work and was very pleased with the way he looked and the way he was acting,” said McGaughey, who is hoping Greatest Honour, at 9-5 in the morning line, will follow the example of Orb, whom he saddled for victories in the Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby in 2013.

    The home-bred colt launched his career with a pair of strong closing third-place finishes in maiden special weight sprints at Saratoga and Belmont before losing a photo finish in his first trip around two turns at Aqueduct and completing his juvenile season with his 1 1/16-mile maiden breaker at Gulfstream.

    McGaughey would gladly accept a set-up in the Fountain of Youth like the one he had in the Holy Bull, in which he rated well behind a contested early pace before producing a strong stretch rally. Jose Ortiz has the return mount on Greatest Honour, who drew Post No. 8 in a field of 10.

    Three Diamonds Farm’s Fire At Will (7-2), who captured the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland last time out, is set to return to dirt in the Fountain of Youth.


    “It’s a tough task, whether he’s a dirt horse or a turf horse, but he’s earned the chance,” trainer Michael Maker said.

    After finishing sixth on turf in his Aug. 8 debut at Saratoga, Fire At Will broke his maiden in the Sept. 2 With Anticipation Stakes over a sloppy main track at the Spa. The son of Declaration of War went back to turf to capture the Oct. 3 Gr. II Pilgrim at Belmont by two lengths and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf by three lengths.

    Kendrick Carmouche, who guided Fire At Will to victory in the Pilgrim, returns to the saddle.

    Tarantino made a respectable transition from turf to dirt in the Holy Bull, in which he pressed a solid early pace before finishing second behind Greatest Honour and 3 ¾ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Prime Factor.

    The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile was a nose away from being undefeated on turf in his first three starts. He won his debut and lost a stakes by a nose in Southern California with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert before capturing a Dec. 11 optional claiming allowance on turf at Gulfstream in his first start for trainer Rodolphe Brisset and finishing second in the Holy Bull on dirt.

    “We’re hoping he can be a couple lengths better this time,” said Brisset, who expects Tarantino (8-1) to move forward from his dirt debut. Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride Tarantino for the first time.

    Prime Factor (5-1), who was favored in the Holy Bull, will be seeking to rebound in the Fountain of Youth. The son of Quality Rod debuted with a dazzling 8 ¾-length victory at Gulfstream on Dec. 12 before taking a giant step up in the Holy Bull, in which he stalked the pace and raced evenly in the stretch to finish a distant third.

  “We’re hoping he shows improvement after having only two starts. He came out of that race good. He came back with two really good breezes,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We’re just hoping it was a lack of experience and seasoning. He’s trained like a good horse, so we’ll see what he can do.”

   Pletcher named Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride Prime Factor.

    Magic Stable LLC’s Papetu, who finished three-quarters of a length behind Prime Factor while checking in fourth in the Holy Bull, will also return in the Fountain of Youth.       

    “I think he made his move too soon,” trainer Antonio Sano said of his 15-1 shot. “He needs to relax early and make his run at the three-eighths [pole].”

     Sano, who saddled Gunnevera for a victory in the 2017 Fountain of Youth, has named Junior Alvarado to ride Papetu.

    Dale Romans, who saddled Promises Fulfilled for a Fountain of Youth score in 2018, will be represented by Ovation (15-1), who finished second behind Drain the Clock in the Swale.

     Jirafales, Sososubtle (20-1), and Tiz Tact Toe (30-1) round out the field.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
List includes Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and Sam F. Davis Stakes winners . . .

    OLDSMAR - Breeders’ Cup winner Fire At Will, Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Candy Man Rocket and highly-regarded Greatest Honour are among a stellar collection of 43 3-year-old colts and geldings nominated for the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 6 at Tampa Bay Downs.

    The 41st running of the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is the centerpiece of an outstanding Festival Day 41 card offering $1 million in stakes purse money, with four graded stakes and one listed stakes on tap.

    Run at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth, the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, with the first four finishers earning 50, 20, 10 and 5 points toward qualifying for the May 1 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

    The Tampa Bay Derby has produced two Kentucky Derby winners: 2007 winner Street Sense and 2010 third-place finisher Super Saver.

    Fire at Will, owned by Three Diamonds Farm and trained by Michael Maker, hasn’t raced since his victory on Nov. 6 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland. He is ranked among the top 2021 Triple Crown candidates, along with Essential Quality, Life Is Good and Greatest Honour.

    Candy Man Rocket vaulted up the contender list with his impressive victory in the Sam F. Davis on Geb. 6. He is owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and trained by Bill Mott, who has won the Tampa Bay Derby twice. Mott has also nominated breeder-owner Michael Shanley’s colt Nova Rags, who won the Pasco Stakes on Jan. 16 before finishing second to Candy Man Rocket in the Sam F. Davis.

    Greatest Honour, who is trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey III, received excellent reviews for his dominant victory on Jan. 30 in the Gr. III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream. The colt is owned by Courtlandt Farms.

    Among other Tampa Bay Derby nominations of note are trainer Doug O’Neill’s Hot Rod Charlie, second in November in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; trainer Victoria Oliver’s Hidden Stash, third in the Sam F. Davis; Gr. II winner Brooklyn Strong, a gelding trained by Daniel Velazquez; multiple graded stakes-placed Proxy, trained by Michael Stidham; and trainer Mark Casse’s colt Gretzky the Great, who won the Gr. I Summer Stakes in September at Woodbine.


Sunday, February 21, 2021
Rainbow 6 score a life-changer . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Three Diamonds Farm’s Fire At Will breezed five furlongs Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park while tuning up for a scheduled start in next Saturday’s $300,000, Gr. II  Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth.

    The 3-year-old son of Declaration of War, who captured the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 6 at Keeneland, was timed in 1:02.75 in his seventh breeze in preparation for his 2021 debut in the key prep for the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby on March 27
.

    “Everything went smooth,” trainer Michael Maker said. “He’s ready to go.”

    After finishing sixth on turf in his Aug. 8 debut at Saratoga, Fire At Will broke his maiden in the Sept. 2 With Anticipation Stakes over a sealed sloppy main track at the Spa. The Kentucky-bred colt went back to turf to capture the Oct. 3 Gr. II Pilgrim  at Belmont by two lengths and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf by three lengths.

    At Palm Beach Downs, WinStar Farm LLC and CHD Inc.’s Prime Factor breezed a half-mile in :48.69 seconds for his scheduled return in the Fountain of Youth. The Todd Pletcher trainee, who finished third in the Jan. 30 Holy Bull as the favorite, worked in company with Promise Keeper, who broke his maiden impressively at Gulfstream on Feb. 6.

    Prime Factor debuted with a dazzling 8 ¾-length victory on Dec. 12 before taking a giant step up in the Holy Bull, in which he stalked the pace and raced evenly in the stretch to finish a distant third behind victorious Greatest Honour and runner-up Tarantino, both of whom are scheduled to return in the Fountain of Youth.

    The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth will headline a program with nine stakes, including eight graded races.

Rainbow 6 Bomber

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was hit Saturday for $712,824. The sequence included the Royal Delta (G3), won by longshot Queen Nekia who returned $60.60, and eighth-race winner Quantum Leap, who returned $47.20.

    There will be a guaranteed pool today of $200,000.

WHO’S HOT:  Trainer Peter Walder extended his hot streak of consecutive winners to six Saturday, visiting the winner’s circle with Northern ($9.80) in Race 5 and Ludington ($13.60) in Race 6. Corey Lanerie was aboard for both victories. Walder won with his only starter Thursday and notched a three-win day from three starters on Friday.

    Jockey Corey Lanerie, who won the Gr. III Royal Delta aboard 25-1 shot Queen Nekia ($60.60), also won aboard Northern and Ludington.

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Two stakes set back to Feb. 24 . . .
    OLDSMAR – Despite rainy weather, Tampa Bay Downs horsemen and horsewomen are basking in sunshine upon the announcement of a third purse increase this season, which will go into effect with Saturday’s card.

    Ongoing gains in simulcast revenue have led to another 10-percent boost, with an additional $2,500 for all allowance races, including maiden special weights, and $1,250 for all claiming and starter races. The increase amounts to approximately $15,000 more per day in total purse money.

    Tampa Bay Downs previously increased purses by 10 percent on Dec. 16 and again on Feb. 3.

    In on-track news, officials further postponed the track’s annual Turf Sprint Showcase Day – featuring the $100,000 Turf Dash Stakes and the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes – from Sunday to next Wednesday, Feb. 24. Both races had been pushed back from Saturday to Sunday earlier because of the soaked condition of the turf course, which last saw action Friday.

    With more rain forecast later this week, the decision was made to give the turf course plenty of time to dry out and create conditions as equitable as possible for all runners.

    The Turf Dash is for horses 4-years-old-and-upward and the Lightning City is for fillies and mares 4-and-upward. Both races are at a distance of 5 furlongs on the turf course.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Purchases win six stakes in Florida, California and New York . . .

    HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud’s Merneith led a 1-2-3 OBS sweep of Santa Anita’s $202,000, Gr. II Santa Monica Stakes, battling fellow OBS graduate Golden Principal (April ’19) for the lead, taking command turning for home and beating her to the wire by 2 1/4 lengths. Qahira (June ’18) settled for third.

    It’s the first graded stakes win for the 4-year-old daughter of American Pharoah, now 10-4-3-2 for trainer Bob Baffert with $357,900 in earnings. Consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, to the 2019 OBS March Sale, she breezed an Under Tack quarter in :20 4/5 before she was purchased for $600,000 by Narvick International on behalf of her owner.

OBS AT GULFSTREAM - 

    Cash Is King LLC and LC Racing LLC’s Mischevious Alex pressed the pace in the $100,000, Gr. III Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes, slipped between horses to take charge at the head of the stretch then drew off in the lane to score by 3-1/4 lengths. It’s the third graded stakes win for the 4-year-old colt by Into Mischief, consigned by Eisaman Equine to the 2019 OBS April Sale where he went through the ring after an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat. Trained by Saffie A. Joseph, Jr., he’s now 11-6-1-1 and has earned $449,730.

PAIR OF STAKES SCORES AT TAMPA BAY DOWNS -

    LLP Performance Horse's Zenden battled for the lead from the inside in the $75,000 Pelican Stakes, took charge by a length a furlong from home and held on gamely to score by a head. That’s two stakes wins for the graded stakes placed 5-year-old son of Fed Biz, who turned in an Under Tack quarter in :20 3/5 before he was sold for $47,000 by Potrero Stables, Agent, at the 2018 OBS June Sale. Trained by Carlos A. David, he’s now 14-5-3-0 and has earned $261,760.

    Team Equistaff’s The Goddess Lyssa took the lead at the start of the $50,000 Minaret Stakes and was never threatened en route to a front-running 3 1/4-length victory. It’s the first stakes win for the 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Fury Kapcori, now 7-5-0-1 with earnings of $93,915 for trainer Gerald Bennett. Consigned to the 2019 OBS June Sale by Journeyman Bloodstock Services, Inc. (Brent & Crystal Fernung), Agent, she was sold to Mary K. Thomas for $10,000 after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5

ADD AQUEDUCT SCORE TO OBS LIST - 

    Robert V. LaPenta’s Nicky the Vest is 2-for-2 and a stakes-winner after an 11 3/4- length runaway victory in the $100,000 Gander Stakes on Sunday at Aqueduct. The 3-year-old colt by Runhappy, who has earned $93,500, is the first stakes-winner for his sire. Consigned to the 2019 OBS October Selected Yearling Sale by Stuart Morris, Agent for Highclere, he was purchased by Insignia Bloodstock for $110,000.

Merneith leads OBS sweep of Santa Anita’s Santa Monica Stakes

Benoit photo

HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud’s Merneith led a 1-2-3 OBS sweep of Santa Anita’s $202,000 Santa Monica Stakes (G2), battling fellow OBS graduate Golden Principal (April ’19) for the lead, taking command turning for home and beating her to the wire by 2-1/4 lengths. Qahira (June ’18) settled for third. It’s the first graded stakes win for the 4-year-old daughter of American Pharoah, now 10-4-3-2 for trainer Bob Baffert with $357,900 in earnings. Consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, to the 2019 OBS March Sale, she breezed an Under Tack quarter in :20 4/5 before she was purchased for $600,000 by Narvick International on behalf of her owner. watch her under tack video

Lauren King photo

Cash Is King LLC and LC Racing LLC’s Mischevious Alex pressed the pace in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (G3), slipped between horses to take charge at the head of the stretch then drew off in the lane to score by 3-1/4 lengths. It’s the third graded stakes win for the 4-year-old colt by Into Mischief, consigned by Eisaman Equine to the 2019 OBS April Sale where he went through the ring after an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat. Trained by Saffie A. Joseph, Jr., he’s now 11-6-1-1 and has earned $449,730. watch his under tack video

 

OBS June graduates posted a pair of stakes scores on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

LLP Performance Horse, LLC’s Zenden battled for the lead from the inside in the $75,000 Pelican Stakes, took charge by a length a furlong from home and held on gamely to score by a head. That’s two stakes wins for the graded stakes placed 5-year-old son of Fed Biz, who turned in an Under Tack quarter in :20 3/5 before he was sold for $47,000 by Potrero Stables, Agent, at the 2018 OBS June Sale. Trained by Carlos A. David, he’s now 14-5-3-0 and has earned $261,760 to date. watch his under tack video

Team Equistaff, Inc.’s The Goddess Lyssa took the lead at the start of the $50,000 Minaret Stakes and was never threatened en route to a frontrunning 3-1/4 length victory. It’s the first stakes win for the 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Fury Kapcori, now 7-5-0-1 with earnings of $93,915 for trainer Gerald Bennett. Consigned to the 2019 OBS June Sale by Journeyman Bloodstock Services, Inc. (Brent & Crystal Fernung), Agent, she was sold to Mary K. Thomas for $10,000 after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5. watch her under tack video

Adam Coglianese photo

Robert V. LaPenta’s Nicky the Vest is two for two and a stakes winner after an 11-3/4 length runaway victory in the $100,000 Gander Stakes on Sunday at Aqueduct. The 3-year-old colt by Runhappy, who has earned $93,500, is the first stakes winner for his sire. Consigned to the 2019 OBS October Selected Yearling Sale by Stuart Morris, Agent for Highclere, he was purchased by Insignia Bloodstock for $110,000

Sunday, February 14, 2021
The Goddess Lyssa takes $50,000 Minaret . . .
    OLDSMAR - Two years ago, visions of a Tampa Bay Derby victory danced through Samy Camacho’s head as he spirited 19-1 shot Zenden to the lead into the stretch before falling prey to winner Tacitus and finishing fourth.

    The next time Camacho rode Zenden was in an allowance/optional claiming sprint here on Jan. 15, setting the pace before he and the now-5-year-old horse got caught by Edgemont Road.

    The third time on Zenden was the charm for Camacho, who withstood a stretch-long challenge from Florida-bred gelding Souper Stonehenge and jockey Jose Ferrer to post a head victory in the $100,000, 6-furlong Pelican Stakes. The victory was the fifth in 14 starts for Zenden, who sped the distance in 1:09.85 on a track upgraded to “fast” earlier in the day. Edgemont Road finished a non-threatening third in the seven-horse field.

    Also on the Saturday card, 4-year-old Florida-bred filly The Goddess Lyssa led from start to finish under jockey Daniel Centeno to win the $50,000 Minaret Stakes. 

    Zenden, who has performed in graded-stakes company in half his starts (his best finishes at that level were seconds in the Gr. III Swale at Gulfstream two years ago and in the Gr. III Fred W. Hooper at Gulfstream last year), collected the winner’s share of $45,000, raising his career bankroll to $261,760.

    The Kentucky-bred son of Fed Biz-You Laughin, by Sharp Humor, is owned by LLP Performance Horse and trained by Carlos David, who watched the replay of the Pelican at Gulfstream Park after sending out another runner to a fourth-place finish at virtually the same time. David has trained Zenden for his last five starts.

    The victory was the third consecutive Pelican triumph for Camacho, who won the previous two runnings with Killybegs Captain for trainer John Terranova, II. “I’m looking for another one next year,” said a smiling Camacho.

    In the Minaret, The Goddess Lyssa broke on top and settled into a relaxed rhythm that made her impossible to catch. She coasted to a 3 ¼-length victory from Gr. III-placed multiple stakes-winner Bronx Beauty in 1:10.02 for the 6-furlongs, just .39 seconds off Spanish Concert’s 2017 stakes record. Supplemental entry Poseidon’s Passion finished third in the six-horse field.

    The Goddess Lyssa, a daughter of Fury Kapcori-Amazing Beauty, by Distorted Humor, who was bred by Brent Fernung and Crystal Fernung at Journeyman Stud, improved to 5-for-7. The winner’s share of $30,000 raised her career earnings to $93,915 – a solid investment for Ocala resident Mary Thomas, who purchased her for $10,000 as a 2-year-old at the OBS June Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing age Sale.

    “I had a good shopping partner with me, Gerald Bennett,” said Thomas, who campaigns her horses under her Team Equistaff banner. “It was early in the day, there weren’t too many people there and we got a good bargain. We’ve given her some time and she has come back strong, and I’m very excited.”

    Bennett, who has won five consecutive Oldsmar training crowns and leads the standings this season, thought The Goddess Lyssa might have been able to threaten the track record of 1:08.67, set by It’s Me Mom in 2012, had early-morning rain not turned the track from fast to good (it was upgraded to fast two races later). But she handled the track well, and Bennett will contemplate sending her to Oaklawn Park for the $250,000, 6-furlong Carousel Stakes on April 10.

    “For her first time on a muddy track, she ran really good,” said Centeno, who engineered splits of :22.23 seconds for the first quarter-mile, :45.07 for the half and :57.08 for 5 furlongs. “She likes to run on the lead, and I got her to relax well. The last time she ran I never hit her and today I hit her twice at the eighth pole, once on the left side and once on the right, and she finished strong.








Sunday, February 14, 2021
Presidents Day program set for tomorrow . . .
    LAUREL, MD – Due to a winter storm in the Mid-Atlantic region, Laurel Park has cancelled today’s nine-race program.

    Live Racing returns tomorrow when there will be a special Presidents Day holiday program with a 12:25 p.m. first race post time.


     It’s the second consecutive day Laurel has cancelled racing. The Maryland Jockey Club postponed yesterday’s Winter Sprintfest program featuring the $250,000, Gr. III Runhappy Barbara Fritchie and $250,000, Gr. III General George to Saturday, Feb. 20.

     In addition to the Barbara Fritchie and General George for older sprinters, the Winter Sprintfest program includes the $100,000 Miracle Wood for 3-year-olds, $100,000 Wide Country for 3-year-old fillies, $100,000 John B. Campbell for 4-year-olds and up and $100,000 Nellie Morse for older females at about 1 1/16 miles.
Saturday, February 13, 2021
More than $5 million wagered in new money . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - There were multiple winning tickets in today’s mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park with each ticket worth $17,215. There was a carryover pool of $1,048,970, and $5,831,816 of new money wagered into the pool.

The sequence started off with a bang when 30-1 shot Boreas won the seventh race, a maiden special weight event at a mile on the turf course and returned $62.80.

    There will be a guaranteed pool of $200,000 in Sunday’s Rainbow 6, which includes three turf races. The sequence begins with the sixth race, a maiden special event at a mile for 4-year-olds and up. Bold Agenda, a son of Candy Ride from the Todd Pletcher stable, is 9-5 in the morning-line off a third-place finish here Jan. 15 at a mile. Winter Pool, a son of Curlin, debuts for the barn of Chad Brown and is 5-2.

The 10th race, an optional allowance claimer at 1 1/16-miles on the turf, is a wide-open affair with a dozen fillies and mares. The Brown barn sends out Linny Kate, a daughter of Tonalist making her first start in eight months. Brendan Walsh sends out two, including Godolphin’s Lake Lucerne, making her U.S. debut.

    The final leg of the sequence is a maiden special weight event for 3-year-old fillies on the turf at 1 1/16 miles. It’s another competitive event with debut runners from the barns of Shug McGaughey, Christophe Clement and Brown, and 4-1 Champagne Ivy for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., and A Thing of Beauty for Pletcher.

NOTES: Calumet Farm’s Flying Scotsman went gate-to-wire to win today’s 10th race, a $53,000 allowance optional claimer. A 5-year-old son of English Channel entering the race off a fifth-place finish in the Gr. III Tropical Turf, Flying Scotsman and Corey Lanerie covered the mile on the turf in 1:32.83 and returned $33.60. Structor, making his first start since winning the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, finished in a dead heat for fourth.

Friday, February 12, 2021
Mandatory payout of rich Rainbow 6 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Leinster looms as a solid favorite in Saturday’s $100,000, Gr. III Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint on the strength of a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

    The Rusty Arnold-trained 6-year-old son of Majestic Warrior is set to make his 2021 debut in the five-furlong turf race for 4-year-olds and up that will co-headline Saturday’s 12-race program with the $100,000, Gr. III Gulfstream Park Sprint. Saturday’s program will also feature a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 jackpot pool (carryover $1.048 million) and the return of undefeated 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Structor in an optional claiming allowance on turf.

    Leinster, who is owned by Amy Dunne, Brenda Miley, Westrock Stables LLC and Jean Wilkinson, finished a length behind Glass Slippers and a half-length behind runner-up Wet Your Whistle in the 5 ½-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in his 2020 finale.

    "He’s doing really well. We sent him to Ocala for about a month. He was on the farm and I picked him up when I got to Florida in early December. He’s been here two months and all systems are ‘go,’” said Arnold, whose stable is based at Palm Meadows.

    Leinster raced evenly over a ‘good’ course in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, encountering a slight bumping incident in the stretch.

    “He ran his race. I think the turf got a touch softer than what is his favorite, but he got in a great spot and made a run for the lead. He got bumped around a little, but when you’re in these full fields, that’s the way it goes,” Arnold said. “I was very proud of him. He fought right on to the wire. He got beat by what? A length? I was very proud of him. I think the soft turf hurt him more than the bumping around.”

    Leinster was victorious in his two starts prior to the Breeders’ Cup over a firm Keeneland turf course in the Gr. II Shakertown and the Gr. II Woodford Stakes. “I think [the Gulfstream course] should suit him well,” Arnold said. “He’s got two track records and they were both in [midsummer], one at Keeneland and one at Saratoga. They were both on hard ground, and that’s the way he likes it.”

    Leinster ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:00.86 to win the July 11 Shakertown in track-record time. He also set a record while winning the 5 ½-furlong Troy (G3) in 1:00.23 at Saratoga.

    Arnold also entered Pat Madden LLC’s Borracho, a 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo who is Gr. 1 stakes-placed on dirt and who pressed the pace before fading in his Jan. 23 turf debut in a mile optional claiming allowance. Luis Saez has the return mount aboard Leinster, while Joe Bravo has the call aboard Borracho.

    Silverton Hill LLC’s High Crime is scheduled to make his first start at Gulfstream since finishing fourth in the Swale on dirt two years ago. The Darrin Miller-trained 5-year-old son of Violence has gone on to prove himself as a solid competitor on turf. In his most recent start of turf, he pressed the pace on his way to a half-length victory in a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance at Keeneland. Julien Leparoux has the call on High Crime.

    Sam Wilensky and Harry Orgo’s Harry’s Ontheloose enters the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint off a fourth-place finish behind multiple graded-stakes winner Imprimis in the Janus stakes last time out. The 5-year-old son of Uncaptured previously finished third in the Claiming Crown Canterbury and won an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park West, both at five furlongs on turf. Junior Alvarado has the call aboard the Herman Wilensky-trained Florida-bred.

   G. Watts Humphrey and Brendan O’Brien’s Smart Remark, Nimet Arif Kurtel’s Shared Legacy, and Santa Rosa Racing Stables’ Inter Miami round out the field.

Monday, February 8, 2021
$360,000 filly is 2-for-2 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Starlight Racing’s Jouster remained undefeated on the turf Sunday at Gulfstream Park, scoring by 1 ¾ lengths over Gladys, a full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, in the Race 7 feature, a 1 16-mile optional claiming allowance  for 3-year-old fillies.

    The Todd Pletcher-trained daughter of Noble Mission, who scored a front-running 8 ¾-length maiden victory in her Jan. 10 turf debut, again showed the way before holding Gladys at bay through the stretch to prevail as the 1-10 favorite. Jouster, a $360,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling sale, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.56 over a ‘good’ course after setting fractions of 25:02 and 48:07 for the first half-mile, 1:10.99 for six furlongs and 1:35.57 for a mile.

    “I was a little concerned running on soft ground today because she handled the firm ground so well last time," Pletcher said. But she dug in and found a little more when she had to despite going quick internal fractions. But she got the job done. She’s 2-for-2 now on the grass, so we’ll try again.”

    Dede McGehee’s Gladys, who was making her turf debut, chased Jouster throughout the race and made up some ground in the stretch. The Kelsey Danner-trained Gladys, who broke her maiden Oct. 25 at Gulfstream Park West before finishing off the board in the Jan. 1 Cash Run at Gulfstream, was wearing blinkers for the first time.

    Trainer Chad Brown unveiled a promising 3-year-old filly in Race 6, a six-furlong test won by Peter Brant’s Boston Post Road with a thoroughly professional performance. The debuting daughter of Quality Road pressed the early pace before drawing clear by three lengths under Paco Lopez.

    Purchased for $525,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, the long-striding Boston Post Road ($8.20) raced six-furlongs in 1:11.68.

    Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.2 million. It  went unsolved for the 10th day Sunday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $88.36.

Sunday, February 7, 2021
Record Tampa handle for Sam F. Davis day . . .
    OLDSMAR - For a few fleeting seconds nearing the turn for home in the Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, it appeared that pace-setter Boca Boy was about to pull away from his closest pursuer, Candy Man Rocket. But Junior Alvarado, the jockey on Candy Man Rocket, wanted to wait a little longer to launch his move.

    “I didn’t really want to engage the horse up front or make any quick move too early," Alvarado said. "I just ha d to move a little bit, keep holding my position and wait as long as I could. He doesn’t have a real quick turn of foot, but he started grinding it out so I started picking it up and I was really pleased by the quarter pole turning for home.

    Then, when he requested more, Candy Man Rocket delivered. “At the sixteenth pole when I switched my stick to the right hand and showed it to him to see what I had left, he put his head low and kept grinding his way there,” Alvarado said after posting a 1-length victory over stablemate Nova Rags, ridden by Samy Camacho.

    The Sam F. Davis was the centerpiece of a Festival Preview Day 41 Presented by Lambholm South card that set a Sam F. Davis Day handle record of $13,200,523, an increase of more than $2.1-million from last year. The total handle is the third largest in track history. Three other stakes were contested, including two graded races on the turf, with total stakes purse money of $750,000.

    Riley Mott, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and his father’s assistant, had a good feeling Candy Man Rocket was going to earn the $120,000 Sam F. Davis winner’s share when Alvarado turned him loose.

    “He got into a real nice comfort zone down the backside and Junior let him out a notch going to the 3/8-mile pole and at that point there wasn’t a whole lot coming from behind,” the younger Mott said. “He hit the front a little bit early, which was concerning – he’s still inexperienced and sometimes when they get to the front too early, they tend to wander – but Junior kept him to the task and he really ran on well and passed the two-turn test.”

    Mott also saddled runner-up Nova Rags, who won the Pasco Stakes here on Jan. 16. “He is a quality horse, and he sat a good trip too,” Mott said. “We weren’t sure about the two turns, so to see him come back and pass the two-turn test and run so well to a good horse and his stablemate was pretty encouraging.”

    Candy Man Rocket paid $8.20 as the second betting choice in the 12-horse field. His time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth on a fast track was 1:44.30. He won by a length, with Nova Rags and Camacho holding on for second by a neck from Hidden Stash. Boca Boy finished fourth. 

    Candy Man Rocket, a son of Candy Ride-Kenny Lane, by Forestry, is owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations. He is 2-for-3 in his career. The Sam F. Davis is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, with Candy Man Rocket taking away the top award of 10 points.

    The  1-2 finish by the Mott charges puts the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby squarely in their sights, although Riley Mott said the March 6 race might come up a little quick for Nova Rags. Regardless, having options is what it’s all about for 3-year-olds at this stage of the year.

    In the Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for older horses on a firm turf surface, Get Smokin and Alvarado powered to the front in the stretch and lasted for a ¾-length victory from Eons. Admission Office finished third. The winner’s time was 1:40.75.

    Get Smokin, by Get Stormy out of Hookah Lady, by Smoke Glacken, is a 4-year-old gelding owned by the Mary Abeel Sullivan Revocable Trust and trained by Thomas M. Bush, who received a call from the owner immediately after the race. “She lives in Vero Beach and watched it on TV, and she is thrilled. She will be 92 on Monday and is very excited,” Bush said. “(He was ready today. Junior rode a beauty, for sure. Our horse was coming into it great. We gave him a little freshening after he ran in California, and he has really responded since he got to Florida. He’s been in the feed tub and we were really hoping he would run this race and he did.”

    Get Smokin paid $10 to win as the second choice in the 12-horse field.

    In the Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes for older fillies and mares, Klaravich Stables’ Counterparty Risk cut the corner turning for home under jockey John Velazquez and held firm for a 1-length victory from New York Girl. Tropical Racing's Margaret’s Joy rallied for third.

    The 4-year-old Ireland-bred winner, making only her fourth start, is trained by Chad Brown. Her time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass was 1:43.20. Counterparty Risk is by Australia, out of the Acclamation mare Anklet.

    The victory was the fourth on the card for Velazquez. The favorite, Counterparty Risk paid $3.80 for her second career victory.

    In the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Breeze Easy's Curlin’s Catch split horses turning for home and rolled to a 4 ½-length victory from Be Sneaky, with Il Malocchio gaining third. Curlin’s Catch completed the mile-and-40-yard distance on the main track in 1:40.89.

    Antonio Gallardo rode the winner for Breeze Easy and Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. Curlin’s Catch improved to 2-for-4. The Suncoast is a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” points race, and Casse suggested Curlin’s Catch will at least stay on that path for the foreseeable future. Curlin’s Catch paid $5.60 as the wagering favorite.



 
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Irad rides six winners, Nicoletti picks 10 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Two-time defending Championship Meet titlist Irad Ortiz Jr. rode six winners on Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park.

    After notching a consecutive triple with victories aboard Hard Game ($8) in Race 2, Noble Empire ($3) in Race 3 and Bourbon in May ($7.60) in Race 4, Ortiz scored aboard Great Island ($2.60) in Race 6, the $100,000 Suwannee River, Democracy ($15.60) in Race 7, and R Mercedes Boy ($5.60) in Race 9.

    Ortiz has ridden a meet-leading 76 winners, 16 more than Luis Saez.

    “You never think that you’re going to win that many races, but you come here positive,” Ortiz said. “You try to win every race. I ride all my horses with the same mind. I try to win, no matter what. I think that helps. I got the right horses, too. My agent does a great job and all the trainers support me. They give me a lot of good chances . . . and the owners. Right now, we’re in a good position. I’m glad. I feel great.

    “You don’t have too many days like this, so I just enjoy it. For me, honestly, I go home and it’s just another day. Tomorrow everybody will forget what happened today. I just move on. I celebrate the way I want to; I go home with my family. That’s it, and tomorrow is a new day.”

    The record for most wins on a Gulfstream program is seven, shared by Jerry Bailey (3/11/96), Tyler Gaffalione (7/4/17), Luis Saez (1/24/18 and 3/29/18) and Paco Lopez (3/21/20).

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $1.1 Million

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.1 million today. It went unsolved for the ninth straight day Saturday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $1,638.    

    The sequence will span Races 6-11, kicked off by a well-stocked maiden special weight race for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs. Red Hot and Blue, a Shug McGaughey-trained daughter of Candy Ride who cost $650,000 as a yearling, heads a group of well-bred fillies who will make their respective debuts, including daughters of Medaglia d’Oro, Pioneerof the Nile and Quality Road, as well as three daughters of leading sire Into Mischief.

    Todd Pletcher-trained Jouster, who won by nearly nine lengths in her auspicious turf debut, is 6-5 in the morning-line for Race 7, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Kelsey Danner-trained Gladys, a full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, is entered to make her turf debut.

    Race 8, a five-furlong turf sprint for $16,000 claimers, could prove to be a popular ‘spread’ race with bettors. Chad Brown-trained Precipitate, a Juddmonte Farms’ home-bred daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, is rated at 2-1 in the morning line for Race 9, a mile maiden special weight race for 3-year-old fillies. Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Born Again, a daughter of Not This Time who finished third in her recent debut; and Bill Mott-trained Obligatory, a daughter of Curlin who finished fourth in her debut after bumping at the start; are also likely to receive strong support.

    A 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance for older horses follows in Race 10. Michael Yates-trained Reservenotattained will seek his third straight victory after winning both of his last two by 6 ½ lengths. A mile turf race with a full field of $16,000 claimers in Race 11 figures to offer a strong challenge to bettors looking for a ‘single’ to complete their Rainbow 6 tickets.

Nicoletti Picks 10 Winners on Saturday’s Program

  Gulfstream's long-time host and analyst picked 10 winners on Saturday's 12-race program.  

    He started the day by selecting the winners of the first nine races. They were Girl Dad ($6.60), Hard Game ($8), Noble Empire ($3), Bourbon in May ($7.60), Augusta Melody ($3), Great Island ($2.60), Democracy ($15.60), Yodel E.A. Who ($4.60), and R Mercedes Boy ($5.60). Nicoletti scratched into Great Island when his top selection, La Signare, was withdrawn from the Suwannee River when the race was taken off the turf.

    After his 10th-race selection, Bourbon Highway, lost his rider, Nicoletti added the 11th-race winner in Lady’s Island ($4.40) in the Ladies’ Turf Sprint. His selection in the last race finished fourth.

Sunday, February 7, 2021
Daughter of Greatness has won 18 times . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple graded stakes-winner Lady’s Island made her last start for Averill Racing and Matties Racing a winning one Saturday at Gulfstream Park, notching her 18th career victory in the $100,000 Lady’s Turf Sprint.

    The race, scheduled for five furlongs on the grass, was transferred to the sloppy main track due to afternoon rain, as was the co-featured $100,000 Suwannee River.


    A winner on turf as well as dirt, Lady’s Island is entered in next week’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale.

    “She’s been so good to me, so good to the barn, so good to the connections," trainer Georgina Baxter said. "She’s been so beautifully campaigned by the owners, and we’re going to miss her not only as a racehorse but as a horse. She’s such a pleasure to be around. It’s bittersweet. I’m just so pleased that she went out on top, because she deserves it after all she’s done and achieved.”

    The 7-year-old daughter of Solera Farm's Greatness was the 6-5 favorite in a field of six. She broke a step slowly but quickly recovered to take the lead inside Hear My Prayer and never looked back on her way to a victory by three-quarters of a length under Emisael Jaramillo.

    “There’s always nervous moments," Baxter said. "I’m nervous from this morning. When she got the lead and looked relaxed, I wasn’t really worried. She always pulls through. She never lets us down.”

    Lady’s Island, who had made a successful title defense in the Gr. III Sugar Swirl in her previous start, ran five furlongs in :58.87 seconds. Miss Auramet closed under Jose Ortiz to finish second, a half-length ahead of Hear My Prayer.

    The mare bred by Bailey Bolen wound up her fabulous career with a record of 18-5-4 in 35 starts and earnings of $665,575. She won at Gulfstream, Tampa Bay Downs, Saratoga, Delaware Park and Gulfstream West, and included seven black-type stakes. In one span, from Jan. 4 of 2019 through May 16 of 2020, she raced 13 times, winning 11 and finishing second in the other two. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021
Only 3 winning tickets on 5-race sequence . . .

    LAUREL, MD – There were three winning tickets in Friday’s Stronach 5, each worth $43,099.

    The Stronach 5 featured three turf sprints, races from Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields, and an industry-low 12-percent takeout
.

    Friday’s sequence began with Gulfstream’s seventh race and Putman ($14) winning the five-furlong turf event. The second leg, Laurel’s ninth race of the afternoon, was won by Extra Medium ($6), providing leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez his fourth winner on the program.

    Things turned a bit more interesting when the Stronach 5 headed west. The third leg of the sequence, Santa Anita’s third race, was won by Sensemaker ($24.20), who drew in off the also-eligible list and then withstood a steward’s inquiry, The fourth leg of the sequence, Golden Gate’s third race also produced a double-digit winner in Jimmy Blue Jeans ($20.40).

    The Stronach 5 wrapped up with Gulfstream’s ninth race and 5-2 shot Mai Ty One On ($7.80) upsetting 6-5 favorite Yes I Am Free.



                                    

Thursday, February 4, 2021
Bahamian Squall filly runs for J D Farms . . .
    OLDSMAR - Special Princess has spent much of her brief career proving the naysayers wrong. Her next opportunity to confound the experts comes in Saturday’s $150,000 Suncoast Stakes, part of a lucrative Festival Preview Day 41 Presented by Lambholm South card at Tampa Bay Downs.

    The mile-and-40-yard Suncoast on the main track is the ninth race on a 12-race card beginning at 11:50 a.m. Special Princess, who dead-heated for the victory in the 7-furlong Gasparilla Stakes on Jan. 16 with Adios Trippi, will break from the outside No. 10 post position under jockey Ademar Santos.

    Special Princess is owned by her Ocala breeder, Jim DiMare’s J D Farms, and trained by Walter Woodard. The daughter of Bahamian Squall-Indy Crown, by Shaniko, breezed 3 furlongs Tuesday over the Oldsmar strip in 37 1/5 seconds with Santos aboard.

    “We just blew her out a little to keep her on her toes,” said the 58-year-old Woodard, who began training on his own in 1998. “She has enough miles on her and enough bottom that she didn’t need to go any farther. She is a very easy filly to train, and she’s done everything I’ve asked her to do.”

    The Suncoast Stakes is a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” race, awarding qualifying points to the first four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale for the April 30 Longines Kentucky Oaks. The Suncoast is one of four stakes worth a combined $750,000 in purse money.

    Just where Special Princess fits into the proceedings will be revealed, but Woodard knows the Suncoast will provide the toughest competition, top to bottom, of her career. She is 8-1 on the morning line, with Gulf Coast, from the barn of Rodolphe Brisset, listed at 5-2.

    Besides Gulf Coast, who won the Cash Run Stakes on Jan. 1 at Gulfstream Park after finishing second here on Dec. 5 in the Sandpiper Stakes, likely contenders include trainer Ken McPeek’s well-regarded Roll Up Mo Money, to be ridden by Samy Camacho; Feeling Mischief, a Michael Campbell-trainee who won the Sandpiper Stakes and was third in the Gasparilla; Il Malocchio, another McPeek charge who won the Victorian Queen Stakes on turf last September at Woodbine; and trainer Eddie Kenneally’s Honorifique, second in the Cash Run.

    And, that’s not even mentioning entrants trained by Hall of Fame members Bill Mott and Mark Casse.

    But it’s horse racing, and Special Princess might have another surprise in store. The bettors ignored her in her career debut in August at Gulfstream, and she finished third in a nine-horse field at odds of 54-1. She was 24-1 when she broke her maiden on Oct. 28 at Gulfstream West. And she was mostly an afterthought in the Gasparilla, going off at 13-1. Adios Trippi appeared to have the race won before Special Princess staged a furious rally on the outside to create the deadlock. 

    “Saturday is a lot tougher race, because this starts the push toward the Kentucky Oaks,” Woodard said. “But this is what you have to do in life – keep stepping up. I’m confident she can run with this bunch. She wouldn’t be there if I didn’t think she belonged.

    “I know she beat some nice horses (in the Gasparilla). I think she is definitely going to be able to run longer, and that Ademar will be able to settle her on the backside, get her motor revved up and come running. Everybody is going to know she is there, I’m pretty sure.” 

    The Gasparilla was Woodard’s first stakes victory as a trainer. “I’m the small-town guy going in. But I grew up with Mark Casse when I moved to Florida (from Marietta, Ga.) out of high school to work for his father, Norman Casse, at Cardinal Hill Farm.” Woodard said. “I’ve been around these guys at the sales and big racetracks, and they wake up at 4 a.m. just like I do, so that doesn’t bother me.”

    Woodard, who also worked at Ocala Stud Farm for about six or seven years before heading to the racetrack in 1998, has a quick reply when asked how he has managed to stay in the profession with only a few dozen victories to show as his on-track accomplishments.

    “ ’Cause this is what I do for a living, and it’s the greatest game in the world,” he said. “Forget my record. I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’ve worked on horse farms, galloped horses, then I got into pinhooking. I’ve been doing this my whole life, I’m still in the business and I’ll be in the business until the end. I hustle and work hard, and racing has treated me very well.”

    Woodard manages a 12-horse stable at Tampa Bay Downs. On Jan. 16, in the race before the Gasparilla, he sent out another J D Farms-owned 3-year-old filly, Peaceful Way, to win a maiden claiming event with Santos aboard. Peaceful Way is entered in Friday’s first race.

    From sheer, unadulterated joy to the mountaintop. So what if he had to share the view? “Special Princess is probably the best horse I’ve trained,” Woodard said. “She makes my job real simple. I’m just fortunate to get to train her.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Highlight of Tampa Bay Downs Saturday Program . . .
    OLDSMAR - Nova Rags, who won the Pasco Stakes here on Jan. 16, and Candy Man Rocket, a runaway winner of a maiden special weight sprint on Jan. 9 at Gulfstream, give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott a formidable pair of contenders in Saturday’s Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, the main event of Festival Preview Day 41 Presented by Lambholm South at Tampa Bay Downs.

    Nova Rags will again be ridden by leading Oldsmar jockey Samy Camacho. Mott has named Junior Alvarado to ride Candy Man Rocket. The 41st running of the mile-and-a-sixteenth race on the main track, which awards “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points to the first four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale has drawn a field of 12.

    Mott may have rival trainer Todd Pletcher to beat. Pletcher, who has won a record six Sam F. Davis Stakes, will go for No. 7 with Donegal Racing’s colt Millean and St. Elias Stables’ Known Agenda, who finished third in the Grade II Remsen Stakes on Dec. 5 at Aqueduct.

    The Sam F. Davis, scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card beginning at 11:50 a.m., is one of four stakes offering an aggregate $750,000 in stakes purse money.

    Saturday’s 35th running of the Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf, is scheduled as the eighth race. A field of 12 older horses is expected, headed by 4-year-old gelding Sole Volante, last year’s Sam F. Davis Stakes winner, and Gr. II-winning 4-year-old colt Fancy Liquor.

    Sole Volante is trained by Patrick Biancone and will be ridden by Robby Albarado. Fancy Liquor is trained by Michael Maker and will have Hector Diaz Jr., in the saddle.

    The 22nd edition of the Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes, for fillies and mares 4-and-upward racing a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf, has attracted eight entries and is scheduled as the 10th race. Heading the field are 4-year-old filly New York Girl, an Irish-bred who won her first start in the United States on Dec. 31 at Gulfstream, and Counterparty Risk, a game second in the Lady of Shamrock Stakes on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.

    New York Girl is trained by Mott and will be ridden by Junior Alvarado. Chad Brown conditions Counterparty Risk, who will be ridden by John Velazquez.

    The other stakes is the 41st running of the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies traveling a mile-and-40-yards on the main track. The Suncoast, which lured 10 entries, is the ninth race on the card.

    Among the likely contenders are Special Princess, who dead-heated for victory in the Gasparilla Stakes here on Jan. 16, and Feeling Mischief, who captured the Sandpiper Stakes here on Dec. 5 before settling for third in the Gasparilla.

    Ademar Santos will ride Special Princess for trainer Walter Woodard. Jesus Castanon will be aboard Feeling Mischief for trainer Michael Campbell. Another probable contender is trainer Rodolphe Brisset’s Gulf Coast, to be ridden by Julien Leparoux.


Sam F. Davis Stakes:

1.  Hidden Stash, Victoria Oliver, Hector Diaz, Jr. 2. Joe Man Joe, David Fisher, Huber Villa-Gomez. 3. Known Agenda, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez. 4. Millean, Todd Pletcher, Roberto Alvarado, Jr. 5. Smiley Sobotka, Dale Romans, Daniel Centeno. 6. Runway Magic, George “Rusty” Arnold, II, Julien Leparoux. 7. Boca Boy, Cheryl Winebaugh, Antonio Gallardo. 8. Nova Rags, Bill Mott, Samy Camacho. 9. Candy Man Rocket, Bill Mott, Junior Alvarado. 10. Ricochet, Kelsey Danner, Jesus Castanon. 11. Lucky Law, Patrick Biancone, Robby Albarado. 12. Last Investment, Stacy Lane Hendry, Ademar Santos. 13 (also eligible, draws in if there is a late scratch): Tiz Tact Toe, Robert B. Hess, Jr., Alonso Quinonez.


 

 





 





 








Sunday, January 31, 2021
Their Kentucky-bred edges their Florida-bred . . .

    Here's one definition of 'Irony:' "Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually happens."

    The country's most notable handicappers - guys like Andy Beyer and the late Pete Axthelm and their cronies - have always railed on what they call "bad beats," losing a major bet for various reasons other than the normal.

    A bad beat could be losing a juicy Pick 6 when the last winning horse in the sequence is disqualified for interference in the stretch, especially if the stewards' call is debatable. Or losing a Rainbow 6 when one's lone winning ticket is joined by another when the second guy's pick in the finale is a late scratch and his ticket reverts to the favorite, who wins and would have given the first guy the only winner, but now there are two.

    Without question a bad beat occurred in the 10th race at Tampa Bay Downs yesterday, and it happened to Joe and Helen Barbazon, owners of Pleasant Acres Stallions west of Ocala. They are the breeders of Here Comes Jackie, a 5-year-old mare and biggest money-winner for their own stallion, Handsome Mike.

    Here Comes Jackie went off at 7-1 in the 5-furlong turf race with veteran Ronnie Allen in the iron(y)s. Allen had his mare flying down the lane and she reached the wire a neck short of 2-1 favorite Catsoutofthebag. And here's the irony: the Barbazons were deprived of a breeders' award by a 5-year-old mare by Discreet Cat who was bred in Kentucky by, of all people, Joe and Helen Barbazon, and not eligible for a Florida breeders' award.

    So the Barbazons lost approximately $2,200 due to a hard-fought victory by their own horse. By a diminishing neck. That is a 'bad beat.'   

Saturday, January 30, 2021
Handle surpasses $21.8 million . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Today’s 12-race program, featuring an impressive performance by the 3-year-old colt Greatest Honour, produced a record Holy Bull Day handle at Gulfstream Park.

    Total handle on the afternoon was $21.870 million, eclipsing the previous record of $19.775 set in 2017 and surpassing last year’s total handle by 20 percent.

    The afternoon of races included five graded stakes worth $600,000 in purse money. The afternoon was highlighted by Courtlandt Farms’ Greatest Honour’s 5 ¾-length victory in the $200,000, Gr. III Holy Bull (G3), a major prep for the Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth on Feb. 27 and the Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby on March 27.

“It was a wonderful day of racing, and we want to thank the fans and the horsemen for supporting our program,” said Aidan Butler, Chief Operating Officer of 1/ST Racing. “Congratulations to Greatest Honour and all of those who participated in making this a memorable afternoon. We look forward to more great racing in the weeks to come during our Championship Meet.” 

Sunday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $700,000


    The multi-race wager went unsolved during today’s program for the fourth straight day following last Sunday’s mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $11,465. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $4,431.13.

    Sunday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 6-11, kicked off by a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight for 3-year-olds on turf. Todd Pletcher-trained Aviano, second and third in two career starts, is rated as the 8-5 favorite and figures to be a popular ‘single.’ Well-balanced fields of $6,250 claimers in Race 7, a mile race for older horses, and $20,000 claimers in Race 8, a mile turf race for older horses, may well prove more challenging for Rainbow 6 bettors. 

    Back-to-back optional claiming allowance races for older horses follow in Races 9 and 10. Ajaaweed, who finished a close second in the 2019 Remsen, is scheduled to make his first start for Pletcher in Race 9, a mile race for older horses. Pletcher is also scheduled to saddle last-out winner War Stopper, the 7-5 morning-line favorite, for Race 10, a 1 1/16-mile race for older horses. A full field of 3-year-old fillies will contest Race 11, a mile turf race for $50,00 maiden claimers.

    WHO’S HOT: Tyler Gaffalione followed up his winning ride on Chess’s Dream ($18.60) in the Gr. III Kitten’s Joy in Race 4 with a late-running score aboard Tune In ($11.40) in Race 8. Paco Lopez doubled with back-to-back wins on Life in Shambles ($5.20) in Race 2 and Dr. Duke ($15.40) in Race 3.

    Emisael Jaramillo guided a pair of longshots to victory, scoring aboard Weekend Dreamer ($20.20) in Race 1 and King of Dreams ($34) in Race 7.















Saturday, January 30, 2021
10 percent boost beginning Wednesday . . .
    OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs horsemen will benefit from another increase in purse money beginning with Wednesday’s card. The approximate 10-percent boost will provide a $1,000 increase for all maiden special weight, allowance, claiming and starter races.

    Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager, said a double-digit gain in simulcast wagering has more than offset a decline in on-track wagering, making the second increase of the 2020-2021 meeting possible. The track had raised purses by approximately 10 percent on Dec. 16.

    Tampa Bay Downs is averaging $4.1-million in daily handle on its product, a 15-percent increase from the same period last season. On-track wagering has fallen 25 percent, wholly attributable to the effect of COVID-19 on attendance.

    “Our thoroughbred signal is among the most popular in the country each winter and continues to gain new players, thanks to the size of our fields (an average of 8.4 horses a race) and our outstanding turf program,” Berube said. “We are pleased to use the increased revenue to support the people who make our racing competitive and challenging for serious handicappers and $2 bettors alike.
Thursday, January 28, 2021
New York-bred is sales topper . . .

    The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Winter Mixed Sale ended on a high note as Hip No. 805, a New York-bred yearling daughter of Laoban consigned by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent was sold to Sand Hill Stables for $175,000 topping Wednesday’s Open Session as well as the entire sale. The bay filly is out of Best Reward, by Grand Reward, a half-sister to stakes-placed Avery Glenn.

    Hip No. 616, a son of Mor Spirit consigned by Beth Bayer, Agent, went to Donato Lanni, Agent, for $115,000. The dark bay or brown yearling colt is out of Cat Be Nimble, by Tale of the Cat, from the family of graded stakes-winner Niner’s Home.

    Hip No. 577, a yearling son of Into Mischief consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, was sold to First Finds for $92,000. The bay colt is out of Annabird, by Flower Alley, a half-sister to Gr. I stakes-placed stakes-winner Achiever’s Legacy.

    Dailey Bloodstock LLC paid $67,000 for Hip No. 652, a son of Laoban consigned by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent. The yearling bay colt is out of Double Dinghy Day, by Forestry, a daughter of graded stakes -placed Windsong.

    Hip 673, a yearling son of Army Mule consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, was purchased by Rosewood Stable for $65,000. The dark bay or brown colt is out of Fife, by Souvenir Copy, a daughter of stakes-placed Musical Pal.

    Hip No. 647, another yearling son of Army Mule consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent, was sold for $60,000 to First Finds. The chestnut colt is out of Dial the Doctor, by Dialed In, from the family of champion Unbridled.

    For the Open session, 231 horses sold for a total of $2,054,800 compared with 199 horses bringing $1,648,900 in 2020. The average price was $8,895 compared with $8,286 last year, while the median price was $3,500 compared with $5,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 21.4%; it was 24.9% in 2020.

    For the Consignor Preferred session, 101 horses sold for a total of $1,935,300, compared with 85 horses grossing $1,912,300 in 2020. The average price was $19,161 compared with $22,498 a year ago, while the median price was $10,100 compared with $13,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 28.8%; it was 37.9% last year.


    For the Horses of Racing Age session, 74 horses grossed $1,696,500 compared with 70 selling for a total of $1,366,900 in 2020. The average was $22,926, up from $19,527 a year ago, while the median price was $13,000 compared to $11,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 10.8%; it was 26.4% in 2020.

    For the entire Winter Mixed Sale, 406 horses sold for $5,686,600, compared to 354 horses bringing $4,928,100 last year. The average was $14,006, up from $13,921 in 2020 while the median price was $6,000, compared with $7,500 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 21.7%; it was 19.4% in 2020.

    Next on the OBS agenda is the March Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training, scheduled for March 16 – 17. The Under Tack Show is set for March 11 – 13, beginning each morning at 8:00 a.m.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posts change Feb. 3 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $150,000 Thursday at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved today following Sunday’s mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $16,001. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $3,049 heading into Thursday’s card.

Post-Time Changes Scheduled 

    Beginning Wednesday Feb. 3, first-race post time for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be 1:10 p.m. Post time will be 12:10 p.m. on Saturdays and 12:40 p.m. on Sunday.

WHO’S HOT: Junior Alvarado rode a pair of winners, scoring aboard Gege Conquest ($8.20) in Race 3 and Meade ($23.60) in Race 8. Irad Ortiz Jr. also doubled, tallying aboard Irish Honor ($8.80) in Race 6 and Eight Seven North ($17.80) in Race 10.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Live Oak led Florida breeders in 2020 . . .

(1) Thanks to Wire-to-Wire magazine, we have the final statistical updates for 2020 as pertains to Florida-breds and Florida breeders.

    Live Oak Stud was No. 1 on the breeders' list with earnings of $2,497,134. Charlotte Weber's perennial leaders made 301 starts, with 57 victories, mainly via stallions based in Kentucky. The Cohens' Arindel Farm was second with earnings of $2,183,500, mostly due to the great success of their own stallion Brethren, who came back to the farm a few years ago after a highly successful start at Pleasant Acres. Arindel had the most winners by far - 98.

    Ocala Stud products made 290 starts, had 60 winners' circle visits, and compiled $1,749,463 in earnings. Farm III Enterprises was fourth with 363 starts, 60 winners and $1,504,051 in earnings.

    Brent and Crystal Fernung, at Journeyman Stud, were fifth with earnings of $1,327,462, much of that due to their sensational sire, Khozan, who has walked away with two titles in two years, leading freshman sire in 2019 and overall leading sire in 2020. He is already way in front after just four weeks of this year.  

    In sixth place were Joe and Helen Barbazon, owners of Pleasant Acres, with $1,219,882 in earnings and a second-best 67 victories. 

    Although there was no chart relating to breeders' awards, Arindel, Ocala Stud, the Fernungs and the Barbazons all fared well in that department. 

 (2) Speaking of Khozan, the son of Distorted Humor has just two crops racing, but he could very well be on his way to setting Florida records - assuming he remains at Journeyman Stud. So many stallions who began their careers with great success in Florida have been sent to Kentucky, the most recent pair being Kantharos and Congrats - although it all started with Mr. Prospector. 

    Just four weeks into 2021, Khozan has reached $5.1 million in progeny earnings.

    (3) The parade of runners who have continued to anger serious handicappers by having a major odds drop soon after the gates open, has not abated. One of the latest is Elliereeseaston, an oddly-named 3-year-old filly by Bahamian Squall who made her debut for owner/breeder Troy Lange at Gulfstream Park in December and finished fourth, beaten 13 1/2 lengths. 

    On Jan. 14, making her second start, she walked up to the gate with rider Tyler Gaffalione at 7/2 on the tote board, and not long after the race began, her odds dropped to 6/5. Elliereeseaston was an easy winner, scoring by three lengths in 1:12.75 for six furlongs - and she was claimed for $16,000. Did somebody know something?????  

(4) While previewing the entrants for the Pegasus World Cup and discussing Gaffalione's background, NBC posted a picture of Tyler's father, Steve, and his late grandfather, Robert, both successful riders. The caption below the picture from many years ago read "Steve and Bobby Gaffalione."

    Just one problem. Tyler's grandpa was rarely called Bobby, he was Robert or Bob. Second, his name was Gaffglione, not Gaffalione. Grandpa explained to me back in the 70's that when Steve was born, a nurse in the hospital mistook the "g" for an "a" and it ended up Gaffalione on the birth certificate, never to be changed. (Chalk that one up to old-timers who don't have to rely on today's media for news about the events of yesteryear). 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021
First day sales total exceeds $3.5 million . . .

    Hip No. 368, Bear Brian, consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent for Stonestreet Stables LLC, went to Kerri Raven for $150,000 to top the Horses of Racing Age section on the first day of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Winter Mixed Sale. The 3-year-old bay colt by Tiznow, who captured a maiden special at Sam Houston Race Park on Jan. 9, is out of stakes-winner Lil Super Bear, by Super Saver.

   Hip No. 182, a son of Practical Joke also consigned by Summerfield, was purchased by Ronald Clark Shepherd for $130,000 to top the Consignor Preferred Session.  The bay yearling colt is out of Mobeautiful, by Uncle Mo, from the family of graded stakes-winner Speed Dialer.


    Hip No. 321, Polterer, a 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper, went to Danny W. Brown for $110,000. Consigned by Kaizen Sales (Richard Kent), Agent, the chestnut colt is out of graded stakes-winner Honey Hughes, by Henny Hughes.

    J. Stable LLC paid $100,000 for Hip No. 360, Pledge, a 3-year-old filly by Candy Ride consigned by Six K’s Training & Sales, Agent. A 6-1/2 length winner of a maiden special at Turfway Park on Jan. 2, she’s a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Hello Don Julio out of Faithful, by Vindication.

    Hip No. 25, a daughter of Mendelssohn consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent, was sold to Democracy Bloodstock for $95,000. The dark bay or brown yearling filly is out of stakes-placed Simply Confection, by Candy Ride (ARG), from the family of champion Ashado.

    Hip No. 117, a daughter of Malibu Moon consigned by Kerri Szegi, Agent, went to Windylea Farm – NY LLC for $95,000. The bay yearling filly is out of graded stakes-placed Fortunia, by Leroidesanimaux (BRZ), a half-sister to Gr. I stakes- winner Dionisia.

    Hip No. 315, a son of Distorted Humor consigned by Oscar Brown Stables, was sold to Kerri Raven for $90,000. The 3-year-old bay colt, whose three eighths in :32 2/5 was co-fastest at the distance at the Under Tack Show, is out of graded stakes- placed Goldstryke Glory, by Second in Command.

    Hip No. 289, Street Ruckus, also consigned by Kaizen, was sold to Holly & David Wilson & Peernboom – Bowyer, LLC for $85,000. The dark bay or brown 3-year-old colt by Street Boss, a half-brother to Gr. I stakes-placed Sir Sahib, is out of Xs Belle, by Dynaformer.

    Hip No. 307, Waltzing Champ, by Ghoszapper, went to Al & Bill Ulwelling for $85,000. The 4-year-old chestnut gelding, consigned by Kaizen Sales (Richard Kent), Agent, is out of First Waltz, by Medaglia d’Oro, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Spring Waltz.

    Hip No. 338, Brother Brody, consigned by L. G. Agent, was sold to Emerald Sales, Agent for Michael Eiserman, for $80,000. The 3-year-old dark bay or brown colt by Brody’s Cause, who breezed three eighths in :32 3/5 at the Under Tack Show, is out of Mesa Mist, by Sky Mesa, from the family of graded stakes-placed Logan’s Mist.

    DKW Racing paid $67,000 for Hip No. 90, a daughter of Hard Spun consigned by C & S Thoroughbred Sales, Agent. The dark bay or brown yearling filly is out of Cleo, by Pioneerof the Nile, a half-sister to graded stakes- winner Prospective Saint.

    Hip No. 63, a daughter of Twirling Candy consigned by Pelican StatThoroughbreds, Agent, was sold for $65,000 to Al & Bill Ulwelling. The bay yearling filly is out of American Kitty, by Tale of the Cat, a half-sister to stakes- placed American Diva.

    For the Consignor Preferred session, 98 horses sold for $1,893,300, compared with 85 horses grossing $1,912,300 in 2020. The average price was $19,319 compared with $22,498 a year ago, while the median price was $10,050 compared with $13,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 30.9%; it was 37.9% last year.

    For the Horses of Racing Age session, 73 horses grossed $1,676,500 compared with 70 selling for $1,366,900 in 2020. The average was $22,966, up from $19,527 a year ago, while the median price was $13,000 compared to $11,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 12%; it was 11.4% in 2020.

Sunday, January 24, 2021
Pool more than $2.3 million . . .

  HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park’s mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 had multiple winning tickets each worth $12,558.

    The Rainbow 6 had a carryover of $266,566 going in and there was $2,077,971 of new money wagered in the pool.


    There will be a $100,000 guaranteed pool in the Rainbow 6 when racing resumes Wednesday as well as a Super Hi-5 carryover of $6,357.54.

MAIDEN FILLIES IN SPOTLIGHT

    A trio of maiden races for 3-year-old fillies were highlights on Gulfstream’s  card.

    Gary and Mary West’s Slumber Party, a daughter of Malibu Moon, made an impressive debut, going seven furlongs and winning by 7 ½ lengths in 1:23.05. The filly is trained by Kelly Breen.

    Another  filly breaking her maiden was Joy of Painting, a daughter of Munnings trained by Rusty Arnold, racing on turf for the first time in four starts and covering a mile on a firm course in 1:36.10.

    Tabor Hall, a daughter of Candy Ride trained by Ken McPeek, broke her maiden in her sixth attempt and her first trip over turf. Tabor Hall covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.75 while winning by 1 ½ lengths.

 WHO’S HOT:  Tyler Gaffalione, who had four winners on Pegasus Day, stayed hot with three more today. Gaffalione won aboard Think It Thru ($4.40) in the second, King Ottokar ($6.80) in the sixth and Royal Meghan ($3.20) in the nint
h.

Saturday, January 23, 2021
Son of Paynter has won 4 straight . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 2021 racing season started today the same way last year's ended for Knicks Go at Gulfstream Park, as the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile unleashed another display of sheer brilliance and class to capture the $3 million, Gr. I Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

    The Pegasus, a 1 1/8-mile event for 4-year-olds and up, and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational co-headlined a 12 -race program that included five other graded stakes.

     Brad Cox-trained Knicks Go, who set a Keeneland track record with a front-running performance in the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, showed his heels to 11 rivals while capturing the 5th running of the Pegasus by 2 ¾ lengths.

     “He is one of the top handicap horses in the country now," Cox said. "This is what you get up for every day, seven days a week, long days for moments like this. I’m very proud of the horse and my team and thank the Korea Racing Authority for the opportunity with this horse.”

    Knicks Go broke alertly and rounded the first turn on top, then continued to show the way along the backstretch while pressed briefly by Last Judgment and stalked by Tax. After setting fractions of :22.90 and :46.16 seconds for the first half mile, Knicks Go maintained complete control under a motionless Joel Rosario on the far turn and into the stretch. Under mild encouragement from Rosario, the 5-year-old son of Paynter unleashed a powerful kick at the top of the stretch and drew clear under wraps.

    “He’s a very special horse - he just goes faster and faster,” Rosario said. “He was really enjoying what he was doing out there, so I was never worried about somebody getting close to me.”

    Knicks Go earned $1,740,000 for the victory as he raised his record to 6-3-1 in 18 starts and his career bank account to $3,088,995. He was purchased by owner Korea Racing Authority for $87,000 at the Keeneland yearling sale in 2016. His final time of 1:47.89 is just one second off the track record of 1:46.83 set by Arrogate in this race in 2017.   

    Jesus’ Team, who finished second behind Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, settled behind the pace in fifth along the backstretch before making a wide move into the stretch and closing steadily to finish second under Irad Ortiz Jr.  Independence Hall saved ground in fourth before making a bid in the stretch, falling just a neck short of holding off Jesus’s Team.

     Knicks Go was timed in 1:47.89 while carrying his brilliant speed over 1 1/8 miles. He wasa Gr. 1 winner at 2, but was winless in eight starts in 2019 beforebeing transferred to Cox for the 2020 season. The Maryland-bred speedster won all three starts last year by a combined 21 ½ lengths, all in front-running fashion.

    “It’s a very prestigious race," Cox said. "I know it hasn’t been around that long, but when you look at past winners, it’s a very prestigious list of horses that have won it – world champions, actually, with Gun Runner and Arrogate. They weren’t just national horses. They competed and won on the world stage, so it’s a big race.”











Wednesday, January 20, 2021
12 races, guaranteed pools, set for Pegasus day . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - In addition to being co-headlined by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), Saturday’s 12-race program will feature a variety of all-graded-stakes multi-race wagers.

    The Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12) and Late Pick 5 (Races 8-12), which will both have guaranteed pools of $750,000, as well as the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 7-12), will offer all-graded-stakes sequences, as will all rolling Pick 3s in Races 7-12
.

    The Pegasus Turf (Race 11) and the Pegasus (Race 12) will anchor the sequences for the Late Pick 4 and Pick 5, as well as the Rainbow 6, which will be kicked off with the $125,000 Marshua’s River (G3), a mile turf race for older fillies and mares carded as Race 7. The $125,000 La Prevoyante (G3), a 1 ½-mile turf race for older fillies and mares carded as Race 8, will be the second leg of the Rainbow 6 and kick off the Late Pick 5.

    The $200,000 Inside Information (G2), a seven-furlong race for older fillies and mares carded as Race 9, will start the Late Pick 4 while serving as the third leg of the Rainbow 6 and second leg of the Late Pick 5. The $150,000 W. L. McKnight (G3), a 1 ½-mile turf stakes for older horses carded as Race 10, will be the fourth leg of the Rainbow 6, third leg of the Late Pick 5 and the second leg of the Late Pick 4. The Pegasus Turf and Pegasus will wrap up all three wagers.

    The $125,000 Fred W. Hooper (G3), a mile race for older horses, has been carded as Race 4. Advance wagering on Saturday’s Pegasus Day program will be available Friday.

Rainbow 6 Hit for $636,311, Mandatory Payout Sunday  

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was hit today for $636,311 on the day when post positions were drawn for Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. Thursday’s Rainbow 6 sequence, with a guaranteed pool of $100,000, will span Races 5-10.

WHO’S HOT:  Junior Alvarado notched a three-win day today, scoring aboard Mary of Scotland ($17.60) in Race 2, Sososubtle ($38.80) in Race 4, and Celestial Cheetah ($12.20) in Race 6.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Richest U. S. Purse Outside of Breeders' Cup . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go is scheduled to seek the biggest payday of his career in Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational at Gulfstream Park while also pursuing lucrative future considerations.

    “It’s a very prestigious race. It hasn’t been around that long, but with the likes of Gun Runner, Arrogate and City of Light, there are champions that have won this race. It means a whole lot. It’s a race that can make a stallion, and we’re still trying to do that with Knicks Go,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He’ll be a stallion at some point. This would mean a lot and do a lot for his value as a stallion. Not only is it a great purse, but it’s going to add a lot of value if he’s able to win the race.”

    The Pegasus, which will be contested at 1 1/8 miles for the richest purse for older horses in North America not associated with the Breeders’ Cup, and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), a 1 3/16-mile turf feature for older horses, will co-headline a 12-race program that will also offer the $200,000 Inside Information (G2), $125.000 Fred W. Hooper (G3), $125,000 William. L. McKnight (G3), $125,000 La Prevoyante (G3) and the $125,000 Marsha’s River (G3). First-race post time is set for 11:40 a.m. Advance wagering on the Pegasus program will be available on Friday. The late Pick 4 and Late Pick 5 pools will both be guaranteed at $750,000.

    Knicks Go will enter the fifth running of the Pegasus off three straight victories in as many starts in 2020, including a track record-breaking triumph under Joel Rosario in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt (G2) at Keeneland. Installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field of 12 after drawing Post. No. 4 Wednesday, Knicks Go will have to prove himself by trying to carry his abundant speed beyond 1 1/16-miles, the longest distance he has run during his 17-race career. 

     “I haven’t raced a lot at Gulfstream, but I think speed is always a good thing there. I’m a big believer that speed is good at a mile and an eighth and beyond - obviously it depends on how much other speed is in the race. But I think he can get it. I think he’s a horse that once he gets free and loose, he runs with a lot of confidence,” Cox said. “I’m excited. I really do think he’ll handle a mile and an eighth. In his three races with us last year, there was horse left. In the Breeders’ Cup, Joel reached up and grabbed him four or five jumps from the wire, so he was still going.”

    Knicks Go is in the middle of a career resurgence since joining Cox’s stable in 2020. The Maryland-bred son of Paynter was a top 2-year-old in 2018, capturing the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland by 5 ½ lengths and finishing second behind Game Winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs. However, he went winless in 10 starts after his Breeders’ Futurity score.

     Knicks Go registered a front-running 7 ½-length victory for Cox in a Feb. 22 optional claiming allowance at Oaklawn Park before heading to the sidelines for seven months. He returned to action with a sensational 10 ¼-length romp in a Oct. 4 optional claiming allowance at Keeneland, encouraging his connections to give the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile a try. Knicks Go came through with a spectacular 3 ½-length, front-running victory in the track-record time of 1:33.85. Rosario has been awarded the return call. 

     W. S. Farish’s Code of Honor, a graded-stakes winner over the Gulfstream Park track, was rated second in the morning-line at 9-2 after drawing Post. No. 10. The Shug McGaughey-trained 5-year-old captured the 2019 Fountain of Youth (G2) before finishing third behind Maximum Security in the both the Florida Derby (G1) and the Kentucky Derby (G1). He went on to win the Travers (G1) at Saratoga and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) via the disqualification of Vino Rossi at Belmont Park.

     After winning the June 6 Westchester at Belmont to open his 2021 campaign, Code of Honor has been winless in four starts that include a third-place finish in the Met Mile (G1) at Belmont, a troubled fourth in the Whitney (G1) at Keeneland, a runner-up finish in the Kelso at Belmont, and a second-place finish in the Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs.

     “In the Clark, he was bottled up there. By the time he got loose, the race was pretty much over. Before that, going a mile, Chad’s horse [Complexity] kind of controlled what was going on. I think Javier [Castellano] knew he had to be closer and move a little sooner,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “The Whitney was a throw out. His first race was good. I probably shouldn’t have run him in the Metropolitan Mile. He was wide and Vekoma got the trip. He’s a nice horse. Maybe this will be his day”

    Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride Code of Honor for the first time. “Obviously, he rides this racetrack very well and he’s very familiar with it,” McGaughey said. “He’s a very patient rider and that’s what Code of Honor wants, so I’m pleased to have him.”

    Randy Hill, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Hugh Lynch’s Tax is set to make his second straight start in the Pegasus, in which he finished off the board after stumbling at the start last year. The 5-year-old son of Arch, one of two returning Pegasus entrants, is coming off a dominating 4 ½-length victory in the Dec. 12 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream.

    “He’s better now than he’s ever been. We always knew he was a really good horse. He’s grown and developed into a better horse than he was last year. I think with age he’s getting better and getting stronger, healthier,” Gargan said. “He has a few little issues we had to work through, and he’s gotten through them. I’m expecting a big performance.”

    Luis Saez has the return mount aboard Tax, who drew Post No. 7 and was rated third at 5-1.

    Jim Bakke and Jerry Isbister’s Mr Freeze will seek to improve on a second-place finish behind Mucho Gusto in last year’s Pegasus. The Dale Romans-trained 6-year-old came right back from his big run in the Pegasus with a three-length victory in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2). The son of To Honor and Serve has won one of six subsequent graded-stakes starts, capturing the 1 1/8-mile Fayette (G2) Oct. 10 sat Keeneland before finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and fifth in the Clark.

    Mr Freeze was rated at 15-1 after drawing post No. 11.

    “Mr Freeze has plenty of gas, so he can get out and settle where he needs to be. It’s a pretty fair race going a mile and an eighth here no matter where you draw,” said Romans, who named John Velazquez to ride. “He loves this racetrack.”

    Romans is also scheduled to saddle Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust’s Coastal Defense for the Pegasus. The 5-year-old son of Curlin finished fourth in both the Fayette and Clark in his last two starts and is also rated at 15-1. Corey Lanerie has the mount.

    "He is a grinder, so hopefully he can drop over before the first turn," Romans added.

    Thumbs Up Racing LLC’s Sleepy Eyes Todd, who is rated at 8-1 in the morning line, enters the Pegasus off a half-length victory in the seven-furlong Mr. Prospector Dec. 19 at Gulfstream, but the 5-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado was a front-running winner in the 1 1/8-mile Charles Town Classic (G2) in August.

    “I love the mile and an eighth,” trainer Miguel Silva said. “He already won at that distance and he performed really good at that distance. We’re just hoping that we have a different kind of trip. We don’t want to be on the lead and hopefully we can pick up horses at the end.”

    Jose Ortiz is scheduled to ride Sleepy Eyes Todd for the first time.

    Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Jesus’ Team is rated at 10-1 in the morning-line for the Pegasus on the strength of a pair of Grade 1 placings last year. After winning a $32,000 maiden claiming race at Gulfstream last March, the son of Tapiture went on the road to finish third in the Preakness (G1) and second behind Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The 4-year-old over-achiever returned to Gulfstream to prepare for a start in the Pegasus with a victory in the Claiming Crown Jewel Dec. 5.

    Jesus’ Team is trained by Jose D’Angelo, a former leading trainer in Venezuela before venturing to South Florida in 2019,

    “It’s very exciting. It is the most important race of our calendar in South Florida at Gulfstream Park,” D’Angelo said. “I think it’s a big test for both me and Jesus.” Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Mucho Gusto to victory last year, is scheduled to ride Jesus’ Team for the first time Saturday.

    Trainer Michael McCarthy, who saddled City of Light for a 5 ¾-length romp in the 2019 Pegasus, is scheduled to saddle Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Twin Creek Racing Stables LLC, Robert and Kathleen Verratti’s Independence Hall. The 4-year-old son of Constitution, who finished fifth in last year’s Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream, came off a seven-month layoff to win a Nov. 8 allowance at Del Mar before finishing fifth in the seven-furlong Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita last time out.

    “There are a lot of unknowns with the horse. Can he handle a mile and an eighth? His one race at Gulfstream was just OK,” McCarthy said. “So, there are a lot of unknowns going into this.” Flavien Prat has the call.

    John Sondereker’s Kiss Today Goodbye enters the Pegasus after winning his first stakes in the Dec. 26 San Antonio (G2) at Santa Anita. The Eric Kruljac-trained 4-year-old son of Cairo Prince is rated at 12-1. Mike Smith, who rode Arrogate to victory in the 2018 Pegasus, has the call.

    Harpers First Ride, who has been privately purchased since his last start by GMP Stables LLC, Cypress Creek Equine and Arnold Bennewith, will seek his fifth stakes victory in six starts Saturday. The Claudio Gonzalez-trained 5-year-old son of Paynter will be ridden by regular jockey Angel Cruz.

    John Fanelli and partners’ Math Wizard will seek his first victory since capturing the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby (G1) in the Pegasus. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained 5-year-old son of Algorithms will be ridden by Edgard Zayas.

    Michael Dubb, Steve Hornstock, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Nice Guys Racing’s Last Judgment, who captured the Jan. 16 Sunshine Classic by 6 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Park, drew into the field upon the withdrawal of True Timber. The Michael Maker trainee will be ridden by Paco Lopez.
Monday, January 18, 2021
Ortiz wins five on Sunday card . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Pegasus Week at Gulfstream Park will kick off Wednesday with a guaranteed jackpot pool of $750,000 for the 20-cent Rainbow 6.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the sixth racing day following a Jan. 9 mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $16,505 Sunday.


    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $5,815.

    Entries for next Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will be taken on Wednesday. The post-position draw will be live-streamed at 11:45 a.m. on gulfstreampark.com.


    The Pegasus and Pegasus Turf will be featured on a 12-race program with five supporting stakes, including the $200,000, Gr. II Inside Information, the $125,000, Gr. III Fred W. Hooper, the $150,000, Gr. III W. L. McKnight, the $125,000, Gr. III Marshua’s River and the $125,000 La Prevoyante. First-race post time is set for 11:40 a.m.

    Leading up to Pegasus World Cup Day, there will be a $97,891 carryover for Friday’s Stronach 5 multi-race, multi-track wager.

WHO’S HOT:  Two-time defending Championship Meet titlist Irad Ortiz Jr. rode five winners on Sunday’s program, scoring aboard Templet ($8.40) in Race 3, Snackster ($25) in Race 6, Traffic Pattern ($3.80) in Race 7, and Zanno ($5.60) in Race 9 before capping his big day with a victory aboard Bohemian Boy ($7.40) in Race 12.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
It's also first Tampa stakes score for Ademar Santos . . .
    OLDSMAR - Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Samy Camacho welcomed the chance to ride the Pasco Stakes favorite, 3-year-old colt Nova Rags, for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. But when 16-1 shot Newyearsblockparty took the lead turning for home, Camacho realized translating opportunity to success was no easy bargain.

    “I was a little worried at the three-eighths pole, because (Newyearsblockparty) was going between horses and I had to start working,” Camacho said after posting a 2 ¾-length victory aboard the 13-10 favorite. “But I hit him once at the top of the stretch and he responded, and when he switched leads in the stretch it was ‘Bye.’ ”

    Nova Rags’s performance was one of numerous highlights on a partly sunny, windy Skyway Festival Day afternoon. In the previous race, the 37th running of the $125,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Special Princess staged a whirlwind rally on the outside to forge a dead heat with pace-setter Adios Trippi.

    Both Special Princess and Adios Trippi are Florida-breds, meaning both earned $32,500 through additional money provided by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association. Special Princess, bred and owned by Jim DiMare's J D Farms and trained by Walter Woodard, was ridden by Ademar Santos. The co-winners finished in a time of 1:24.89. Feeling Mischief, the betting favorite, flattened out through the stretch, finishing third.

    All of the winning connections were ecstatic after the Gasparilla, even though a solo victory is always preferable. It marked the first career stakes triumph for Woodard, the first stakes triumph at Tampa Bay Downs for Santos and gave Bahamian Squall, who stands at Double Diamond Farm for Donald Dizney, his first stakes-winner. 

    “This puts me on the map,” Woodard said. “I told everyone before the race they were going to know she was there, and Ademar did a hell of a job. She’s really come into herself and I was very confident coming into the race.”

    Santos was riding Special Princess for the first time, but he’d noticed she had started slowly in her two previous Oldsmar starts and suggested to Woodard they work her from the starting gate a few days before the race to put more speed into her. “She broke a lot better today and got the job done,” Santos said. “I thought we beat her, but it feels good because you don’t have too many chances to ride this kind of horse. I told the pony rider to turn her loose in the post parade and she put her head down and got busy, and I knew she had her mind on business.”

    Woodard and Santos had teamed to win the previous race on the card, the fifth, with 3-year-old claiming filly Peaceful Way, also owned by J D Farms.











Saturday, January 16, 2021
Wins Sunshine Sprint for Yates at $31.60 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Under a well-orchestrated ride by Miguel Vasquez, 14-1 shot Cajun Brother edged defending champion and 3-2 favorite Extravagant Kid by a neck today in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park.

     Cajun Brother paid $31.60 for his first career stakes score. It was a satisfying all-in-the-family victory for trainer-owner Michael Yates, who also bred the 4-year-old gelding at his Shadybrook Farm. Yates trained and co-owns the sire Cajun Breeze and earned $70,105, which includes a $25,000 bonus for Florida Sire Stakes-eligible horses. 

     “It just looked like a place to go with him,” Yates said. “I’ve always felt he’s this caliber.” Cajun Brother is now 4-0-1 in eight starts with earnings of $163,005. 

     Cajun Brother ventured out of Florida for the first time in November and ended up a well-beaten sixth in the Perryville Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup weekend program at Keeneland. Following an encouraging performance in his most recent start on Dec. 13 at Gulfstream, Yates decided to try the Sunshine Millions Sprint.

     “We bit off little more than we could chew shipping to Kentucky,” Yates said. “His last race he ran a good race, a beaten third, but not far. He just progressed and trained well since. It was just the next step.”


     Breaking toward the outside in the eight-horse field, Vazquez was able to put Cajun Breeze in a contending inside position right behind early leader Inter Miami, who got the first quarter in :22:32 seconds. Extravagant Kid, an 8-year-old with eight stakes victories surged into the lead along the rail on the turn. Meanwhile, Vazquez and Cajun Brother settled in the fourth spot, a couple of lengths off the pace through a half-mile in :45.69.

     Extravagant Kid entered the stretch with a comfortable 1 ½-length lead, but Vazquez had already moved his horse three wide and had him poised to make a run. Cajun Brother caught and passed Extravagant Kid inside the sixteenth pole and finished the six furlongs in 1:10.97. With Verve was third.

    Cajun Brother is from the first crop of horses sired by Cajun Breeze, who was second in the 2012 Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint for Yates. The son of Congrats stands at co-owner Gilbert Campbell's Stonehedge Farm in Williston for a private fee and has done well for Campbell, too, especially in the Florida Sire Stakes with Breeze On By, winner of the 2020 Dr. Fager and Affirmed, and second in the In Reality, and the stallion's leading earner with $303,000.

    ”He’s throwing runners,” Yates said. “He’s a horse a man can make a living with. He throws a good athletic horse and they’re just runners. They’re nice horses."
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Multiple GSW pointing Gr. III Honey Fox . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple Grade 1-stakes winner Got Stormy is being pointed to the $125,000, Gr. III Honey Fox Feb. 27 at Gulfstream Park after breezing ‘extremely well’ at trainer Mark Casse’s training center in Ocala Wednesday morning.

    The 6-year-old daughter of Get Stormy breezed a half-mile in 48.40 seconds while tuning up for her scheduled 2021 debut in the mile turf stakes on the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth undercard.

    “I’m going to move her to Palm Meadows soon so she can start breezing over the turf,” Casse said.

    Got Stormy, who broke her maiden over the Gulfstream turf course on Feb. 25, 2018, beat the boys in the 2019 Gr. I Fourstardave at Saratoga and went on to win the 2019 Gr. I Matriarch at Del Mar.

    Last season, Got Stormy won the Gr. III Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint and the Gr. III Franklin County at Keeneland back-to-back before completing her 2021 campaign with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

    Got Stormy, who formerly campaigned for Gary Barber, was sold for $2,750,000 to Spendthrift Farm at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale in November.

    “She went through the sale," Casse said. "She has a new owner – Spendthrift bought her. We brought her to Ocala, as we always do. She had time off. She’s ready. She gets so excited when she starts training and she worked extremely well this morning."

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed: The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $300,000 today. The  multi-race wager went unsolved for the second racing day following Saturday’s mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $11,760 Wednesday.

WHO’S HOT:  Corey Lanerie made three visits to the winner’s circle after scoring aboard Fuego Caliente ($32) in Race 1, Ludington ($10) in Race 3 and Bimini ($8.40) in Race 4. Trainer Peter Walder saddled Ludington and Bimini.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Ultimate 6 hit for $113,641 . . .
    OLDSMAR - When they discussed the Lambholm South Race of the Week Saturday morning, trainer Michael Trombetta instructed jockey Daniel Centeno to try to break sharply aboard the speedy 3-year-old colt Arzak and hustle him to the lead.

    “I told him I thought he would find himself on the lead, because he has sprinter’s speed,” Trombetta said from Maryland, where he won two races at Laurel. “But that all went out the window as soon as the doors opened.”

    However, Centeno said he wasn’t overly concerned when Arzak broke tardily from the outside, forcing the rider to play catch-up in the 1-mile allowance/optional claiming turf event.

    “I was surprised he broke a little slow, but I think that helped me,” Centeno said after Arzak rolled to a 3 ¼-length victory on the turf in a time of 1:36.02. “Coming from sprinting to going two turns for the first time, he relaxed pretty well. On the backside, he was dragging me all the way, and when I asked him at the quarter pole he responded really well and finished strong. He is an easy horse to ride and it worked out perfect."

    Joe Man Joe finished second and Major Frontier was third in the eight-horse field.

BIG SCORE: The 20-cent Ultimate 6 was hit for $113,641, with a lone bettor correctly selecting all six winners of races 5-through-10. The numbers were 7-9-3-9-8-9. Everyone else starts anew today.

    Arzak’s victory was his second in three career starts. The son of Not This Time-Delightful Melody, by Tapit, was purchased by Marc Tacher’s Sonata Stable at the 2020 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring Sale of 2-year-olds for $575,000.

    After Arzak finished off the board in his career debut on Oct. 7 sprinting on the main track at Delaware, he won going wire-to-wire in a 12-horse field on Nov. 8, sprinting 6 furlongs in 1:09.84 on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Woodbine.

    “He didn’t run well on the dirt, and that’s why we went all the way to Woodbine with him,” Trombetta said. “The big questions today were how far he would go and if he would like the turf, and he sure seemed to. We might look at training him up to the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream” (on the grass on Feb. 27).

    Being able to handle the turf and winning for fun while going around two turns for the first time are signs that racing fans will be hearing from Arzak on even bigger stages down the line.

AROUNDTHE OVAL: Count trainer Monica McGoey among those folks glad the calendar has turned to 2021. She has won with four of her five starters this month, with Clarist’s maiden-breaking victory in the seventh race giving the conditioner her third consecutive victory. The 4-year-old Florida-bred filly is owned by Jose Rosales and was ridden by Manny Jimenez.



 

 
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Gaffalione wins 3, including Tropical Turf . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Winning tickets on Gulfstream Park’s mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 today were each worth $14,626. There was $5,353,843 of new money bet into the pool.

    The Rainbow 6 begins anew Sunday with a $100,000 guaranteed pool beginning with the sixth race, an allowance optional claiming event at 1 1/16 miles on the turf featuring a field of six. The first race in the sequence is followed by a maiden special weight event at five furlongs on the turf for 3-year-old fillies. There were four turf races in today’s Rainbow 6.

  There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover Sunday of $8,740.

WHO’S HOT: Tyler Gaffalione rode three winners for the afternoon, capping the day with his victory aboard Ride a Comet in the Gr. III Tropical Turf.  Gaffalione also won the third race with Shadwell Stable’s first-time starter, Lamutanaatty, a 3-year-old son of Into Mischief, and the allowance optional claimer fourth race with Bluegrass Parkway.

    Trainer Bill Mott had a pair of 3-year-olds break their maidens. Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s Candy Man Rocket, a son of Candy Ride making his second start, ran away from eight others to win over six furlongs by 9 ¼ lengths in 1:11.28. Donald Dizney’s homebred Simovitch won going a mile by 3 ½ lengths while covering the distance in 1:39.04.

Friday, January 8, 2021
Entries to be taken for Jan. 15 . . .
    BERKELEY, CA - “1/ST RACING has announced that Golden Gate Fields will resume live racing on Friday, Jan. 15. After extensive testing in collaboration with the Berkeley Public Health Division, it has been determined that the COVID-19 concerns on the campus have decreased to levels to allow the resumption of live racing.

    Golden Gate Fields is indebted to both the Berkeley Public Health Division and the Alameda County Public Health Department for their assistance and advice during the period of temporary closure.


    As the Golden Gate Fields Racing Office remains closed for in-person business, entries will be taken via telephone for racing on Friday, Jan. 15 on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

    "As part of the continued COVID-19 safety protocols in place at Golden Gate Fields, we are unable to allow owners to attend training or live racing as we begin this meet. We will continue to monitor this situation and will update the Thoroughbred Owners of California of any changes to this policy.”
Friday, January 8, 2021
Stronach 5 spans three tracks . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.5 million today at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 12th racing day Thursday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $9,895
.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $17,997.

    A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool is scheduled for Saturday.

Stronach 5 Has Two on the Turf from Gulfstream:

    Today’s Stronach 5 features races from Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Gulfstream Park and an industry-low 12-percent takeout.

    The featured races from Gulfstream will be races nine and 10, both on the Gulfstream turf. Analysts and hosts from Laurel, Santa Anita and Gulfstream have come up with a $108 Stronach 5 ticket.

    All-Star Ticket: https://www.xbtv.com/video/stronach-5/stronach-5-all-star-ticket-for-january-8th-2021/  

WHO’S HOT: Edgard Zayas continued his breakthrough Championship Meet Thursday with two trips to the winner’s circle, scoring aboard Tonalism ($4) in Race 3 and Ninja Dust ($26.40) in Race 5.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Nevada resident wins $1,000 in 10 Days of Festivus . . .
    OLDSMAR - The first time Frank Mazur came to Tampa Bay Downs – 57 or 58 years ago, when the track was called Sunshine Park – he made money. He took numerous vacations to the area over the years to escape the Chicago winters, and developed an enduring affection for everything the oval had to offer.

    “It felt like a home away from home. How do you explain something like that. … it was like I belonged there,” he said. “Everybody was real friendly, and I always felt comfortable there.”

    Mazur’s passion over the decades was duly rewarded when he won the track-sponsored “10 Days of Festivus” Online Handicapping Contest, finishing with a final bankroll amount of $113.30. His selection of Whispering Rose proved the difference when the (then)-3-year-old filly won the fourth race on Christmas Eve by a head, paying $8.60, $5.40 and $3.

    Before settling on Whispering Rose, he asked two friends for their input, and both told him to choose her. The victory enabled Mazur, an 81-year-old retiree now living in Henderson, Nevada with his wife Dana and son David, to edge contest runner-up Bob Diver of Niagara on the Lake in Ontario by $3.50.

    Mazur collected $1,000 for the victory and Diver won $500. They topped a field of more than 700 handicappers who competed in the event.

    “It’s a hard contest to win, and if you’re a horse player, it’s a great accomplishment,” said Mazur, who never had to use a lifeline since each of his picks finished in the money over the 10 days of the contest.

    “The racing at Tampa was very formful during that period, and I think a lot of people got eliminated going for long shots," Mazur said. "Obviously there is an element of luck involved, but for whatever reason things fell into place. There were two or three times I had to make a hard decision between horses, and I guessed right.

    Mazur looks at class and speed when handicapping and doesn’t pay much attention to the jockeys. “”When the horses start riding the jockeys and trainers, I’ll pay more attention to that. The only thing you want from the jockey is not to fall off,” he said.

    Mazur, who has entered “eight or 10” handicapping contests at Tampa Bay Downs, said it remains his favorite simulcast signal. “I’d say 90 percent of the bets I make are on Tampa. I hold my own,” he said. “My losses would be very minor, and the entertainment value would be way ahead.”

    And the memories? They are priceless.

AROUND THE OVAL - The Goddess Lyssa put on quite a show yesterday in her first start as a 4-year-old, scooting to the lead at the break in the second race and romping to a 10-length victory under jockey Daniel Centeno in 1:09.33 for 6 furlongs, .66 seconds off the track record. The race was a conditional allowance/optional claiming contest for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward.

    Bred at Journeyman Stud by Brent and Crystal Fernung, The Goddess Lyssa is owned by Team Equistaff and trained by Gerald Bennett. She improved to 4-for-6, having finished third on Dec. 12 in the FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes.

    Centeno rode another filly who appears to have a big upside, 3-year-old Oyster Box. She had little problem dispatching of four others in the fifth race, an allowance/optional claiming race at a mile on the turf. Centeno found an opening at the top of the stretch and Oyster Box rolled right through, winning by 2 ½ lengths from Funwhileitlasted in a time of 1:36.75.

    Oyster Box, a daughter of Tapit out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Dynaformer mare Starformer, is 2-for-2 for owner Gainesway Stable and trainer H. Graham Motion.











Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Journeyman stallion's progeny earnings just short of $3.5 million . . .

    After dominating Florida's freshman sire list for 2019, Journeyman Stud's Khozan came right back and made it no contest on the state's general sire list of 2020

    The son of Distorted Humor racked up progeny earnings of $3,496,717 in a year marked by less racing days, less races, and diminished purses. Arindel Farm's Brethren was a distant second with $2,250,607, still impressive because a large majority of his runners are home-breds. 

    Third on the list is Double Diamond Farm's consistent First Dude with $2,178,255, more than $300,000 ahead of Ocala Stud Farm's Adios Charlie ($1,847,153).

    There are 12 stallions who reached earnings of more than $1 million, three of them from Ocala Stud. Pleasant Acres Stallions is next with two, and Arindel, Journeyman, Double Diamond and Northwest Stud have one each. The other three in the top 12 are Big Drama, who has no doubt set some kind of record with respect to the number of Marion County farms at which he has resided, Soldat, who is merely listed in the Blood-Horse as 'moved,' and Field Commission, who performed so respectably for Solera Farm despite a lesser number of foals, and who died recently. 

    Having to go up against the monsters in Kentucky, along with their bands of regally-bred broodmares, only four of Florida's stallions were able to get a graded stakes-winner: Brethren, Adios Charlie, Pleasant Acres' dual hemisphere ace Treasure Beach and Solera's 22-year-old Greatness. 

    Brethren's Cookie Dough won the Gr. III Royal Delta Stakes at Gulfstream Park, while Adios Charlie is the sire of the phenomenal Jean Elizabeth, who won the Gr. III Whimsical at Woodbine. She has captured her last eight in a row dating back to September 21 of 2019, amid a perfect in-the-money career record of 15-4-2 in 21 starts, with earnings of $662,786.

    Treasure Beach can boast of Raymundo's Secret, winner of five of eight career starts with earnings of $200,971, and best in the Gr. II John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar. However, he has a slew of Gr. I stakes-winners in Argentina.

    Lady's Island, by Greatness, won the Gr. III Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream less than one month ago and is an incredible 17-5-4 in 34 starts with earnings of $604,195. In 2020 alone, she went 4-2-1 in eight tries.

    On the winners' side, First Dude was easily best from start to finish, and wound up with 64 runners who made it to the winners' circle at least one time. Brethren was second with 53, one ahead of Khozan. Adios Charlie was next with 51, and Northwest Stud's Gone Astray fifth with 44 even though he is severely handicapped by no longer making it into any of the stallion registers. 

    There were only two real members of the freshman class, and Ocala Stud's Jess's Dream defeated Pleasant Acres' Ride On Curlin, 7 to 3. There will be several more on the list for 2021.  

          

       

    

    

Monday, January 4, 2021
12 Gr. I and Gr. II winners on list . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Bob Baffert-trained Mucho Gusto and Charlatan are among a dozen Gr. 1 and Gr. II winners on a list of 16 horses invited to the $3 million, Gr. I Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park.

    The fifth running of the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, won previously by Longines World’s Best Racehorse Arrogate (2017), Horse of the Year Gun Runner (2018), Breeders’ Cup Mile winner City of Light and Mucho Gusto (2020), will be run Saturday, Jan. 23 along with the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).

    Limited seating is available and tickets can be purchased at Pegasusworldcup.com.

    The Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf will be part of an extraordinary program featuring seven graded stakes, four contested on the turf

     The 12 horses given first preference for the Pegasus World Cup were (in alphabetical order):
 L. McKnight (G3), $125,000 Marshua’s River (G3), $125,000 La Prevoyante (G3) and $125,000 Fred Hooper (G3).
?   Charlatan – Owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Frederick Hertrich III, John Fielding, Golconda Stables. Trained by Bob Baffert


?   Code of Honor – Owned by W.S. Farish. Trained by Shug McGaughey

?   Harpers First Ride – Owned by MCA Racing Stable LLC. Trained by Claudio Gonzalez


?   Jesus’ Team – Owned by Grupo 7C Racing Stable. Trained by Jose D’Angelo

?   Kiss Today Goodbye – Owned by John Sondereker. Trained by J. Eric Kruljac


?   Knicks Go – Owned by Korea Racing Authority. Trained by Brad Cox

?   Mr Freeze – Owned by Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister. Trained by Dale Romans

?   Mucho Gusto – Owned by HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled. Trained by Bob Baffert


?   Sharp Samurai – Owned by Red Baron’s Barn LLC, Rancho Temescal LLC, Mark Glatt. Trained by Mark Glatt

?   Sleepy Eyes Todd – Owned by Thumbs Up Racing, LLC. Trained by Miguel Angel Silva


?   Tax – Owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch. Trained by Danny Gargan

?   True Timber – Owned by Calumet Farm. Trained by Jack Sisterson.


 

            The also eligibles are (in order of preference)

?   Anothertwistafate – Owned by Peter Redekop B.C., Ltd. Trained by Peter Miller

?   Math Wizard – Owned by John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash is King LLC, LC Racing LLC, Collarmele Vitelli Stables LLC, Ioannis, Zouas, Bassett Stables. Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr.


?   King Guillermo – Owned by Victoria’s Ranch. Trained by Juan Carlos Avila

?   Idol – Owned by Calvin Nguyen. Trained by Richard Baltas


     Baffert, who won the Pegasus last year with Mucho Gusto and the inaugural running with Arrogate, has two chances for a hat trick with his defending champion and Charlatan.

    After his victory in the Pegasus last year Mucho Gusto finished fourth Feb. 29 in the Saudi Cup before Baffert gave the 5-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man time off. He returned Dec. 26 to finish fourth of six in the San Antonio (G2).

    Charlatan was regarded as one of the country’s top 3-year-olds after his performance in the May 2 Arkansas Derby (G1) but he was sidelined with an ankle injury before returning off a seven-month layoff to win the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita.

    Multiple Grade 1 winner Knicks Go enters the Pegasus off three consecutive victories since being moved to the stable of Brad Cox.  The 5-year-old Maryland-bred son of Paynter was an impressive winner last time out of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

    Jesus’ Team, second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and beaten less than a length by Knicks Go, sold for $30,000 as a yearling and has earned $508,940. The Jose D’Angelo-trained 4-year-old finished third in the Preakness (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2) last year.

    Sharp Samurai was beaten a nose by Jesus’ Team for the place in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The 7-year-old gelding, based at Santa Anita with trainer Mark Glatt, was second last year in the Pacific Classic (G1), Eddie Read (G2) and City of Hope (G2). His last victory was the 2018 City of Hope. Sharp Samurai is also on the invitation list for the Pegasus Turf.

    W.S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor will be making his 13th consecutive start in a graded race, his ninth in a Grade 1 event. Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Code of Honor was placed second in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) and went on to win the Travers (G1) and Jockey Club (G1). Code of Honor’s 4-year-old season included a victory in the Westchester (G3) and second-place finishes in the Clark (G1) and Kelso (G2).

    Tax, claimed for $50,000 out of his second career start by trainer Danny Gargan for co-owner Hugh Lynch, will run in his second consecutive Pegasus. The 5-year-old, an impressive winner of the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Dec. 12 off a seven-month layoff, was fourth in the 2019 Belmont (G1) and won that year’s Jim Dandy (G2). The son of Arch finished ninth in last year’s Pegasus after stumbling at the start.

    Mr Freeze finished second in last year’s Pegasus World Cup, 4 ½ lengths behind winner Mucho Gusto. Trained by Dale Romans, Mr Freeze went on to win the Fayette Stakes (G2) before wide trips resulted in a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and fifth-place finish in the Clark last time out.

            Calumet Farm is hoping the third time is the charm for True Timber. Seventh in the 2019 edition of the Pegasus and eighth last year, the 7-year-old enters this year’s $3 million edition off a popular victory in the Cigar Mile (G1) Dec. 5 at Aqueduct. It was his first win in 13 starts, since September of 2018.

     Sleepy Eyes Todd won the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park Dec. 19. The 5-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado, who won the Charles Town Classic (G2) in August, has been a model of consistency, winning eight of 15 races while racing at 11 different tracks for trainer Miguel Angel Silva. 

            John Sondereker’s Kiss Today Goodbye, a lightly-raced 4-year-old, upset Mucho Gusto and four others Dec. 26 in the Malibu when he closed from last. Trained by J. Eric Kruljak, Kiss Today Goodbye had finished fifth in the Del Mar Derby (G2) and fourth in the Twilight Derby (G2) earlier in the year.

    Harpers First Ride, a 5-year-old Maryland-bred, enters the Pegasus having won four of his last five starts including a victory in the Pimlico Special (G3). Maryland’s perennial leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez will saddle the son of Paynter.

            Anothertwistafate, winner of the Jan. 2 San Gabriel (G2) at Santa Anita and Sept. 10 Longacres Mile (G3), is No. 1 on the also eligible list. The son of Scat Daddy is also on the invitation list for the Pegasus Turf. Locally-based Math Wizard, a Grade 1 winner who finished second last summer to Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) show finisher Global Campaign in the Monmouth Cup, is second on the AE list while King Guillermo, owned by former Major League Baseball all-star Victor Martinez, and Idol, second in the San Antonio, round out the list.
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Potential for $20,000 in prize money . . .
    OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs will turn into a proving ground for top handicappers on Saturday, Jan. 9 at the third annual High Rollers Handicapping Contest, which features a potential first-place prize of $20,000.

    The contest is open to anyone willing to put up a $1,000 stake to compete (participants may bankroll up to two entries). Each entry requires a $1,000 deposit, of which $500 serves as the player’s wagering bankroll and $500 goes to the prize pool. Any dollar amount remaining in a player’s bankroll at the conclusion of the contest goes directly to them, 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 each of 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. 9 will be included in the contest, and players must wager at the contest site. The first and second-place finishers will claim a seat in either of the next two National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championships in Las Vegas (this year’s event is currently scheduled for Aug. 27-29 at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino).

    Players can enter online the High Rollers Handicapping Contest at www.tampabaydowns.com . The entry deadline is noon on Jan. 9; players should plan on meeting in the VIP Room before noon for final instructions. For additional details, call (813) 855-4401, extension 1368.
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Friday winners received $5,195 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.1 million today at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the eighth racing day Friday, and multiple tickets with all six winners were worth $5,195.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 6-11, highlighted by the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man in Race 10. The one-mile stakes for 3-year-olds is the first stop on the 2021 Road to the Florida Derby.

    The Mucho Macho Man will be accompanied in the sequence by the $75,000 Limehouse in Race 7 and the $75,000 Ginger Brew in Race 9.

WHO’S HOT: No one is hotter than Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode five winners on Friday’s program and swept the three stakes. He won the $75,000 Janus aboard Imprimis ($3.60), the $75,000 Cash Run aboard Gulf Coast ($6.40), and the $75,000 Abundantia with Hear My Prayer ($21). Ortiz also won aboard Lionessofbrittany ($13.20) in the sixth race and first-time starter Luann ($3.80) in the fifth.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
First Laurel crown since 2015 . . .
     LAUREL, MD – Jockey Sheldon Russell, returning from a four-day absence, won with two of his first three mounts on today’s New Year’s Eve program at Laurel Park to clinch the 2020 fall meet riding title.

    Russell, 33, entered the day leading Jevian Toledo, 42-39, before winning with Dr. Ferber ($9.20) in Race 2 and Fast Cash ($6.40) in Race 4 to seal his eighth career riding title in Maryland and first since Laurel’s 2015 winter stand.

    Both Russell and Toledo are represented by agent Marty Leonard. Toledo had won with 10 of his previous 23 mounts (43 percent) to close the gap and make it a tight race. But he wound up winless in five races today.

    “It’s been a while since I won a title, but I’m just very happy. It’s nice to look back and come back from all the injuries and have the support that I do from some of the top trainers here,” Russell said. “To win a meet title means a lot. Thanks to my agent, who does a fantastic job, and thanks to my competitors in the room because it keeps you going. I ride with some good guys in the room and we’re all friendly in there. Unfortunately I had to have a few days off and I was a bit worried there because [Toledo] was on a roll but luckily we had a good enough cushion to keep it going.”

    Maryland’s leading rider of 2011, Russell also won Laurel’s fall meet in 2008 and 2011 as well as Laurel’s 2011, 2012 and 2015 winter stands. He topped the spring meet standings at Pimlico Race Course in 2011 and 2013.

    Russell registered 11 multi-win days during the fall meet including three-win days on Dec. 6 and 11 and a four-win afternoon on Maryland Million Day Oct. 24 led by Monday Morning Qb in the Classic, Hello Beautiful in the Distaff and Pretty Good Year in the Turf.

    On Nov. 28 Russell won stakes with Hello Beautiful in the Safely Kept and Whereshetoldmetogo in the Frank Y. Whiteley, both horses trained by his wife, Brittany. Together the Russells won with 18 of 35 starters at the meet (51 percent) and finished in the money 30 times (86 percent).

    “She keeps me busy in the mornings. There isn’t really a day where she doesn’t have workers because she’s got so many horses so it’s a big advantage that I have,” Russell said. “I get to get on them as soon as they come in and I do a lot of work with them and sort of get an idea of what their good and bad traits are. It’s a big plus.”

     Russell was leading Laurel’s 2020 summer meet standings when he suffered a broken wrist in a starting gate mishap July 16 at Delaware Park. He returned on Sept. 24, opening day of the short Preakness Meet at Pimlico, and earned the mount on sixth-place finisher Excession in the Preakness.