HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s Thursday program will have a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $1,292,010. The Rainbow 6 will kick off Thursday with the fourth race, a maiden claiming event at 6 ½ furlongs. First race post is 1:15 p.m.
The Rainbow 6 has gone 29 race days without being solved with a single winning ticket. Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday returned $12,127, with Happy Hat, a 25-1 shot, winning the final leg.
There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover of $1,795.
Third Time the Charm for Regally-Bred River Front
River Front, a 4-year-old colt by War Front out of Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, won Sunday’s sixth race, a mile special weight event, by a neck in 1:37.44. Owned and bred by Whisper Hill Farm and trained by Ralph Nicks, River Front responded when headed down the stretch under jockey Edgard Zayas. The colt raced in June of last year before returning in April and finishing second.
BALTIMORE - The 144th running of the Preakness Stakes set an all-time total handle record Saturday of $99,852,653. That topped the previous mark of $97,168,658 set in 2017. Attendance was 131,256.
War of Will, one of the protagonists who was moved up to seventh in the Kentucky Derby after a troubled trip, carried jockey Tyler Gaffalione and trainer Mark Casse to their first victories in a Triple Crown event. The race went without Maximum Security, who won the Derby only to be disqualified and placed 17th, and Country House, the original runner-up who was elevated to first.
The 14-race card was also highlighted by Catholic Boy winning $250,000 Dixie, Lexitonian winning the $200,000 Chick Lang and Mitchell Road winning the $150,000 Gallorette.
“The 144th Preakness Stakes surpassed our expectations thanks to the horsemen and fans who came to celebrate this grand Maryland tradition,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President. “It makes for an unforgettable day of entertainment when you combine the world’s top performers with the best thoroughbred horses and jockeys at one of the most celebrated sporting events. The Preakness is second to none."
On May 10, Khozan celebrated day one as America's leading freshman sire, a position he's not likely to hold since American Pharoah has 162 registered foals and a star-studded book of mares. But, Brent and Crystal Fernung at Journeyman Stud are allowed to smile at the circumstances, especially since it's been nine days and Khozan is still on top.
As of today, both stallions have two winners, but Khozan's progeny earnings - $116,580 - top Pharoah's $88,764 by $27,816.
BALTIMORE – Gary Barber’s War of Will, seventh in the Kentucky Derby, arrived at Pimlico Race Course at 2:30 this morning to begin preparation for Saturday’s 144th Preakness Stakes, along with two others slated for different races.
Winner of the Gr. II Risen Star Stakes and Gr. III LeComte Stakes over the winter at Fair Grounds, War of Will will likely be one of the favorites in Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness.
“They looked like they shipped in really well,” said assistant trainer Kim Carroll. “They left yesterday afternoon [from Kentucky] and it was a pretty easy ship up. We’re excited to be here. The weather is actually quite good for shipping, nice and cool.”
With Tyler Gaffalione riding in the Derby, War of Will took the brunt of the infamous incident in the stretch, almost clipping the heels of original winner Maximum Security, and dropping back to eighth. He was moved up to seventh after the disqualification of Maximum Security.
War of Will, trained by Mark Casse, was accompanied by stablemates Flameaway, entered in Friday’s Gr. III Pimlico Special, and Gio Game, entered in Friday’s Gr. III Allaire DuPont Distaff .
Two other Preakness starters are expected to arrive today – Market King, third in the Gr. II Rebel Stakes , is expected late this afternoon, and El Camino Real Derby winner Anothertwistafate this evening.
Based on two unquestioned factors, it's almost etched in stone that American Pharoah will be the country's leading freshman sire this year. First, he has 162 registered foals. Second, he has been bred to mares worth zillions.
However, on May 10 of 2019, it is etched in stone that Journeyman Stud's Khozan is the leading sire - as of today. Khozan has two winners and progeny earnings of $90,380. The Triple Crown winner has two winners and progeny earnings of $88,764. Brent and Crystal Fernung can appropriately sing, "No, no, they can't take that away from me."
LAUREL, MD - The Stronach 5, featuring a 12-percent industry-low takeout and a $100,000 guaranteed pool, will feature four turf races Friday afternoon from four tracks.
Post time for the national pick 5 will be 5:30 p.m. with the ninth race at Gulfstream Park, a 7 ½-furlong turf event. It will then go to Pimlico Race Course, before going to Golden Gate Fields then heading back to Gulfstream Park, and wrapping it up at Santa Anita Park with a one-mile turf event.
Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence:
? Leg One – Gulfstream Park 9th race (12 entries, 1 1 1/16 miles, turf) 5:30 ET, 2:30 PT
? Leg Two –Pimlico Race Course 9th Race (12 entries, 6 furlongs) 5:40 ET, 2:40 PT
? Leg Three –Golden Gate Fields (10 entries, one mile, turf) 6 PM ET, 3 PT
? Leg Four –Gulfstream Park 10th race (14 entries, 7 ½ furlongs turf) 6:07 ET, 3:07 PT
? Leg Five – Santa Anita Park 6th Race (11 entries, one mile, turf) 6:50 ET, 3:50 PT
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday. If a change in racing surface is made after wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
(Bill Christine has been a turf writer for decades, in California (Los Angeles Times), and in Post Time USA, among others. He's one of the most respected in the business, and offered this short insight into the Derby mess.)
Different stewards at the track have been screwing up the big race for a long time. In 1968, after Dancer's Image's drug test came back positive on Sunday, they waited until Monday to tell everybody and didn't have a formal announcement, it leaked out. The PR guy at Churchill took the fall and was fired.
In 1994, when favored Holy Bull finished far back, trainer Jimmy Croll thought someone had drugged his horse. Yet the stewards did no post-race test on the horse - a beaten favorite in the Derby not tested? Unheard of.
On Saturday, while making the right call, the stewards erred when they (1) didn't flash the inquiry sign; (2) didn't announce until hours later that there had been two jockey foul claims, not one; and (3) dismissed the most important decision in the history of racing with a 106-word statement and entertained no questions from the media.
Apart from all this, racing should require that at least one of the three stewards be an ex-jockey. Everywhere. Stewards' panels need representation from at least one person who has been there.
(Ed. note) - Among the ex-jocks who have been stewards are Don Brumfield (current), Bill Hartack and Darrell McHargue.
BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby winner Country House tops the list of candidates for the 144th Preakness Stakes - the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course - on May 18.
While trainer Bill Mott was not ready to commit Country House, the Derby champ through the historic disqualification of Maximum Security, to the Preakness this morning, he said that the chestnut colt came out of the race very well and was a Preakness prospect. “Having the Derby winner, you’re pretty much forced to go into the Preakness,” Mott said with a smile while meeting with the media outside his barn at Churchill Downs.
During a morning phone conversation with Maryland Jockey Club’s President and General Manager, Sal Sinatra, who formally invited Country House to the Preakness, Mott said the decision would be made after he talked with the homebred colt’s owners. Mott said he expected to have an answer in a day or two.
Maximum Security, who led from wire-to-wire in the Derby but was disqualified for a bumping incident at the quarter pole, is scheduled to be shipped to trainer Jason Servis’ barn at Monmouth Park on Monday. Servis reported this morning that the horse exited the Derby in good order and that a Preakness start had not yet been discussed.
Ten others are on the early list of prospects for the Preakness: War of Will, who was seventh in the Derby; Bodexpress, who was 13th; Sueno, third-place finisher in the Louisiana Derby; Alwaysmining, winner of the Federico Tesio at Laurel; Anothertwistafate, winner of the El Camino Real Derby; Signalman, third in the Blue Grass; Laughing Fox, winner of the Oaklawn Invitational; Blue Grass winner Owendale; Mr. Money, winner of the Pat Day Mile; and Fountain of Youth runner-up Bourbon War, fourth in the Florida Derby.
Derby runner-up Code of Honor might be considered for the race, trainer Shug McGaughey said. Code of Honor was scheduled to be shipped back to Belmont Park today and McGaughey said he would be talking with owner William Farish about plans for the colt.
Trainer Bob Baffert, a record-tying seven-time winner of the Preakness, said that he would decide in the next few days whether he will send a horse to run in Maryland’s signature race. Baffert had three Derby starters – Improbable (4th), Game Winner (5th) and Roadster (15th).
Mott said that Country House will continue training at Churchill Downs and would be shipped to Pimlico during Preakness week. Country House is a chestnut son of 2010 Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky and is co-owned by Maury Shields, her nephew Eugene “Guinness” McFadden and their friends Larry, Nanci and Jaime Roth, who run as LNJ Foxwoods. Maury Shields’ late husband, Jerry, bred the colt.
After a lengthy review following the Derby, the Churchill Downs stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th. It was the first time that a horse who reached the wire first in the Derby was disqualified. That moved County House - who had finished second, 1¾ lengths behind Maximum Security - into the top spot, giving Mott the first Derby win of this outstanding career. Mott said it was the correct call and showed the integrity of the sport. “To put this in perspective, it was a difficult decision because it was the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “I don’t think it would have been a difficult decision if it had been the first race on the card.”
Mott, who was the youngest flat trainer inducted into the Hall of Fame in Saratoga at the age of 45 in 1998, has been on both sides of decisions by stewards.
“I feel terrible that I have to apologize for winning,” he said. “I really feel terrible for the connections, the owners. I hate to sit there saying something as foolish as ‘I’m sorry I won,’ because I don’t want to give them the wrong impression that I am unhappy about winning because I’m not. I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled with the horse. I’m thrilled with everybody that’s worked with the horse. I think they deserve the win. It’s just such an unusual way to have to go to the winner’s circle and win the Kentucky Derby. This Kentucky Derby will be talked about for a long time. I think it will be probably up there with [Bill] Shoemaker standing up at the sixteenth pole [on Gallant Man in 1957]. It’s just one of those things. It’s not going to go away. We’re going to take the win. We’re going to take it and hopefully Country House comes back and runs big in the future, whatever race it may be.”
Country House signaled that he belonged on the Triple Crown trail with a second-place finish in the Risen Star Feb. 16 at Fair Grounds. After he was fourth in the Louisiana Derby on March 23, Mott sent him to the Arkansas Derby on April 13. He finished third in that race at Oaklawn Park and earned just enough qualifying points to make it into the Derby field.
Mott acknowledged returning in the Preakness, two weeks after the Derby victory, is not how he typically spaces races for his horses.
“Now we’re talking about a horse that has had quite a few races,” he said. “You run back in the Preakness and maybe you hit the board and maybe you don’t. Maybe you win. But it probably compromises his chances a little bit to win the Belmont. That’s just looking at it as a trainer and what would be normal. But the Triple Crown is not a normal situation. It never has been. I don’t think they should space anything out anymore. The challenge of the Triple Crown is that it’s three races close together and it takes a champion - it takes a Justify -to win those kind of things.”
Alex and JoAnn Leiblong’s Laughing Fox earned an automatic spot in the Preakness Stakes with his rallying neck win in the $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational over Night Ops on Saturday. Trainer Steve Asmussen said it was premature to discuss the Preakness until he’d talked with the owners and sees the Union Rags colt in person.
“He ran a very good race yesterday. I thought he overcame a very strong speed bias,” Asmussen said. “He’s been a deep closer. Watching the races at Oaklawn throughout the day and talking with Darren [assistant Darren Fleming], speed was holding. I thought he overcame and ran a really big race. We’ll see how he comes out of the race. He will come here [to Churchill Downs]. I think his fourth in the Arkansas Derby and Country House being third looks a little more significant today than it did yesterday.”
Rupp Racing’s Owendale, winner of Keeneland’s Lexington on April 13 is a strong possibility for the Preakness, trainer Brad Cox said. Owendale defeated Preakness candidates Anothertwistafate and Sueno in the 1 1/16-mile Lexington. “He breezed really well,” Cox said of a five-furlong Saturday work in 1:02.80. “A little slow. They broke off slow but he finished up really well, galloped out great and he looked well this morning.”
Cox said the outcome of the Kentucky Derby is part of the equation. “Good group of horses,” he said. “I feel like this horse, as long as he’s doing well and training well, he can run with that group, just like he did in the Lexington. He didn’t surprise us in the barn, or the rider [Florent Geroux] or anybody who had been dealing with him leading up to the Lexington. The way he was training, we had a lot of confidence in him. If we can get him in that same form, that confidence level going into the Preakness, he’ll be competitive.”
Mr. Money, winner of the Pat Day Mile Saturday, could also be a possibility for the Preakness while Derby 12th-place finisher By My Standards is not expected to advance to the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, said Dennis “Peaches” Geier, assistant to trainer Bret Calhoun.
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables LLC and Bethlehem Stables LLC’s 4-year-old World of Trouble went right to the front in the $250,000, Gr. II Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes at Churchill Downs on Oaks Day and never looked back, drawing away in the stretch and scoring by nearly four lengths.
It was the fourth straight stakes victory for the Gr. I stakes-winning Florida-bred colt by Kantharos, who is trained by Jason Servis. World of Trouble is now 8-2-1 in 12 starts with $1,043,300 in earnings. He's 3-for-3 in 2019 and if not for the length of Stormy Liberal's neck, he would be on a seven-race winning streak. That's the margin he lost by in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Consigned by Darsan Inc., Agent, he went through the ring at the 2016 OBS August Yearling Sale and was RNA'd for $10,000.
On Dec. 10, Eric Mitchell wrote on Blood-Horse online that Journeyman Stud is offering a top freshman sire guarantee on Khozan, one of the two frosh sires on the roster at Brent and Crystal Fernung's stud farm.
"Brent and Crystal Fernung are so confident their stallion Khozan has the quality to be Florida's leading freshman sire next year that they are putting the breeding fees from 25 matings on the line," Mitchell wrote.
"In my opinion, Khozan far and away represents the best combination of talent and pedigree of any stallion in Florida," Brent said, "and we're thrilled with the quality of Khozan's first yearlings. Consequently, we are willing to put our money where our mouth is. The first 25 contracts issued to Khozan for the 2019 breeding season come with this guarantee: If Khozan is not Florida's leading first-crop sire in 2019, you don't have to pay the stud fee for your 2020 foal."
Since Khozan stands for $4,000, we're talking about a potential loss of $100,000.
It's only May 4, and Dec. 31 is a long way off, but Khozan already has two winners, and is not only Florida's leading freshman sire, he's second in the country behind American Pharoah. After Solid as a Rock became winner No. 1 at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, Lure Him In followed up with a maiden victory yesterday. Both winners were bred by their owner, Gil and Marilyn Campbell's Stonehedge Farm in Williston.
Lure Him In was chased to the wire by Rebelde, another Khozan colt who had finished fourth in his debut a few weeks ago. The trio has accounted for nearly all of the stallion's $82,740 in earnings. American Pharoah isn't that far ahead with $88,764.
This one promises to be stirring up quite a bit of interest for the next seven-plus months.
MISNOMER - Let's get one thing straight on Kentucky Derby morn. Omaha Beach was not the Derby favorite, no matter how many people said so on your TV set. The Derby favorite is the horse whose tote board price is the lowest when the gate springs open later today.
Omaha Beach was the horse who the track handicapper (Mike Battaglia) guessed the public would make the favorite at post time, but it didn't have to be so.
Solid as a Rock became the second runner by a Florida freshman sire to get a winner, scoring in a $66,050 maiden special at Gulfstream yesterday, one day after The Big Beast registered winner No. 1.
Solid as a Rock is a daughter of Journeyman Stud's Khozan, and she went wire-to-wire under Edgard Zayas with 4 1/2 furlongs in a speedy :51.97. The track record is :50.86. She paid $9.60 after winning by three lengths over Bosworthy, who was the heavy favorite at 30 cents to a dollar. The winner's share for owner/breeder Stonehedge Farm is $43,000.
Ocala Stud Farm's The Big Beast has the honor of winning part one of Florida's Freshman Sire Derby - part one being becoming the sire with the first winner on the frosh list, however small that list might be this year.
Wesley Ward, who usually is the nation's leader when it comes to getting early winners, is the trainer of Ms Headley, a filly who broke her maiden in her first start at Churchill Downs yesterday. The filly out of the Trippi mare My Coastie was bred by Lybby and Ronald Gay, and was sent off as the even-money favorite.
Ms Headley tracked the early pace in the two path under Irad Ortiz Jr. in the 5-furlong race, reached the front nearing the eighth pole, and drove clear in the final yards to win by two lengths. She was clocked in 59.22 and earned a check for $43,568 out of a possible $100,000.
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - It’s been 17 racing days since Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 has been solved, resulting in a carryover come Thursday of $674,996. First race post is 1:15 p.m. for the nine-race program.
The Rainbow 6 will begin with the fourth race, a maiden claimer at a mile. Four of the six Rainbow 6 races are scheduled on the turf.
Multiple winning tickets with six winners Sunday were each worth $962. There were no live tickets going into the final leg.
There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover of $2,498.
NOTE: Jockey Edgard Zayas rode four winners Saturday. He kicked things off winning aboard favored Purple Girl ($3) in the fourth, added the sixth with Myfrancesca ($4.20) and the seventh with Ready to Tango ($2.80), then was placed first in the 11th race aboard Machiavelli ($12.20).
LAUREL, MD - Friday’s Stronach 5, which featured four winners paying $16 or more at four tracks, returned $88,869 each to two bettors.
The sequence started with the 8-1 longshot Umightbeanempress ($18.20) winning the ninth race at Laurel Park and My Point Exactly ($16) winning the second leg, the 10th race at Gulfstream.
The prices kept coming when Streetlightromance ($40.80) won the fourth leg, the fifth race at Golden Gate Fields, and Bob’s Sniper ($29) won the final leg, the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.
There was $202,036.28 bet into the Stronach 5, which features an industry-low 12-percent takeout and is held every Friday afternoon.
Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence
? Leg One – Laurel Park Race 9th Race – Umightbeanempress, $18.20
? Leg Two –Gulfstream Park 9th Race – My Point Exactly, $16
? Leg Three –Gulfstream Park 10th Race – Absolute Grit, $5
? Leg Four – Golden Gate Fields 5th Race – Streetlightromance, $40.80
? Leg Five – Santa Anita Park 5th Race – Bob’s Sniper, $29
Cynthia McFarland sustained a serious head injury while with her horse on Monday evening, April 15 and was taken to Shands Hospital for life-saving emergency surgery.
She is now talking and pondering her many responsibilities. We have already seen a miraculous recovery in just a short time.
Cynthia will be in rehab for quite some time. We are unsure about the extent and time, but we want her to be able to concentrate on healing and not be concerned about the financial issues of daily living. Cynthia is a confident, strong, faithful woman with a kind and giving heart. We are asking her family, friends and community to support her in this very challenging time of recovery. She is a self- employed writer and has no other source of income other than what she generates through her writing and photography.
While we have no idea of the extent of her future medical bills, we know that they will be substantial and could prove insurmountable. We have estimated her expenses and debt reduction for the next year to be nearly $100,000. We are asking her friends and community to rally around her and bless her with the ability to heal and recover without the immediate burden of finances. We believe and pray that she will return to her love of writing and impacting her friends and colleagues with her amazing skill and talents very soon.
Thank you for your outpouring of love.
Hugh and Kenn McFarland
Cynthia’s little brothers
From the editor:
In 1990 or '91, when I was editor of the Florida Horse magazine, Cynthia walked into my office out of the blue one day and said she was an aspiring writer looking for a break. I didn't have anything for her for the upcoming issue of the magazine, but I told her not to give up because I felt I could find something in the near future and to try me again.
That day came shortly thereafter, and I sent her out to interview a new owner who had just bought a thoroughbred farm north of Ocala. (To my best recollection the owner was Martin Cherry and he purchased the former Somday Farm). Cynthia came through with flying colors and it kicked off a highly-successful career writing for a great many local publications, including the Florida Horse.
We wish her the best and urge everybody to open their wallets and pocketbooks on her behalf.
Gary Barber’s Wonder Gadot has been named Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old female after winning the Queens Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, the first two legs of Canada’s Triple Crown, against males. She also placed in four graded stakes, including a second-place finish in the Gr. I Kentucky Oaks.
To date, Wonder Gadot has compiled a record of 18-5-5-4 for trainer Mark Casse, and earned $1,524,861. The now 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro was purchased for $325,000 out of the Eisaman Equine consignment at the 2017 April Sale after turning in an under tack eighth in :10 2/5.
With all the Kentucky Derby preps and sales dominating the headlines in the last five or six weeks, I have been remiss in keeping up with Mike Mulligan's BetBestBreeze selections. So, with the OBS April sale coming up next week, what follows is a synopsis of how Mike fared over the weekend.
In case you've forgotten, Mike watches every horse at every under tack show at every 2-year-old sale in the country. He then gives the runners a rating from 1 to 9, with 1 being the best of the best, and so on down the line. There are three categories listed each day - first-time starters, horses who have already started, and stakes horses, if any. Mike's 1 through 9 determinations are made before the sale begins for the benefit of the 2-year-old buyers.
Here's what transpired on Saturday:
BetBestBreeze tabbed six winners, four seconds and five thirds. The seconds and thirds are listed for handicappers who wager on exactas, trifectas and supers, etc.
Winners: Newly Minted ($19.60), a first-timer who won by 5 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct and was a $110,000 OBS April purchase; Nueva York ($7.10), won by 2 1/2 at Aqueduct; Pyron ($7), won by 2 3/4 at Oaklawn Park and is 2-for-2; Outlaw X. ($2.80), won by 2 at Evangeline in his 2nd start; Midnight Fantasy ($6.20), won the $75,000 Austintown Sprint Stakes at Mahoning Valley by 5 and is 4-1-1 in 6 starts with earnings of $205,760. She has won three black-type races by a combined total of 18 1/4 lengths. Mitole ($2.80), won the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Stakes at Oaklawn by 2 3/4. He's 6-2-1 in 9 starts with earnings of $701,510, and was a $140,000 OBS April 2-year-old.
Among the other first-timers: Wonder In finished 3rd at 20-1 at Gulfstream; One Eighty, 2nd by 1/2 length at Santa Anita at 4/5, and a $300,000 OBS March 2-year-old; Company Store, 2nd by 1 at Gulfstream at 3-1; Doll, 3rd at 2-1 at Aqueduct. Also, Mason Dixon was 3rd at 16-1 at Oaklawn, River God was 2nd at Santa Anita at 7/2, Sugar Bolt was 3rd at 16-1 at Gulfstream, Lost in Limbo was 2nd at Oaklawn at 11-1; and Air Boss was 3rd at 5-1 at Santa Anita.
BetBestBreeze tabbed four winners a second and a third. The piece de resistance was Midnight Bisou ($3.80), who won the Gr. I Apple Blossom at Oaklawn, her third graded win in a row. She's an awesome 8-3-3 in 14 starts with earnings of $2,405,000. The other three listed below won by a combined total of 21 lengths.
Mucho Amor ($6.40), a $260,000 OBS March purchase, won by 4 lengths at Golden Gate Fields; Fort Worth ($2.50, $500,000 OBS March), won by 6 3/4 at Aqueduct; Lucid Dream ($6), won by 10 1/4 at Laurel Park. In addition, Talker lost by half a nose at Laurel at 7/2; Sapori Girl was 3rd at Santa Anita at 9-1.
Pretty impressive stuff and Mulligan will get down to serious business again at today's first under tack show.
OLDSMAR - Saturday’s victory by Tacitus in the Gr. II Wood Memorial at Aqueduct boosted the 3-year-old colt to the No. 1 spot in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings with 150 points – which makes Tampa Bay Downs, where Tacitus won last month’s Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, the place to be on Saturday, May 4.
The Oldsmar oval will present a 12-race card that day leading to the simulcast of the 145th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. First-race post time here will be noon. Patrons will be dressed to the nines in Derby finery, adding to the pageantry and aura of racing’s greatest spectacle, and mint juleps will be sold in commemorative Kentucky Derby glasses, which sport the names of each winner from Aristides in 1875 through Justify in 2018.
The program will be enhanced by a pair of $100,000, mile-and-40-yard stakes races for 3-year-olds: the FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for males and the FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for fillies. Both contests are for registered Florida-breds sired by an FTBOA-registered Florida stallion.
Horses who competed at Tampa Bay Downs are likely to occupy three of the 20 available positions in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Likely to join Tacitus is Florida-bred Win Win Win, the Michael Trombetta-trained colt who won the Pasco Stakes here on Jan. 19 and finished third in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. The Live Oak Plantation colt ran a strong second to Vekoma in Saturday’s Gr. II Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland to earn 40 qualifying points and secure his spot.
Also likely is trainer Todd Pletcher’s colt Spinoff, who posted a dominant allowance/optional claiming victory here on Feb. 22, followed by a second-place finish two weeks ago in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.
Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Outshine finished a disappointing ninth in the Wood Memorial and is currently on the outside looking in with 20 points, good for 28th place.
Derby hopefuls get their last chance for points on April 13 in the Gr. I, $1-million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and the Gr. III, $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington at Keeneland.
Here is the list of top-20 points-getters:
Tacitus, 150; Vekoma, 110; Plus Que Parfait, 104; Roadster, 100; By My Standards, 100; Maximum Security, 100; Game Winner, 85; Code of Honor, 74; Haikal, 70; War of Will, 60; Long Range Toddy, 53.5; Tax, 52; Cutting Humor, 50; Win Win Win, 50; Gray Magician, 41; Spinoff, 40; Bodexpress, 40; Signalman, 38; Omaha Beach, 37.5; Bourbon War, 31.
If all goes according to plan, Tacitus – bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Jose Ortiz – will attempt to become the second Tampa Bay Derby winner to win the Run for the Roses. Street Sense is the only horse to accomplish the feat, in 2007. The third-place Tampa Bay Derby finisher in 2010, Super Saver, won the Derby, and 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming broke his maiden here that winter before his rendezvous with destiny.
Is this the fourth time a Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve winner will lay claim to having prepped at Tampa Bay Downs?
NO TROUBLE AT ALL - World of Trouble, the 4-year-old Florida-bred colt who won the 2018 Pasco Stakes and finished third in the Tampa Bay Derby, enhanced his resume Saturday by capturing the Gr.I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct. Manuel Franco rode World of Trouble, who is owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables and trained by Jason Servis. The second-place finisher in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs, World of Trouble returned to action here on Dec. 15 with a victory in the FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: MIKE HENRY
April 7, 2019
813-855-4401 Ext. 1367
TACITUS, WIN WIN WIN SHOW THEIR DERBY STUFF IN SATURDAY PREPS
OLDSMAR, FL. – Saturday’s victory by Tacitus in the Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct boosted the 3-year-old colt to the No. 1 spot in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings with 150 points – which makes Tampa Bay Downs, where Tacitus won last month’s Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, the place to be on Saturday, May 4.
The Oldsmar oval will present a 12-race card that day leading to the simulcast of the 145th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve from Churchill Downs in Louisville. First-race post time here will be noon.
Patrons will be dressed to the nines in Derby finery, adding to the pageantry and aura of Thoroughbred racing’s greatest spectacle, and mint juleps will be sold in commemorative Kentucky Derby glasses, which sport the names of each winner from Aristides in 1875 through Justify in 2018.
Fans can reserve tickets on the track website at www.tampabaydowns.com by clicking on “PREMIER DAY TICKETS” and following along. Call (813) 855-4401 for details.
Kentucky Derby Day at the Downs will be enhanced by a pair of $100,000, mile-and-40-yard stakes races for 3-year-olds: the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for males and the FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for fillies. Both contests are for registered Florida-breds sired by an FTBOA-registered Florida stallion.
Tampa Bay Downs “graduates” are likely to occupy three of the 20 available positions in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve starting gate. Likely to join Tacitus is Florida-bred Win Win Win, the Michael Trombetta-trained colt who won the Pasco Stakes here on Jan. 19 and finished third in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.
Win Win Win ran a strong second to Vekoma in Saturday’s Grade II Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland to earn 40 qualifying points and secure his spot.
Also likely for the Kentucky Derby is trainer Todd Pletcher’s colt Spinoff, who posted a dominant allowance/optional claiming victory here on Feb. 22, followed by a second-place finish two weeks ago in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.
Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Outshine finished a disappointing ninth in the Wood Memorial and is currently on the outside looking in with 20 points, good for 28th place.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve hopefuls get their last chance for points on April 13 in the Grade I, $1-million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and the Grade III, $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington at Keeneland.
Here is the list of top-20 points-getters:
Tacitus, 150; Vekoma, 110; Plus Que Parfait, 104; Roadster, 100; By My Standards, 100; Maximum Security, 100; Game Winner, 85; Code of Honor, 74; Haikal, 70; War of Will, 60; Long Range Toddy, 53.5; Tax, 52; Cutting Humor, 50; Win Win Win, 50; Gray Magician, 41; Spinoff, 40; Bodexpress, 40; Signalman, 38; Omaha Beach, 37.5; Bourbon War, 31.
If all goes according to plan, Tacitus – bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Jose Ortiz – will attempt to become the second Tampa Bay Derby champion to win the Run for the Roses.
Street Sense is the only horse to accomplish the feat, in 2007. The third-place Tampa Bay Derby finisher in 2010, Super Saver, won the Kentucky Derby, and 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming broke his maiden here that winter before his rendezvous with destiny.
Is this the fourth time a Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve winner will lay claim to having prepped at Tampa Bay Downs?
World of Trouble, the 4-year-old Florida-bred colt who won the 2018 Pasco Stakes here and finished third in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, enhanced his resume Saturday by capturing the Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct.
Manuel Franco rode World of Trouble, who is owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables and trained by Jason Servis. The second-place finisher in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs, World of Trouble returned to action here on Dec. 15 with a victory in the FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes.
It's been quite a while since we assessed the success (or lack of it) for the eight south Florida pari-mutuel racinos. It turns out there has been a significant shift in the business in the interim.
While Pompano Park, doing racino business as the Isle Casino & Racing, had been doing the most business for years, that honor now has shifted over to Flagler Dog Track (Magic City Casino). From the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, through the last day of February, Magic City had 'credits in' of $1,036,288,605. For those who have trouble deciphering numbers that high, that's more than $1 billion. Isle Casino's 'credits in' reached $922,702,238.
However, due to a huge difference in takeout, Isle Casino's net slot revenue remains the best. The trotters have the highest takeout of the eight entities - 9.85 percent - thus, the net revenue is $80,821,581, less the state's share of more than $28.2 million. Magic City's takeout is 6.53 percent, second lowest among the group, and the revenue is $63,441,076, less the state's $22.2 million. Anyone who dismisses the effect of the takeout must hate money.
Here are the remaining credits in, percentage of takeout, net slot revenue and state tax for the other six entities. They are listed in order of their 'credits in.'
3 - Hialeah Park - $904,254,492; 6.50%; $53,409,765; $18,693;418.
4 - Calder Casino & Race Course - $900,770,411; 8.71%; $59,156,719; $20,704,852.
5 - Miami Jai Alai - $640,131,496; 7.64%; $43,369,105; $15,179,187.
6 - Gulfstream Park - $493,105,474; 7.88%; $31,904,874; $11,166,706.
7 - The Casino at Dania Beach - $386,137,193; 7.28%; $20,889,905; $7,311,467.
8 - Big Easy Casino (formerly Hollywood Dog Track) - $254,854,137; 8.60%; $19,387,376; $6,789,082.
LAUREL, MD – Friday’s Stronach 5 will feature a $100,000 guaranteed pool, a 12-percent takeout, and races from four tracks with three of those contests run on the turf.
The Stronach 5 kicks off this week at 4:19 p.m. with Gulfstream Park’s seventh race, a five-furlong turf event for 3-year-olds and up with a $35,000 claiming price. The second leg will be Laurel Park’s ninth race with a field of 12 going 5 ½ furlongs on the main track. After a return to Gulfstream for the ninth race, a 7 ½-furlong turf event with 13 entered, the Stronach 5 heads to California for races at Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita, where maiden fillies and mares go 1 1/8th miles on the turf in the final leg.
Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence
? Leg One – Gulfstream Park 7th Race (nine entries, 5 furlongs turf) 4:19 ET, 1:19 PT
? Leg Two –Laurel Park 9th Race (12 entries, 5 ½ furlongs) 5:17 ET, 2:17 PT
? Leg Three –Gulfstream Park 9th Race (13 entries, 7 ½ furlongs turf) 5:22 ET, 2:22 PT
? Leg Four – Golden Gate Fields (nine entries, 5 ½ furlongs) 5:56 ET, 2:56 PT
? Leg Five – Santa Anita Park 5th Race (11 entries, 1 1/8 miles turf) 6:11 ET, 3:11 PT
The minimum wager on the Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Reigning Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. claimed the 2018-2019 Championship Meet riding title at Gulfstream Park Sunday, prevailing over defending two-time titlist Luis Saez, 135-134.
“It feels great," Ortiz said. "I got a lot of support from the owners and trainers and my agent, Jay Rushing, does a great job. I have no words for how I feel now."
Saez rode the winners of Races 3, 4 and 9 Sunday to pull into a tie for the lead, but Ortiz came back to capture Race 10 with Scam to take a one-win edge into the final race of the day. The 26-year-old Puerto Rico-born jockey claimed the title when Saez finished second in Race 11.
“Luis is a great rider," Ortiz said. "He never gives up. I enjoyed everything. Everybody was asking all the numbers and everybody was watching."
Riding full time during the Championship Meet for the first time, Ortiz captured nine graded stakes races, including the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational aboard Bricks and Mortar on Jan. 26.
Saez, who captured Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby aboard Maximum Security, still holds the record for most wins during a season - 137 - set during the 2017-2018 season.
Jorge Navarro, who saddled X Y Jet for a victory in the $2 million Golden Shaheen on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup card, captured his first Championship Meet title with 53 victories, breaking Todd Pletcher’s string of 15 consecutive titles. Pletcher finished second after saddling winners at a 25-percent strike rate. Navarro client Joseph Besecker was the leading owner with 19 visits to the winner’s circle.
Live racing will return to Gulfstream for the start of the Spring Meet on Thursday. First-race post time for an eight-race opening day card is set for 1:15 p.m.
Sano Eyes Saratoga Stakes for Gunnevera
Trainer Antonio Sano, who saddled Gunnevera for a third-place finish in Saturday’s $12 million Dubai World Cup, was back at Gulfstream Sunday in time to send out Farley for a 30-1 upset victory in the seventh race. Gunnevera, who trailed the field early under Emisael Jaramillo, staged a wide stretch rally to take the show spot behind victorious Thunder Snow and Gronkowski in the 1 ¼ -mile race at Meydan.
Sano said Gunnevera will be given a six-week break in Ocala before returning to training with a stakes start in Saratoga the primary goal.
Gulfstream Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at [email protected] or call 954.457.6451.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s Rainbow 6 will have a mandatory payout today on Florida Derby Day, and the pool is expected to surpass $10 million.The 20-cent wager, unsolved for the 30th consecutive racing day Friday, will have a carryover of $2,660,030.
The Rainbow 6 sequence will kick off with the ninth race – a maiden special weight event for 3-year-olds at a 1 1/16 miles on the turf – and will include the $250,000 Pan American and $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby.
There was $513,251 bet into the Rainbow 6 Friday. Multiple tickets with six winners returned $95,775. Since the 2018-19 Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit seven times, most recently for a $227,505.88 payout Feb. 15.
The 14-race program, which begins at 11:30 a.m., will also include a $750,000 Late Pick 4 guaranteed pool and a $500,000 Late Pick 5 guaranteed pool.
LAUREL, MD – There were six winners in the Stronach 5 Friday, each winning $32,660.20. The wager kicked off with Honor Run ($5.60) winning the ninth race at Laurel. The sequence concluded with Clockstriketwelve, a 23-1 shot, winning the 11th race at Gulfstream. The Stronach 5 rewarded 23 bettors each with $7,182.50 on March 22.
? Leg One – Laurel Park, 9th Race – Honor Run ($5.60)
? Leg Two – Golden Gate Fields, 5th Race – Looks Good N a Tux ($15.80)
? Leg Three –Santa Anita Park, 5th Race – Oggonis ($13.80)
? Leg Four –Gulfstream Park, 10th Race – Santa Monica ($3)
? Leg Five – Gulfstream Park, 11th Race – Clockstriketwelve ($49.40)
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot at Gulfstream Park swelled to $2,455,348.81 for Thursday’s card after going unsolved for the 28th consecutive racing day Sunday.
A total of $555,302 was bet Sunday into the multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $2,322,112.61 from Saturday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $1,124,52.
A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot has been scheduled for next Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby program. There will also be mandatory payouts for the Late Pick 5 and last-race Super Hi-5.
WHO'S HOT - Luis Saez continued his recent hot streak with a three-win day Sunday to close to within one win of leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode one winner. The defending two-time Championship Meet titlist scored aboard Dizzy Gillespie ($3.80) in Race 5, Alphadar ($4.80) in Race 7, and King Leo ($5.80) in Race 9. Irad Ortiz Jr. won with Storm Temple Pilot ($3.60) in Race 4.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Luis Saez rode five winners on Wednesday’s card at Gulfstream Park, closing the gap on leading jockey Irad Ortiz, who holds a 123-115 edge during the Championship Meet that concludes March 31. “I just try to concentrate on my races and try to win,” said Saez, the defending two-time Championship Meet titlist, “and whatever happens, happens.”
The 26-year-old Saez, who has ridden more than 2,100 winners, took both ends of the early double aboard Breaking Bread ($6.20) in Race 1 and Noncents ($29) in Race 2 before scoring three straight aboard Florida Cotton ($3.20) in Race 6, Sonoma Storm ($4.80) in Race 7, and Elias My Love ($8.80) in Race 8.
“I thought I could have a good day. I just tried to do my best and the horses ran pretty good for me today. I’m so glad, so proud,” Saez said.
Saez rode seven winners twice during the 2017-2018 Championship Meet and owns a share of the Gulfstream record for most wins in a day with Jerry Bailey (1996) and Tyler Gaffalione (2017).
Today’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $1.970 Million
Who wants to be a multi-millionaire? The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot is expected to soar well over $2 million today. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 24th consecutive day Wednesday, producing a life-changing carryover jackpot of $1,970,071.42 for today’s program.
A total of $292,006 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a pool of $1,900,013 carried over from Sunday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners Wednesday were each worth $667.42.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Legendary Saratoga socialite and philanthropist Marylou Whitney visited the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle alongside husband John Hendrickson Saturday, celebrating homebred Mischievous Bird’s impressive 3 ¾-length triumph in the fifth race. The 93-year-old thoroughbred owner and breeder, who has been battling health issues during the winter months, flashed a huge smile when greeted by winning jockey Julien Leparoux.
“I feel fine now that you won,” she told Leparoux, who was in total control aboard the 3-year-old son of Into Mischief during the six-furlong maiden special weight event.
Mischievous Bird was making his first start since finishing off the board in his debut after a troubled trip at Saratoga Aug. 25, when he was a well-backed 2-1. “I told Julien, ‘Six months later we got what we expected,” trainer Norm Casse said.
Mischievous Bird ($13.60) broke alertly to press the pace set by Chad Brown-trained Sayyaaf along the backstretch and around the turn before pulling away to victory when asked for some run in the stretch. The Kentucky-bred colt ran six furlongs in 1:12.40 to comfortably prevail over a late-running Island Song, who nosed out Sayyaaf for the place.
Casse derived special satisfaction while visiting the winner’s circle with a horse campaigned by Whitney and Hendrickson. “It just means so much to me, because when I went out on my own, there wasn’t a whole lot of support. I think people thought I’d have a barnful of horses, and that was not the case. Marylou and John really were the first owners to call and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to get behind you,” said Casse, who went out on his own early last year after serving as the top assistant for his father Mark Casse. “For this horse to win today with Marylou in attendance means a lot.”
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Swells to $1,768,553
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot grew to $1,768,553.06 for today's 12-race program when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 22nd consecutive day Saturday. A total of $649,622 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a pool of $1,612,709 carried over from Friday’s card. Multiple tickets with six winners Saturday were each worth $25,518.20. The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 7-12.
Who’s Hot: Julien Leparoux doubled, scoring aboard Royalty Salvatore ($4.60) in Race 1, before making Marylou Whitney’s day with his winning ride on Mischievous Bird.
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot at Gulfstream Park swelled to $1,509,826.12 today when the multi-race wager went unsolved for 20th consecutive racing day. First-race post time for Friday’s 10-race card is set for 1:15 p.m.
A total of $350,744 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a pool of $1,425,670.10 carried over from Wednesday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $349.62. Since the Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit seven times, most recently for a $227,505.88 payout Feb. 15.
Who’s Hot: Two-time defending Championship Meet titlist Luis Saez made it to the 100-win mark for the third straight season at Gulfstream Thursday while riding A Bit of Both ($2.20) to victory in Race 3. Saez went on to capture Race 5 with Eastern Princess ($8.20) and Cappy Hour ($7.40) in the 10th.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Bettors have a new handicapping tool in their programs at all Stronach Group tracks – the weight of horses. The Stronach Group is the first thoroughbred racetrack operator to include the weights of horses in the past performance lines of its programs. This includes Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields.
“We’re always looking for innovative handicapping tools to help our bettors, and this is something bettors domestically and internationally began asking for last year,” said The Stronach Group’s COO Tim Ritvo.
The Stronach Group tracks began collecting the information last spring. The information has been shared with bettors on the track simulcasts since last summer.
“This is data-driven world, and we’re excited about adding this data to our programs as we continue our growth internationally,” Ritvo added. “Bettors and horsemen have used this information in the past to find out a horse’s optimum racing weight. We believe you can never provide enough information.”
Horses at all Stronach Group tracks have been weighed on a scale located in the paddock areas. That information has been shared on each track’s daily simulcast since last summer.
FROM THE OBS - Misty Hollow Farm’s Drafted came from off the pace and closed with a rush to get up late and take the $300,000, Gr. III Mahab Al Shimaal Stakes by a neck at Meydan on Saturday. It’s the second straight graded stakes victory for the 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Field Commission, trained by Doug Watson, now 6-1-0 in 12 starts with earnings of $551,633.
Drafted was the first horse to come out of a 2016 two-year-old in training sale and break his maiden, setting a track record in his debut at Keeneland. A two-time OBS graduate, he first went through the ring at the 2015 August Sale before he was purchased for $35,000 out of the Kim Harrison consignment at the 2016 March Sale after turning in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5.
HARD TO BELIEVE - The crowd at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday for Derby day was listed as 10,000-plus but that doesn't come close to the actual number. The horsemen's parking lot takes in owners, trainers, jockeys, the media and people who are smart enough to walk into it from the street. There's a gate that's open, with no turnstile to go through, and everybody gets in free. The lot must hold 400 cars or so, and if there's an average of two people per car, plus the walk-ins, that's somewhere around 1,000 attendees who aren't included in the attendance count.
The handle for the big day was nearly $14 million, second highest day in the track's history. So what kind of coverage does my old newspaper provide? The Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Pete Times when I made selections for 22 years, DID NOT HAVE ONE WORD ABOUT IT ANYWHERE IN THE PAPER!!!
But they'll write reams about auto races or human races anywhere within hailing distance. What a disgrace.
LOVE NO. ONE - The number of times a TVG analyst will wonder about a horses's chances because he or she has drawn the No.1 post, is countless. Ditto for the trainers they interview in the paddock.
I have cashed countless numbers of tickets on horses who left from No.1.
Here's the breakdown of the winners from each post at Tampa up to a few days ago. No. 1 - 81; No. 2 - 63; No. 3 - 75; No. 4 - 62; No. 5 - 60; No. 6 - 63; No. 7 - 64; No. 8 - 46. Of course, as the numbers go up, there are less chances because of short fields. However, in this instance, posts 1-5 all had 144 starters, while No. 6 had 143, No. 7 - 141 and No. 8 - 46, so only No. 8 is compromised by numbers.
If No. 1 is a problem, it's the rider, not the post.
OLDSMAR - Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott clearly is not a man in a hurry. A mere 22 years after his first victory in Tampa Bay Downs’ biggest race, Mott grabbed another Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby triumph. And he did it with Tacitus, a colt with only two starts as a 2-year-old, and one who had not raced since his maiden victory on Nov. 10 at Aqueduct.
“He’s been a big, growthy colt all along, and when we were breezing him in the middle of the summer he was just a big, laid-back horse. We didn’t know what we had until we got into the fall,” Mott said after Tacitus and jockey Jose Ortiz got through late on the rail and powered to a length-and-a-quarter victory from Outshine.
Tacitus, a gray homebred son of Tapit-Close Hatches, by First Defence, racing for breeder-owner Juddmonte Farms, sped the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance in stakes-record time of 1:41.90. The 7-5 favorite, Win Win Win, finished third in the 11-horse field, with pace-setter Zenden holding on for fourth.
Tacitus paid $19.80 to win as the fifth betting choice in the field. He earned the winner’s share of $210,000 from the $400,000 purse.
A crowd of 10,275 thrilled to the exciting action on a sunny, balmy afternoon. Total wagering handle on the 12-race card was $13,956,020, the second-highest amount in Tampa Bay Downs history.
Two other graded stakes were contested, with 5-year-old mare Rymska and Irad Ortiz Jr. (Jose’s brother) rallying for a two-length victory over Hawksmoor in the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes on the turf and 3-year-old filly Concrete Rose and Julien Leparoux holding off Blowout by a half-length in the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, also on the turf.
In the day’s other stakes, last year’s Sam F. Davis winner and Tampa Bay Derby runner-up, Flameaway, outgamed Killybegs Captain through the stretch to post a half-length victory in the $100,000 Challenger Stakes under Jose Ortiz, and Digital Age and Irad Ortiz Jr., posted a head victory over Forever Mo in the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.
In the main event, Jose Ortiz managed to find the inside early from the No. 10 post position and raced in mid-pack up the backstretch, while Zenden led Sam F. Davis winner Well Defined and the others through taxing fractions. “He broke very well and gave me a lot of choices by the first turn,” Ortiz said. “When the 9 horse (Dunph) went out, I decided to go in and follow the 1 (Admire) because I thought he had a good chance to win. I took a lot (of dirt), but the dirt doesn’t stick as much here as some other tracks, so I think it was good for my horse. He’s a little green still, but we got a rail trip and it opened up for us.”
A few anxious moments followed, with Outshine and Joel Rosario still looming as a threat, but Ortiz re-engaged the winner. “He’s a big horse and when he made the lead, he didn’t keep going; he kind of waited a little bit,” the jockey said. “He does everything so easy and I don’t know if he’s given me 100 percent yet (in his three races) – I don’t think so.”
Ortiz was also capturing his second Tampa Bay Derby, having won the 2017 edition with Tapwrit. Mott had won the race in 1997 with Zede. “I’ve been waiting a long time,” Mott said with a big grin. “We’ve always liked this horse and thought he could be a horse that would be on the Derby trail. I liked him a lot better today at the 3/8-mile pole than I did at the 5/8 pole, because it looked like when he was trying to get between horses, I couldn’t tell if he was maybe fighting with the racetrack. He was climbing a little bit but once he got through between those horses, he really got some confidence and got some momentum. Jose said he actually finished with something left. He got to the lead and maybe started to dog it a little bit, but I thought it was a very good race and a very good education for him.”
The Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, and Tacitus earned 50 points, with Outshine earning 20, Win Win Win 10 and Zenden 5.
Michael Trombetta, the trainer of 7-5 favorite Win Win Win, was not overly disappointed after talking to his jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr. “I want to go back and watch the head-on of the break; Irad said it was a little bit of a tangle out of the gate,” Trombetta said. “I think he was satisfied with the way that he ran. I just think if he could have gotten a little better position early, we might have had more of a favorable outcome. He finished with good energy and just couldn’t quite get it done.”
OLDSMAR - Eleven 3-year-olds were entered in the 39th annual Gr. II, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby, to be run Saturday at the distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track. At stake, in addition to the purse money, are “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points, awarded to the first four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale.
The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card beginning at 12:12 p.m. It is one of five stakes races on the program worth a combined $1-million in purse money. The first 7,500 patrons through the gates will receive a commemorative umbrella, with paid admission.
Florida-bred colt Win Win Win, who set a Tampa Bay Downs 7-furlong track record of 1:20.89 in his Pasco Stakes victory on Jan. 19, has been established at 5-2 on the morning-line. The second choice at 7-2 is the Florida-bred gelding Well Defined, who won the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 9 at the Tampa Bay Derby distance.
Reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Win Win Win, whose trainer, Michael Trombetta, is scheduled to be track announcer Richard Grunder’s guest at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the “Morning Glory Club” show on the first floor of the grandstand.
Two graded turf stakes for females are on tap: the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough, for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile-and-an-eighth, and the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth. The Hillsborough is the ninth race and the Florida Oaks is the 10th. Saturday’s other stakes are the $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on the turf.
Here is the field for the Tampa Bay Derby in post position order, with trainers and jockeys:
1. Admire, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado; 2. Sir Winston, Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux; 3. Lord Dragon, Jordan Blair, Jose A. Bracho; 4. Dream Maker, Mark Casse, Florent Geroux; 5. Well Defined, Kathleen O’Connell, Pablo Morales; 6. Outshine, Todd Pletcher, Joel Rosario; 7. Win Win Win, Michael Trombetta, Irad Ortiz, Jr.; 8. The Right Path, Jorge Duarte, Jr., Joe Bravo; 9. Dunph, Michael Maker, Daniel Centeno; 10. Tacitus, William Mott, Jose Ortiz; 11. Zenden, Victor Barboza, Jr., Samy Camacho.
Although the Live Oak Plantation homebred Win Win Win has been training here since his Pasco victory, the hometown favorite is Well Defined, a homebred racing for breeder-owner Gilbert G. Campbell’s Stonehedge Farm LLC. Campbell and O’Connell teamed to win the 2011 Tampa Bay Derby with Watch Me Go to earn a trip to that year’s Kentucky Derby, and the two-time leading Tampa Bay Downs conditioner is optimistic Well Defined is sitting on another big effort after his Sam F. Davis romp.
“He’s coming up to the race just as good or better than last time. I couldn’t be happier with how he’s doing, and I’m happy with the post position,” O’Connell said. Morales will be riding Well Defined for the second time after guiding him in his front-running Sam F. Davis score. “This horse has plenty of speed, and Pablo fits him very well,” O’Connell said. “He just has to be forwardly placed, and the rest will be seen. I’m just happy he’s going in the right direction and hope they all stay healthy. We need to run a big race Saturday.”
The third choice on the morning line at 4-1 is Dream Maker, one of two entrants trained by Mark Casse, along with Sir Winston.
The Hillsborough has attracted 10 older fillies and mares. Top contenders include millionaire Hawksmoor, trainer Arnaud Delacour’s 6-year-old mare who won the Gr. III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes here on Feb. 9; and the Chad Brown-trained duo of 5-year-old French-breds Onthemoonagain and Rymska.
There are 11 3-year-old fillies entered in the Florida Oaks. Brown, the three-time reigning Eclipse award Outstanding Trainer, has entered the French-bred La Feve and the Great Britain-bred Blowout. Other Florida Oaks entrants certain to attract attention and wagering dollars are Gr. II turf winner Concrete Rose, trained by George “Rusty” Arnold II, and Elsa, a Gr. III winner from the barn of Michael Stidham.
The Columbia has drawn 11 sophomores, including the Brown-trained Irish-bred Digital Age and Casse’s Proliferate. Heading the six-horse Challenger field are Casse’s 4-year-old colt Flameaway, who won last year’s Sam F. Davis and finished second in the Tampa Bay Derby, and the John P. Terranova II-trained 5-year-old Killybegs Captain, upset winner of the Pelican Stakes here on Feb. 16
Santos earns Jockey of Month honor. Ademar Santos has spent the last six weeks reminding Tampa Bay Downs horsemen he’s the same guy who finished eighth in the standings last season with 32 victories. Santos didn’t ride his first race this season until almost a month after the start of the meeting, and he won with only two of his first 40 starters. Since Feb. 6, however, he has won 10 times from 55 mounts, earning the Sen~or Tequila Mexican Grill Jockey of the Month Award.
“It’s important to know that my work is being seen, and I just have to enjoy it and try to get some more wins,” said Santos, who won races for six trainers during his recent roll. “I’m the same jockey as I’ve been, but I’m riding better horses now, I’ve gotten some lucky trips and I’ve won a few races.”
Santos knew he might start slow after he arrived late from Woodbine in Toronto, where he had a strong summer and fall that included a victory in the Grade II, $210,400 Kennedy Road Stakes on Ikerrin Road on Nov. 24 (also opening day at Tampa Bay Downs). After he arrived here, some questioned the wisdom of using his wife, Rose Miranda, as his agent. But they have proven to be a formidable team, with Miranda enthusiastically selling her rider’s talent and work ethic to Oldsmar trainers.
“Some people might look at it like she’s my agent because we’re married, but we work well together,” said Santos, who has climbed into a tie for sixth in the standings with 17 victories. “She does a great job getting me on good horses, and the rest is up to me. Even if I’m on (a long shot), it’s up to me to make a difference.”
Santos acknowledges that when he first came to Tampa Bay Downs 10 years ago, he might not have dealt as well with a slow start. Experience helps, as well as embracing the responsibilities of fatherhood with his three sons: twins Lucas and Gabriel, 12, and Rafael, 10. “I’m more mature, and I know the people because I’ve been coming here since 2009, so they know what I can do,” he said. “The track is kind of like a little family, and over the years you get more confident and people get more confidence in you.”
The first time we reported on the success of Mike Mulligan and his BetBestBreeze.com website, he was hotter than the proverbial pistol. We said then that 10 days or so of picking winners wasn't nearly enough of a sample to make a definitive determination of his methods, but last week's results are more than worthy of mention again.
On Thursday, Feb. 28, among 12 horses listed, Mike tabbed four winners, one second, two thirds and two fourths. I'm listing all the way to fourth because so many bettors play trifectas and supers. The winners were: first-timer Hoffa's Union, who won by 15 1/2 lengths at Aqueduct and paid $17.20, first-timer Fort Revere ($21) at Gulfstream; Marvella, who made it two in a row and paid $38.80 at Oaklawn; and Sharp Witted, who is now 2-for-2 after paying $4.80 at Fair Grounds. Decider finished second at Gulfstream at odds of $4.90-1.
On Friday, March 1, among nine horses listed, Mike tabbed first-timer Impishness ($9.80) and Stephanie On Fleek ($22.40) at Gulfstream, and Miz Nightcap ($21.60) at Oaklawn. He also had one second at 3/5 at Aqueduct when the horse was left at the gate, one third at 5/2 at Gulfstream, and a fourth at Fair Grounds.
As good as those two days were, the next day turned out to be very special, featuring one winner rarely tabbed by any handicapper.
On Saturday, March 2, there were 26 listed, six were scratched. The bomber in the group turned out to be Jeltrin in the Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream - she paid $105!!! Other winners were Gallant Bid ($24) at Aqueduct, A Thread of Blue ($3) at Gulfstream, Awesome Alaina ($6.60) at Parx, and Twice Golden ($3.40) at Santa Anita. With Mind For Mischief (14-1) finishing second behind Twice Golden, the exacta paid $22. Aside from Mind For Mischief, there were five other seconds, at odds of 4/5, 5-1 (lost by a neck), 11-1, $1.30-1, and $4.30-1. There were also two thirds and four fourths. That means 17 of the 20 horses finished in the top four.
A $10 win bet on each of the 20 horses listed Saturday would have cost $200. The return would have been $710.
You have to admit, subscribing to BetBestBreeze.com is very tempting, and will become more so when this year's 2-year-olds begin to hit the tracks in April and May.
HALLANDALE BEACH – W.S. Farish’s Code of Honor rebounded from a disappointing effort in his 2019 debut to capture Saturday’s Gr. II, $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and stamp himself as a leading prospect for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby and the 2019 Triple Crown.
Code of Honor was saddled by Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who captured the 2013 Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby with Orb.
Code of Honor was sent to post at 9-1 for the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, which headlined a 14-race program highlighted by nine graded stakes, and produced the winning performance that had been expected of him in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man, in which he finished fourth as the 4-5 favorite. The son of Noble Mission’s winning kick was benefited by a hotly-contested pace set by Hidden Scroll, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Joel Rosario, who was pressed on his inside by longshot Gladiator King.
The winner broke from the No. 1 post position in the 11-horse field, and saved ground around the first turn. He was a comfortable fifth along the backstretch under John Velazquez as the pacesetters set dazzling fractions of 22.80 and 45.69 seconds for the first half mile. Hidden Scroll, who was only making his second career start after breaking his maiden by 14 lengths at Gulfstream on Jan. 26, shook off Gladiator King to open a lead on the far turn with Global Campaign in closest pursuit. Meanwhile, Velazquez left the rail with Code of Honor just long enough to go around Gladiator King on the far turn before ducking back to the rail to advance toward the leader. After putting away Global Campaign and Vekoma while cutting the corner into the homestretch, Code of Honor loomed as a serious threat while swinging to the outside in pursuit of Hidden Scroll.
Hidden Scroll shortened stride in the stretch after his early efforts as Code of Honor swept by on his way to victory. Bourbon War, who had won two of three starts, closed well to finish second, three-quarters of a length away and two lengths ahead of Vekoma.
Code of Honor ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.85, after he was trained more aggressively for the Fountain of Youth than the Mucho Macho Man.
“After the Mucho Macho Man, I said listen, we’re going to train him," McGaughey said. "If he takes it he takes it, and he took it. He was doing good with what we were putting into him, so we kept doing it and we felt like he was going to come down here and run well. I thought we drew a good post. We saved some ground going around the first turn and just be patient. We got the set up.”
Prior to the Mucho Macho Man, Code of Honor had broken his maiden at first asking at Saratoga in August before finishing a troubled second in the Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 6. He was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs but was scratched on race day due to spiking a fever.
McGaughey said he would weigh his options for Code of Honor’s next start. “I would prefer to stay here [for the Florida Derby], but I’m going to see,” McGaughey said. “A couple of them [Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and Blue Grass at Keeneland] are a little farther down the line, so we’ll see how he comes out of it. We’ll figure it out.”
HALLANDALE BEACH – Saturday’s 14-race program at Gulfstream Park, highlighted by Code of Honor’s victory in the 73rd running of the Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth, produced a record handle on Fountain of Youth Day of $31,230,535, a 9-percent increase over last year’s 14-race program.
Saturday’s program featured nine graded stakes races. Along with Code of Honor’s victory in the Fountain of Youth, 50-1 shot Jeltrin won the Gr. II, $200,000 Davona Dale and returned $105, A Thread of Blue won the Gr. III Palm Beach, Zulu Alpha won the Gr. II Mac Diarmida and Precieuse won the Gr. III Honey Fox.
The Fountain of Youth Day handle has grown every year since 2015, when total handle was $20.585 million.
“We want to thank all the fans who came out because there was such a great atmosphere here from early morning until late in the day,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “The horsemen supported our stakes and our program once again, and we’re continuing to build a strong partnership with them all. We’re looking forward to an incredible final month here punctuated by the $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday, March 30.
Rainbow 6 Carryover - The Rainbow 6 carryover will be $740,255 when racing resumes today with a noon first- race post time. Multiple winning tickets Saturday returned $147,928.76. The sequence will begin with the eighth race, a mile turf event for 3-year-olds.
Saturday’s 50-cent Late Pick 4 returned $2,345.95 while the 50-cent Late Pick 5 returned $16,309.65.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 11th consecutive day Friday, triggering a guaranteed jackpot pool of $750,000 for today’s 14-race Fountain of Youth Day program featuring nine graded stakes worth $1.65 million in purses.
First race post time is 11:30 a.m.
A total of $264,958 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $486,488 from Thursday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners Friday were each worth $29,667.06. Since the 2018-19Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit seven times, most recently for a $227,505.88 payout Feb. 15.
Today’s Rainbow 6 spans races 9-14 and includes four graded stakes led by the 73rd running of the Gr. II, $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth for 3-year-olds in Race 13. Also in the sequence are the Gr. III, $150,000 Honey Fox in Race 11 and Gr. II, $200,000 Mac Diarmida in Race 14, both on turf, and the Gr. II, $200,000 Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies in Race 12.
Other stakes on the program are the Gr. III, $150,000 Palm Beach in Race 4, Gr. III, $150,000 Canadian Turf in Race 5, Gr. III, $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint in Race 6, Gr. III, $150,000 The Very One in Race 7 and Gr. III, $150,000 Herecomesthebride in Race 8.
In addition to the Rainbow 6, there will be guaranteed pools of $750,000 in the 50-cent, all-stakes Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14) and $500,000 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 (Races 10-14).
Who’s Hot: Irad Ortiz Jr. added to his meet-leading totals with back-to-back winners Friday aboard Trapped At Sea ($9.20) in Race 9 and Amazing Audrey ($5.20) in Race 10. Younger brother Jose Ortiz also won twice with Mucho ($3) in Race 2 and Let’s Go Baby ($9) in Race 11, while Rafael Hernandez doubled on Emperor John ($3) in Race 3 and I’m Listening ($35) in Race 7.
If somebody took a poll of the nation's horse-playing public, from the plungers at the top down to the $2 bettors and everybody in-between, the number of different systems employed by that group to try to weed out winners would fill a book, maybe two.
It's coming up on 66 years since I made my first $2 bet on Dressy Lady in the eighth race at Belmont Park on the first Wednesday in June, two days before the last day of school. The system I used in my first foray into the game was quite simple - two of my senior-class buddies told me they liked her. In the time since, I've encountered just about every scheme the nation's punters use to find winners, including my all-time favorite offered to me by a gentleman at Gulfstream Park many years ago, "Always bet on gray horses in the winter."
By the way, Dressy Lady finished fourth.
But there's very little doubt that the area that confounds that horse-playing public the most is how to pick winners in 2-year-old maiden races at tracks across North America, especially in those early tests where every horse is a first-time starter. I have always been skeptical of the various methods touted by the analysts at TVG and elsewhere, like Beyer numbers, Ragozins, etc.
However, a couple of weeks ago I was introduced to betbestbreeze.com, an on-line site started by long-time Ocala horseman Mike Mulligan. The site professes to give players a much deeper insight into maiden races, based on Mulligan's expertise in the area of finding top juveniles while attending every 2-year-old sale in the country. Mike keeps a watchful eye on every colt and filly that breezes in the under tack shows - approximately 3,500 every year at OBS, Calder, Keeneland, Timonium and the new group in California - and evaluates them not only by their times, but by their physical attributes - the way they move, their stride, how they finish and several other facets that I don't understand, because every horse looks the same to me. He then rates each horse from 1 to 9, with 1 being the best. I'm told that only about 25 to 30 percent of the 2-year-olds get a rating of 9 or better.
When I first learned of Mike's site I was as skeptical as I have been about all the other guys. Then I began tracking the horses Mike pinpointed on his site - every day. It didn't take me long to realize he must be endowed with an expertise that few others have mastered. Of course, 10 days or so of results isn't nearly enough for me or anybody else to take a definitive stance on his method, but it's a good start.
What follows is a summary of how the horses listed in betbestbreeze have fared recently. He has 3 categories listed every day - first-time starters, other BBB horses to consider (who have made at least one start), and stakes horses, if any. My number in parentheses is the number Mike assigned to each horse. One consideration to understand in evaluating the results is that very often, 2 or 3 runners show up in the same race. Remember, it has been many months since the first-timers were initially evaluated. Another to consider is of the horses who have already started, a price of 6/5 or 2-1 means the horse has run well in his or her previous start(s).
Sunday, Feb. 24 - - There were 13 listed in the 3 categories. Results: 4 winners, 1 second, and 3 thirds.
In category 1, Pyron (1) won at Oaklawn Park and paid $11.80. Golden Notion (2) finished 2nd in the race, the exacta paid $32.80; Matcha (4) finished 3rd at Gulfstream at odds of 8-1 and had traffic trouble in the stretch; Safta (1) finished 3rd at Gulfstream at 5-1, made a huge close from dead last. In category 2, Bello Porte (2) won at Gulfstream and paid $7.80. In the same race, Lovely Luvy (5) finished 3rd; Two Sixteen (6) won at Laurel and paid $10.60, beating a 4/5 shot by a nose; She's a Problem won at Gulfstream and paid $16.80.
Saturday, Feb. 23 - - Category 1, Get the Goodies (1) won at Oaklawn and paid $6.80; Bullion (9) finished 2nd at Santa Anita at 9-1; My Cadet (8) finished 4th at Gulfstream, coming from out of the clouds and having to change course in mid-stretch. Category 2, Teenage Idol (2) won at Gulfstream and paid $15.40; Fleeterthan (3) finished 3rd at Oaklawn at 4-1; Gran Martillo (3) won at Santa Anita and paid $4.60; Free Cover finished 2nd by a nose at Fair Grounds at 4-1; Mountain Spirit finished 3rd at Santa Anita at .70 cents to a dollar; Category 3 (stakes), Just Ain't Right finished 3rd at Gulfstream at 10-1; Golden Lullaby finished 2nd at Sam Houston at 11-1; Maiden Beauty finished 4th at Aqueduct at 6-1.
Friday, Feb. 22 - - Category 2, Castle Casanova (4) won at Aqueduct and paid $3.60; Delta Gamma (4) finished 2nd at Aqueduct at 9/5; Happy Sophia (6) finished 2nd at Charles Town at 2-1.
Thursday, Feb. 21 - Category 2, Regal Retort (2) won at Aqueduct and paid $4.80; in the same race, Figure It Out (6) finished 2nd at 4-1, exacta paid $27.20; Gran Diamond (2) finished 2nd at Gulfstream at 5/2.
Wednesday, Feb. 20 - Category 2, Beautiful Lover (2) won and paid $3; in the same race, La Chauffeur finished 2nd at 13-1, exacta paid $24.80; Collins Ave. (3) finished 3rd at Gulfstream at 2-1; Exsqueeze (8) finished 3rd at Sam Houston at .70 cents.
To cut this short, I'll continue with the previous few days in one paragraph. Aqueduct, London House (2) won and paid $8.80; in the same race, Rally Cap finished 2nd at 8-1, exacta paid $32; Oaklawn, Comedian won and paid $11.60; in the same race, Incorrigible finished 2nd at 17-1, exacta paid $161.40; Category 1, Saratoga Promise (3) won and paid $4.30, was 8-1 in Morning Line; Clever Tale ((5) finished 2nd by half a nose at 9-1; Camgo (1) won at Tampa and paid $3.60; Cohete Rojo ((3) finished 2nd at Fair Grounds at 7-1; Scoreswhenhewants (7) finished 2nd at Tampa at 7/2. In category 1, Shancealot won at Gulfstream and paid $27.60; in same race, Bodexpress finished 2nd at 7-1, exacta paid $165.80, and Fort Worth (2) finished 3rd as favorite; in Category 1, Get the Prize won at Fair Grounds and paid $19.
That's not all by far, and that's not to say there haven't been losers, too. But the winners and the returns, for me, have far outweighed the losers.
Again, this is only a less than two-week sample, but it's hard to dispute the information posted on BBB. I have to confess I have hit many of the winners in the aforementioned paragraphs, including some of the juicy exactas. I'll continue to play as long as Mike keeps hitting home runs.
OLDSMAR – A great many racing fans took notice when long-time observer Steve Haskin moved Win Win Win into the top half of his “Derby Dozen” rankings at bloodhorse.com following the colt’s record-shattering victory in the 7-furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 19.
This week, Haskin raised Win Win Win to the No. 4 spot, behind Bob Baffert’s 1-2 punch of Game Winner and Improbable and Risen Star Stakes winner War of Will. As if to affirm Haskin’s high opinion, Win Win Win breezed 5 furlongs from the gate this morning in 59 1/5 seconds with Antonio Gallardo aboard, the fastest of 33 recorded times at the distance.
The Live Oak Plantation homebred, who is among 54 nominees for the 39th renewal of the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9, appears ready to take the next step toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby.
Even veteran trainer Michael Trombetta, who saddled Sweetnorthernsaint to a Kentucky Derby appearance and a second-place Preakness finish to Bernardini in 2006, is starting to get that faraway, springtime-in-Louisville look. “He is one of those kind of horses that does what you tell him to do. If I want him to work a half-mile in 52 seconds, he does it, and if I need him to work faster than that he’ll do that, too,” Trombetta said. “I’ve made several trips here to watch him work, and he is doing everything I would have hoped for going into (the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby). He’s very willing to do whatever you need himto do, and when you ask him to do more, he does more.”
What Win Win Win hasn’t done in his four-race career, as Trombetta is quick to acknowledge, is race around two turns. That would change in the Tampa Bay Derby, contested at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track.
The Florida-bred’s breeding would suggest he’ll go even farther than eight-and-a-half furlongs; both his paternal and maternal grandsires, Sunday Silence and Smarty Jones, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished second in the Belmont. But there are no guarantees at this level, and Trombetta knows March 9 is something of an acid test for his promising youngster.
“We’re hoping he can get us to those distances, but I truly don’t know. He needs to show that he’s good enough to do that – they all do,” Trombetta said. “There will be plenty of good horses in that starting gate as they’re all starting to converge on these bigger races, so this is the next test. We’ve been putting some nice gallops and nice breezes under him and he is doing everything he’s supposed to, so I’m as anxious as anyone else to see what he will do.”
The Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, awarding 50, 20, 10 and 5 points to the top four finishers toward one of the maximum 20 spots in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. It is also one of five stakes scheduled here on March 9, with total purse money for those races a cool $1-million.
Two other graded stakes are scheduled on the turf: the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile-and-an-eighth, and the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth. The other stakes are the $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds racing a mile on the turf.
Win Win Win, bred by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud, is 3-for-4 with earnings of $127,300, his only defeat coming to Alwaysmining in the Heft Stakes at Laurel on Dec. 29 after he walked out of the gate and was about 10 lengths behind heading down the backstretch. He made a good run into the stretch but his ability to catch the pacesetter was compromised when Alwaysmining had him pinned to the rail.
In the Pasco three weeks later, Win Win Win drew off by seven-and-a-quarter lengths in 1:20.89 for 7 furlongs, bettering the track record by .51 seconds. He's won his three races by a total of 14 1/4 lengths.
Other Tampa Bay Derby nominees on Haskin’s “Derby Dozen” list are No. 5 Signalman, a Ken McPeek-trained colt who finished third in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and won the Gr. II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs in his most recent start; No. 7 Omaha Beach, a Richard Mandella-trained colt who broke his maiden in impressive fashion on Feb. 2 at Santa Anita after three consecutive runner-up efforts; No. 10 Hidden Scroll, from the barn of Bill Mott, who won his only start on Jan. 26 at Gulfstream; and No. 11 Dream Maker, under the care of Mark Casse, now 2-for-4 after a recent allowance/optional claiming victory at Fair Grounds.
McPeek won the 1999 Tampa Bay Derby with Pineaff, while Mott captured the 1997 running with Zede and Casse the 2012 race with Prospective.
Stonehedge Farm's Sam F. Davis triumph with Well Defined has earned the colt honorable-mention status, Haskin surmising several of his ancestors possess the stamina influence to make him dangerous at the Tampa Bay Derby distance and beyond.
Five-time Tampa Bay Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher has nominated nine sophomores to the race, including Sam F. Davis third-place finisher So Alive, and Spinoff, a good-looking allowance/optional claiming winner at Tampa on Friday. Pletcher’s Tampa Bay Derby winners are Limehouse (2004), Verrazano (2013), Carpe Diem (2015), Destin (2016) and Tapwrit (2017).
HALLANDALE BEACH – Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. continued his recent hot hand by riding four winners, including his 100th of the 2018-19 Championship Meet Friday at Gulfstream Park.
The 26-year-old native of Puerto Rico hit the seasonal milestone with 1-2 favorite Matzo Bella ($3) in Race 6, a five-furlong turf race for maiden 3-year-old fillies. He also took Race 3 aboard 4-5 top choice Battle of Memphis ($3.80), Race 7 on 9-5 favorite Livin a Dream ($5.80) and Race 11 on 7-5 betting choice Mo’s Ride ($4.80).“It feels great. We’re doing so good right now,” Ortiz said. “My agent [Jay Rushing] does a great job and the owners and trainers help me a lot. They give me a lot of chances, so I just enjoy and do the best I can.”
Ortiz has registered 30 wins over the past nine racing days to overtake two-time defending champion Luis Saez as the meet’s leading rider. Ortiz, who received his first career Eclipse in last month’s ceremony at Gulfstream, now has put together nine consecutive multi-win days, including a six-win afternoon on Feb. 18.
“It’s been very hot the last couple weeks," Ortiz said. "I’m so blessed right now. I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, to be on that kind of roll. I’m just enjoying the moment and I’m so happy.”
In 2017-18, his first full winter at Gulfstream, Ortiz ranked second in both wins (101) and purses ($4.8 million), and became just the fourth rider in track history to reach 100 wins following Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, Paco Lopez and Saez. Winner of a meet-record 137 races last winter, Saez has been out serving a pair of five-day suspensions. Ortiz now holds a 102-84 lead over Saez in the standings, and also ranks first with more than $6.7 million in purse earnings.
Rainbow 6 Carryover Grows
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the sixth consecutive day Friday, and the carryover jackpot grew to $249,414.03 for today's’s 11-race program. A total of $184,512 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $205,137.61 from Thursday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners Friday were each worth $153.
WHO'S HOT - Emisael Jaramillo visited the winner’s circle three times Friday, aboard Dance Till Dawn ($13.20) in Race 1, Gran Paraiso ($17.20) in Race 5 and High Flying Guy ($5.80) in Race 9.
LAUREL, MD –The Stronach 5 will have a record pool Friday when the national wager with an industry-low 12-percent takeout begins with a carryover of $169,305.51.
The Stronach 5 will kick off at 4:35 p.m. with the ninth race at Laurel Park. It will be followed by a pair of turf races from Gulfstream Park and a five-furlong dash from Golden Gate Fields, before finishing at Santa Anita Park with an allowance optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill course.
There were no winning tickets in last week’s Stronach 5 after there was a $140 winner at Golden Gate and an $89.20 winner at Gulfstream.
Stronach 5 past performances: http://www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/stronach-pick-5
? Leg One – Laurel Park, 9th Race – (10 entries, 6 furlongs) 4:35 ET, 1:35 PT
? Leg Two - Gulfstream Park, 10th Race - (16 entries, 1 1/16 miles, turf) 5:12 ET, 2:12 PT
? Leg Three – Gulfstream Park, 11th Race – (16 entries, one mile, turf) 5:42 ET, 2:42 PT
? Leg Four – Golden Gate Fields, 5th Race – (12 entries, 5 furlongs) 5:54 ET, 2:54 PT
? Leg Five – Santa Anita Park, 5th Race – (12 entries, 6 ½ furlongs, turf) 6:-07 ET, 3:07 PT
The minimum wager on the Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday. For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Hot riding Irad Ortiz Jr. notched his sixth straight multi-win day Monday, riding six winners, five in starter stakes, on the President's Day program at Gulfstream Park.
The reigning Eclipse Award winner scored aboard Lucky Long ($3.60) in the $60,000 Mary Todd (Race 5), Wildwood Dancer ($4.80) in the $60,000 Rail Splitter (Race 6), Midtown Rose ($4.40) in the $60,000 Queen Mother (Race 8), Zulu ($6.20) in the $60,000 Old Hickory (Race 10), Your Only Man ($6.20) in the $60,000 Old Man Eloquent (Race 11), and Souper Jaguar ($5.80) in a maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds on turf (Race 12).
The six-win day, which was one win short of the Gulfstream record co-held by Luis Saez, Tyler Gaffalione and Jerry Bailey, was a personal best for Ortiz. “It’s amazing winning six races in one day," Ortiz said. "I’m so happy. I’m blessed. I’m just happy to be able to stay healthy and ride these kind of horses. My agent [Steve Rushing] does a great job and the owners and trainers, they give me the opportunity. I appreciate that.” Ortiz has won 22 races in the last six racing days at Gulfstream.
RAINBOW 6 GROWS AGAIN - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Wednesday’s program will be $119,458.32. The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for three racing days after an Xpressbet player hit the jackpot for a $227,505 payoff last Friday. Multiple tickets with all six winners Monday were each worth $4,429.88
WHO ELSE IS HOT - Leading trainer Jorge Navarro tripled with Starship Reina ($4.80) in the $50,000 Lady Bird (Race 2), Wildwood Dancer and Zulu.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Trainer Jorge Navarro unveiled an exciting 3-year-old prospect in Saturday’s well-stocked third race at Gulfstream Park, saddling Shancelot ($27.60) for a sizzling front-running debut victory.
Owned by Gelfenstein Farm and Albert and Michelle Crawford, the son of Shanghai Bobby ran seven furlongs in 1:22.15 after posting dazzling fractions of 22.27, 44.29 and 1:08.82 under Emisael Jaramillo. Shancelot held gamely to hold off a determined late bid by Bodexpress, who finished 5 ½ lengths clear of favored Fort Worth.
The finish was a tribute to Ocalan Mike Mulligan's picks on his BetBestBreeze website, with the first three finishers all spotted by him in his pre-race selections. Mike travels to all the 2-year-old sales and gives each horse a number from 1 (the best) to 9 based on the under tack shows, incorporating many more factors than just the horse's clocking. He has quite a record for spotting winners their first time out, and Shancelot was one of them, along with Bodexpress and Fort Worth. Shancelot had been given the top number, while Bodexpress was a 5 and Fort Worth a 2.
“Albert and Michelle Crawford and Gelfenstein Farm gave me an opportunity to go to the sales. They spent a lot of money on babies,” Navarro said. “We bought six and this one was working like [he just ran].” Shancelot was purchased for $245,000 at the 2018 OBS March sale. “I loved the way he worked – the gallop-out,” Navarro said. “The gallop-out was amazing.”
Navarro’s success has come primarily with older horses, such as X Y Jet, Private Zone, Sharp Azteca, Delta Bluesman and Aztec Sense, but Shancelot’s eye-catching debut provides his stable with a new dimension. “He’s kind of built like Sharp Azteca. He reminds me of Sharp Azteca,” Navarro said. “When he works in the morning he reminds me of Sharp Azteca.”
One race later, trainer Mario Pino sent out first-time starter Karama ($5.80) for an extremely impressive debut. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy totally dominated five other 3-year-old fillies during a front-running triumph under Nik Juarez to win by 4 ½ lengths. The Shadwell homebred filly ran seven furlongs in 1:23.19 on fractions of 22.42, 45.07 and 1:09.80.
Who’s Hot: Streaking Irad Ortiz Jr. won three more races Saturday to move into a tie with two-time Championship Meet titlist Luis Saez at the top of the jockey standings, 84-84. Ortiz, who has won 13 races on the last four programs in the absence of Saez, scored aboard Blamed ($3.80) in the $150,000 Royal Delta in Race 11, as well as winning with Stronger Kat ($3.40) in Race 8 and Flowmotion ($6.80) in Race 12.
Thumbs up to Bill Mott for a good piece of replay watching at Gulfstream Park last Saturday.
Mott had Bill Schettine's Krampus running in the 11th race, the $100,000 El Prado Stakes at about 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf; Manoel Cruz was the rider. In the mad dash to the wire, Krampus, still in contention, was chopped off badly between eventual winner Hembree to his right and runner-up Mr. Cub to his left. Cruz stood straight up, then continued to ride Krampus to the wire, finishing fifth.
In the aftermath, Cruz claimed foul against Hembree and rider Irad Ortiz, and Mott, apparently, went right to the replay TVs. What he saw, along with thousands of others, was that Hembree had kept a straight course through the lane and that it was Mr. Cub, with Chris Landeros, who had made a huge right turn toward Hembree and it was he who cut off Krampus. So Mott called the stewards and claimed against the runner-up.
The stewards agreed with Mott, because the infraction was obvious, and disqualified Mr. Cub to fifth, behind Krampus, who was moved up to fourth. The difference in purse money wasn't great - Krampus went from the $2,790 for fifth to $4,650 for fourth - but in this game, every penny counts and owner Schettine will accept it.
Almost lost in the incident was that Hembree, a 5-year-old by Proud Citizen, broke the course record for the distance, putting 1:27.06 on the teletimer.
OLDSMAR - The celebration at the Kathleen O’Connell Racing Stables barn was relatively subdued after Saturday’s Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes victory by Well Defined on Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South. But it continued into Sunday afternoon, as well-wishers paid heartfelt tribute to the 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding, his trainer and her staff.
Paula Bacon, the agent for winning jockey Pablo Morales, bought a case of cool ones for everyone to toast the winner Saturday night. O’Connell enjoyed a glass of wine at home and prepared for a typical pre-dawn arrival to supervise Sunday's activities. One of O’Connell’s owners, Joe DiBello, bought steaks for an afternoon cookout. “I think he had a ticket on (Well Defined),” O’Connell said with a sly smile.
Any time a locally-based outfit wins a major stakes, the result is enjoyed throughout the barn area by the track’s rank-and-file owners, trainers, grooms, hot walkers and exercise riders, who know how difficult it is just to get a horse to a big-money race. In the case of O’Connell, who first arrived at Tampa Bay Downs in 1976 as a gallop person when women were not universally accepted on the backside and started her own stable in 1981, the feelings are especially heartfelt.
Throughout the day, she felt the presence of her late parents, Joseph and Arlene, who died within a recent three-month span after being married 68 years. But there were no bittersweet feelings in the winner’s circle as O’Connell and her crew exulted. “Yesterday was special because it was at Tampa and I’ve been at this track every year since 1976,” said O’Connell, whose first racetrack license from Detroit Race Course in 1970 stated her occupation as “Pony Boy.” She first went to the racetrack when her application for Michigan State’s veterinary school was turned down despite her 3.8 grade-point average and four years of 4-H experience.
“When I came here, I could see the writing on the wall as far as Michigan racing not moving forward, plus I’d had pneumonia three times. I moved here (permanently) in 1984 because it was such a good place to train and live, so it’s like this is home,” she said.
Also enjoying the hometown vibe Saturday was trainer Arnaud Delacour, who sent out Lael Stables’ 6-year-old mare Hawksmoor to win the Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes on the turf in a thriller under jockey Javier Castellano.
In the day’s other stakes races, Inspector Lynley won the Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on the turf for the second time in three years, and 3-year-old filly Point of Honor won the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes.
O’Connell reported that Well Defined came out of the race in good shape and will be shipped back to his Gulfstream Park West base in the next day or two. “His group is there; Sebastian Madrid is his regular exercise rider, and Jose Gutierrez, who has worked for me for 18 years, is his regular breeze rider,” she said, “so it’s just been a big team effort.
The game Sam F. Davis runner-up, Godolphin’s colt Kentucky Wildcat, was vanned off after the race. Trainer Tom Albertrani told the Daily Racing Form he incurred a right-foreleg injury and will likely undergo surgery this week in Ocala, putting his racing future in question.
Well Defined earned 10 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points. O’Connell’s lone Kentucky Derby starter to date is 2011 Tampa Bay Derby winner Watch Me Go.
The addition of blinkers appeared to give Well Defined the focus to follow Morales’ cues to perfection, sprint smartly to the lead at the outset and keep his mind on the business of winning throughout the mile-and-a-sixteenth event. “He’s a little on the immature side, and I had even thought about blinkers before he ran his first race just to try to get him focused,” O’Connell said. “I figured (the Sam F. Davis) was time, and I think the blinkers and Pablo getting him out of the gate and in good position were big factors.
“I told Pablo before the race it wasn’t like he had to be in front, but he did have to be forwardly placed. It brought back visions of the $400,000 In Reality Stakes he won at Gulfstream (by 7 ½ lengths, on Sept. 29),” she said.
O’Connell said she would discuss Well Defined’s next start with owners Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell; local fans are keeping their fingers crossed it will be in the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. Like Watch Me Go and a number of other talented O’Connell-trained stakes-winners – Blazing Sword, Ivanavinalot, Scandalous Act and Fly by Phil, to name a few – Well Defined is a product of long-time client Gilbert Campbell’s Florida breeding program (Well Defined competes under Campbell and wife Marilyn’s Stonehedge, LLC banner).
“It’s a tremendous testament to Mr. Campbell’s influence and his program, and I couldn’t be happier for them,” O’Connell said. “He has put a lot into the business over the years, and he’s a very patient owner. If a horse needs time, they get time. It’s good to have a rapport with your owners where you can discuss what races would fit them best.
“Florida-bred horses can be great horses, it’s been proven over the years. I know (the state-bred program) has been suffering a little, but they breed outstanding horses. I’ve been blessed to win awards for training the most Florida-bred winners and so on, and when I get those awards I can feel the passion and the love in the room from breeders and owners for what they do. It’s a rewarding feeling,” she said.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The Mandatory payout of Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 Saturday, which reached $8.2 million, returned $100,919 to multiple tickets with all six winners. It wasn’t an easy ticket to hit.
The Rainbow 6 got off to a surprise when Papa Y, a 50-1 shot who had failed to hit the board in four previous tries, went wire-to-wire and returned $118. After the 12-1 Trilby ($26.60) won the second leg, there were only 22,129 live tickets remaining.
There was a $1,509,922 million carryover going into the day and $6,754,787 of new money wagered Saturday.
Global Campaign Leads Promising 3-Year-Olds
There were several races featuring 3-year-olds Saturday, but none were more impressive than Sagamore Farm LLC’s and WinStar Farm LLC’s Global Campaign, who drew off from Gr. 1-placed Standard Deviation down the stretch to win going 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.29. Trained by Stanley Hough and ridden by leading jockey Luis Saez, Global Campaign’s victory followed an equally impressive winning debut here Jan. 5 at seven furlongs.
“He’s a talented horse,” Hough said. “Obviously, you don’t know the first time two turns for a lot of them, but, gosh, he handled it well.” So what’s next for the undefeated son of Curlin who brought $250,000 at auction? “We don’t know,” Hough said. “Hopefully, it will be one of the many races coming up. The Fountain of Youth is a possibility.”
In other races featuring 3-year-olds, Mathis Stable LLC’s Last Judgement, a $300,000 son of Congrats, broke his maiden at second asking. After being a bit difficult to load, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt won by a length going six furlongs in 1:10.13 under John Velazquez.
Pletcher and Velazquez were back in the winner’s circle some 60 minutes later with Cheyenne Stables LLC’s Angelia. The daughter of Curlin, stretching out around two turns for the first time, won with 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.95. It was Angelia’s fourth start.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Averill Racing and Matties Racing’s Pay Any Price, the North American record- holder for five furlongs on the turf, got his 9-year-old season off to a successful start with a front-running victory Friday at Gulfstream Park. Ridden by Championship Meet leader Luis Saez for trainer Georgina Baxter, Pay Any Price was favored at 1-5 against five rivals in the $31,000 starter optional claimer for 4-year-olds and up. The final time was 55.11 seconds over a firm course, well off his record time of 53.61 set winning Gulfstream’s 2017 Silks Run.
“He’s so special to our barn and special to everyone, really," Baxter said. "I have to thank Richard and Mr. Matties for letting me train him. It’s his first run of the year, so it’s good to see him in the winner’s circle. I always get nervous when he runs. You never know quite what he’s going to do.”
Don’t Be So Salty, left as the primary pace threat for Pay Any Price following the early scratch of Gran Malbec, broke in a tangle from the gate allowing Pay Any Price to establish the tempo. He was unhurried through a quarter-mile in 21.93 seconds with only mild pressure from 17-1 shot Royal Squeeze.
Pay Any Price went a half-mile in a sizzling 43.77 and straightened for home still in command, opening up on the field in the stretch and geared down approaching the wire by Saez as Bushrod came running late to pass Royal Squeeze for second.
It was the 16th win from 26 career starts for Pay Any Price, and 13th of 18 at Gulfstream for the gelding who was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last fall but was left on the also-eligible list. He missed a start in the Turf Dash at Tampa when he broke through the gate, then dueled with Turf Dash winner Vision Perfect before tiring to third in the Janus Stakes on Dec. 29 at Gulfstream, his first start in 3 ½ months. He was entered again in the $150,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint on Jan. 26, but was removed when the race was taken off the grass.
Baxter said the $75,000 Silks Run on March 9 at Gulfstream would be the next target for Pay Any Price. His win was the second of the day for his trainer, who also sent out R Next Roll ($7.60) in Race 3.
Rainbow 6 Carryover at $1.5 Million for Mandatory Payout
There will be a carryover jackpot of $1,509,922 heading into today's mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6, after the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 23rd consecutive racing day Friday. The entire pool, including the carryover jackpot, could approach $10 million and will be paid out to all those holding tickets with the most winners, offering the potential for a truly life-changing payoff.
The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 7-12 and will feature the $100,000 El Prado Stakes in Race 11. Hembree headlines the 13-horse field for the 7 ½-furlong turf sprint for older horses.
A total of $403,175 was bet into Friday’s Rainbow 6, which began with a carryover of $1,413,193 from Thursday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $7,782.78. Since the Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit five times, most recently for a $188,900.81 payout on Jan. 9.
Who’s Hot: The meet’s top two riders each added a pair of winners to their totals Friday. Two-time defending champ and current leader Luis Saez was first with Pay Any Price ($2.60) in Race 8 and Benefactor ($11.20) in Race 11, while Irad Ortiz Jr. scored on Tuesday’s Rose ($3.60) in Race 2 and Mybigitalianfriend ($2.80) in Race 6.
OLDSMAR - After winning the 2006 Sam F. Davis Stakes and finishing second in the (then)-Gr. III Tampa Bay Derby, Bluegrass Cat rallied for a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, behind the ill-fated Barbaro.
That’s the closest a Sam F. Davis entrant has come to winning the Run for the Roses, but the law of averages suggests that drought could end in the near future (wishful thinking, admittedly, by Tampa Bay Downs officials, and completely discarding the Bob Baffert factor). Since 2004, the Sam F. Davis – which achieved Gr. III status in 2009 – has produced at least one Kentucky Derby starter in all but two years.
In the last three years, the $250,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth Sam F. Davis has yielded a Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and Belmont Stakes winner in Tapwrit; a Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner, Belmont runner-up and multiple-Gr. II winner in Destin; a Gr. I winner on both dirt and turf in Catholic Boy; and McCraken, who set a then-track record of 1:42.45 in the 2017 Sam F. Davis and just missed that summer in the Gr. I betfair.com Haskell Invitational.
And Bluegrass Cat didn’t fare too badly after the Kentucky Derby, finishing second in the Belmont and Travers and winning the Haskell Invitational.
So when a group of 3-year-old colts enters the starting gate on Saturday for this year’s Sam F. Davis, it’s important to remember this is an early sophomore prep and that several (most, in fact, if their trainers have their way) are still maturing physically and mentally toward peak career performances.
Inaugurated in 1981, the same year as the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, the Sam F. Davis has been won by a veritable “who’s-who” of trainers: Todd Pletcher (six times), Nick Zito, John Terranova II, Kiaran McLaughlin, Ian Wilkes and Mark Casse. Their fondness for the track’s deep, sand-based surface that promotes fitness and endurance is further proof of the race’s importance, as is its status as a “Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Season” points race.
The 145th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is May 4.
The Sam F. Davis is the centerpiece of Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South, with four stakes worth $750,000 in purse money, three of the graded-stakes variety. Among those confirmed as likely to compete are Gr. I winner Knicks Go, from the barn of Ben Colebrook, who breezed 4 furlongs in 48 seconds flat. Also confirmed as likely participants are trainer Arnaud Delacour’s Five Star General, a stakes-winner at Aqueduct last fall, who breezed 5 furlongs here in 1:01 1/5; and Pletcher’s So Alive, a conditional allowance winner here on Jan. 6 and a son of Pletcher’s 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, who finished third in that year’s Tampa Bay Derby.
Also confirmed as likely Sam F. Davis starters are H. Graham Motion’s Still Dreaming; Kentucky Wildcat, trained by Thomas Albertrani; Counter Offer, trained by Wilkes; and Cave Run, trained by Eoin Harty. Kathleen O’Connell’s stakes-winner Well Defined, Pletcher’s Country House and Bill Mott’s Tacitus are currently listed as possible Sam F. Davis starters.
A pair of Gr. III turf stakes are on tap on Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South – the $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour for fillies and mares 4-years-old and upward, and the $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward. Both are at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s City of Light concluded his racing career in electric fashion Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a brilliant 5 ¾-length triumph in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
The third edition of the Pegasus World Cup, richest race in North America, co-headlined the 12-race program with the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, North America’s richest turf race won by Bricks and Mortar.
The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series was offered in concert with world-class entertainment provided by Snoop Dogg and Golden Globe-winning artist Mark Ronson at Gulfstream’s Pegasus LIV Stretch Village,
Having split his first two meetings with Accelerate, City of Light got the better of the 3-2 favorite in their final showdown before both multiple Gr. 1 winners head off to Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, KY to begin their new careers as stallions.
Sent to post as the 9-5 second betting choice in a field of 12, City of Light stalked the pace set by Patternrecognition around the first turn and along the backstretch past fractions of 23.23 and 46.84 seconds for the first half-mile. The Michael McCarthy-trained 5-year-old inherited the lead on the far turn when Patternrecognition dropped back, and opened a clear lead on the turn into the homestretch, where Joel Rosario put Accelerate into a full drive after tracking City of Light throughout the running. Set down for the drive by Javier Castellano entering the stretch, City of Light responded to draw away with compete authority.
“I had a perfect trip," Castellano said. " That’s what I was looking for today. I know Patternrecognition on the outside has speed. I had to use him a little bit early to get the position I was looking for. Watching all the races, speed was holding pretty good. The track is in good condition. We got a lot of rain, nothing we can do. I think it worked out perfect.”
Castellano also rode City of Light to a 2 ¾-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. “I used the horse a little bit to get my spot, and then tried to control the race all the way," he said. "This is just amazing. It’s what we all want, to be able to win a race like this.”
Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, who finished second behind City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, rallied from off the pace along the rail to finish second again behind the McCarthy trainee. “He ran great," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "Nice horse, a great horse that beat us. He [jockey John Velazquez] said he got stopped on the turn; that might have cost us a little bit. It would have been great to have been first, but our horse ran great. I’m very proud of him.”
City of Light ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.71 over a sloppy track to conclude his career with his sixth victory and fourth Gr. 1 success in 11 starts. “It’s just wonderful," McCarthy said. "When he broke well and was able to kind of ease out outside of horses coming to the mile pole, I was very, very happy. Turning up the backside, Javier eased him off the fence. It looked like everybody was content with their position up the backside. When Javier started moving at the half-mile pole, it didn’t appear that anybody was really pressuring him. He was able to go ahead and hold off his run for a little bit. Once he switched leads coming into the lane, you saw what happened. It was over. I’m very happy for the horse. He’s an amazing animal, an amazing athlete.”
Accelerate finished third, another 1 ½ lengths back and 4 ¾ lengths ahead of Bravazo. John Sadler-trained Accelerate, who earned the Eclipse Award as 2018’s outstanding older dirt male Thursday evening at Gulfstream, entered the Pegasus on a streak of four Gr. 1 wins, including a victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic last time out.
“This horse you have to ride him the whole time, and he was comfortable," rider Joel Rosario said. "I thought he was fine where he was and turning for home he looked OK, but Javier had so much horse. When he turned him loose he just went on. My horse kept trying but the horse in front had a better trip.”
Audible finished fifth, followed by Gunnevera, True Timber, Imperative, Tom’s d’Etat, Something Awesome, Kukulkan and Patternrecognition, who had nothing left after setting all the pace.
Conrad Farms’ Shamrock Rose, voted 2018’s Champion Female Sprinter, ended her 3-year-old campaign with four straight stakes wins, the last a victory in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. The newly- turned 4-year-old daughter of Double Diamond Farm's First Dude was purchased for $120,000 out of the Best A Luck Farm LLC consignment at the 2017 OBS April Sale after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat.
Trained by Mark Casse, Shamrock Rose is now 10-5-2-1 with $917,687 in earnings. She’s the second OBS graduate to win the Filly and Mare Sprint and Eclipse Award, following in the footsteps of April Sale graduate Musical Romance, who accomplished the feat in 2011. First Dude was Florida's leading sire in 2018 with progeny earnings of nearly $5 million.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Accelerate schooled in the paddock at Gulfstream Park during Thursday’s first race in preparation for his start in Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational. “He’s the picture of health,” said Juan Leyva, assistant to trainer John Sadler, while watching the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the Pegasus get acquainted with the paddock and walking ring.”
Accelerate, who arrived from Southern California Tuesday evening, was accompanied during the schooling session by stablemate Catapult, Woodford Racing’s 6-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy who is rated second at 7-2 in the morning line for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.
“They’re both doing really well. They’ve taken to their surroundings very well,” said Leyva, who rode in South Florida before retiring in 2017 and joining Sadler’s stable in Southern California. “The first day it was just getting acclimated a little to the humidity here, but now they’re doing awesome. They’re bright. They’re happy.”
Accelerate, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, is a finalist for the 2018 Horse of the Year title that will be announced at Thursday evening’s Eclipse Awards dinner in Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings facility.
Todd Pletcher-trained Audible’s Pegasus World Cup stock plunged when the 4-year-old colt was upset at 1-10 odds in his Gulfstream Park prep for the 1 1/8-mile event for older horses. The son of Into Mischief lost the Dec. 15 Harlan’s Holiday by a half-length, faltering late after closing with a five-wide run from off the pace over a sloppy track. The Pegasus offers Audible an opportunity to redeem himself on the same track over which he rallied to win by three lengths in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby on March 31. Pletcher is hopeful that the Pegasus will set up as nicely for his 10-1 morning-line shot as it did in Gulfstream’s signature race for 3-year-olds.
“It looks like a race should have a legitimate pace, and I think Audible should appreciate that. The Florida Derby had a hot contested pace and he ran very well in that situation,” said Pletcher, whose trainee went on to finish a troubled third in the Kentucky Derby. “The Kentucky Derby had a smart pace as well. He’s the kind of horse that likes to run in a race where he can settle and later on make a run into solid fractions.” Flavien Prat takes over for Javier Castellano, who has opted to ride Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light.
The Pegasus will be the last race in the careers of City of Light and Accelerate, who will both stand at stud this year at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky, but it will provide others in the field of 12 a lucrative opportunity to start off the 2019 season. “I think because of the positioning of the Pegasus it allows two horses this year like City of Light and Accelerate, who are going to stud, to have a chance to run at a significant purse," Pletcher said. "It’s also a good starting point if you’re planning to run all year. There’s good spacing between the Pegasus and the Dubai World Cup. More than anything, it gives Gulfstream that marquee race. It’s always had the Florida Derby and the Donn, but this is kind of a must-see race.”
Dirt Could be Next for Pegasus Turf Favorite Yoshida
Yoshida, 5-2 program favorite for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, may find himself back on dirt after competing in North America’s richest grass race. Trainer Bill Mott hinted a second international trip may be in store for 5-year-old Yoshida, who finished fifth by 1 ¼ lengths in the Queen Anne Stakes last summer at Royal Ascot.
“I guess if he comes out of the Pegasus well, we’ll probably try to go to the Dubai World Cup with him,” Mott said. Boosted to $12 million for 2019, it will be held March 30 at Meydan Racecourse.
Yoshida is a rare Gr. 1 winner on both surfaces, having captured the Turf Classic on the 2018 Kentucky Derby undercard in his 4-year-old debut. He made his first 10 career starts on the grass before a two-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward Sept. 1 at Saratoga.
“Going into it, he had never actually had a race on the dirt," Mott said. "He had worked on the dirt all the time and he had worked well enough, but you never really know until you put them out there in the afternoon. To see him split the field at the head of the lane and run on the way he did was very pleasing. I had no idea what the outcome was going to be. You can pretend to have that crystal ball and know what the outcome is going to be but until you actually see it I think you don’t really know.”
Mott kept Yoshida on the dirt for the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he was a rallying fourth under Jose Ortiz – 1 ¾ lengths behind Horse of the Year finalist Accelerate, and a nose out of third. Gunnevera, who returns in the Pegasus, was second. Ortiz returns to ride in the Pegasus Turf.
“He ran so well in the Breeders’ Cup Classic," Mott said. "I think he got beat less than two lengths, had a little bit of a wide trip turning for home. He opted to swing wide in that particular spot and he was beaten by two very good horses. With a great trip, maybe he would have been second. Who knows? He’s shown us time after time between the Woodward and also the Breeders’ Cup Classic that those are the races that he should be in at the moment.”
With the same ownership group having Audible in the Pegasus, the decision was made to put Yoshida back on grass for the Pegasus Turf. He has been first or second in seven of 10 career turf races, earning $889,770 of his $1.6 million bankroll.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby winner, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.91 Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.
“Audible’s training really well," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "I’ve been pleased with all of his works, particularly this morning. It was a good, solid five-eighths with a strong gallop-out that we were looking for. All indications are he’s in good form and coming up to the race very well.”
Audible worked in company inside Impact Player before drawing clear in the stretch and galloping out well ahead of his workmate.
Owned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners LLC and Starlight Racing, Audible followed up his Florida Derby triumph with a troubled third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby before going to the sideline for six months. The son of Into Mischief fired fresh to win the seven-furlong Cherokee Run on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 but faltered in his most recent start, finishing second in the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday on Dec. 15 over a sloppy Gulfstream track.
“It wasn’t what we were hoping for," Pletcher said. "We needed a race to build him up for the Pegasus. It didn’t go as planned. He was a prohibitive favorite. Unfortunately, before the race, the skies opened and we got a downpour into a harrowed track. They tried to seal it after that but it was too late. I think, more than anything, he didn’t like the condition of the track. He didn’t fire his best shot. He came out of it well and has trained better than ever coming into the Pegasus. It served its purpose in terms of conditioning.”
Pletcher noted that the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus will be Audible’s third start off a layoff, widely viewed as a positive from handicapping and conditioning perspectives. “We eased back into it after the Harlan’s Holiday," Pletcher said. "We’ve put some good, solid five-eighths into him and I’ve been particularly pleased with the way he’s galloped out. This will be his third start off the layoff. I think a mile and an eighth is ideal for him, especially if there’s a good contested pace. That’s important for him. He likes to settle early. If we can get some good solid fractions. Some of the main contenders have a lot of speed. If they mix it up a little bit, I think he’ll benefit from that.”
Gunnevera ‘a Different Horse’ Heading into the Pegasus
Gunnevera continues to please trainer Antonio Sano with his preparation for the Pegasus World Cup. The 5-year-old son of Dialed In breezed six furlongs in 1:15.80 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park West. “I feel very happy with him,” said Sano, whose trainee finished third in last year’s Pegasus. “He’s a different horse. He’s a stronger horse.”
Gunnevera, who concluded his 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish behind Pegasus contender Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, worked in company with stablemate Cometin.
“He worked really good," Ortiz said. "He’s doing everything right. Hopefully, he comes back to racing the way he is right now.” Ortiz has the return mount on Gunnevera after guiding him to his runner-up finish in the Classic. Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth. He also won the 2016 Saratoga Special and the $1 million Delta Jackpot and has been Gr. 1 stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers and the 2018 Woodward at Saratoga, as well as the Classic.
LAUREL, MD – The Stronach 5, featuring a $50,000 guaranteed pool and industry-low 12-percent takeout, will travel from Maryland to South Florida to California Friday afternoon.
The national pick 5 will offer turf races from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park with the sequence beginning at Laurel Park at 4:35 p.m. with a 10-horse field going a mile and ending at Golden Gate Fields at 5:47 p.m. with eight horses going a mile on the all-weather surface.
Past Performances for Stronach 5: http://www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/stronach-pick-5
Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence
? Leg One – Laurel Park 9th Race – (10 horses, one mile) 4:35 ET, 1:36 PT
? Leg Two – Gulfstream Park 9th Race –(9 horses, six furlongs) 4:41 ET, 1:41 PT
? Leg Three – Santa Anita 4th Race – (11 horses, 1 1/8th mile turf) 5 ET, 2 PT
? Leg Four – Gulfstream Park 10th Race – (12 horses, 1 1 1/16th miles turf) 5:12 ET, 2:12 PT
? Leg Five – Golden Gate Fields 5th Race – (8 horses, one mile) 5:47 ET, 2:47 PT
Five bettors each received $29,027.90 last week for hitting the Stronach 5. Four bettors each cashed for $29,068.30 on Dec. 28 and 37 players each won $2,916.90 on Dec. 21.
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Florida-bred Patternrecognition breezed five furlongs Sunday morning in preparation for a scheduled start in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. The Chad Brown-trained winner of the Gr. I Cigar Mile Dec. 1 at Aqueduct was clocked in 1:02.05 while working at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream's satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
The son of Adios Charlie is a 100 percent Ocala Stud Farm product, out of the High Cotton mare Almost a Valentine. He has won his three most recent starts, including a victory in the Gr. II Kelso at Belmont Park prior to his Cigar Mile score. The 6-year-old didn't make a start until April of his 4-year-old season in 2017, breaking his maiden at Aqueduct in his debut. He posted a record that year of 2-4-0 in six starts. After a long layoff to begin 2018, he has gone 3-1-0 in five tries, including the two graded stakes, and his earnings jumped to $812,325.
Sold by Ocala Stud for $420,000 at the 2015 OBS April 2-year-old sale, he has been worse than second just once, and that was a fourth.
RAINBOW 6 CARRYOVER GROWS
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $88,035.81 for the Wednesday program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each paid $2,883.18. The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for two racing days after yielding a $166,317 payoff Friday. After going unsolved for the first 12 programs of the 2018-2019 Championship Meet, there have been four jackpots paid out. The wager was solved on Dec. 19 for a $580,349 payoff, Dec. 27 for $288,350 and again Dec. 30 for $177,317.
The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.
WHO'S HOT - Jockey Jose Ortiz tripled with victories aboard Silver Diva ($13.80) in Race 3, Queen of Beas ($5) in Race 6 and Math Wizard ($6) in Race 11. Emisael Jaramillo notched a double with Brenda’s G L P ($29.40) in Race 5 and High Risk Strategy ($19.60) in Race 4.
It was no surprise that Double Diamond Farm's First Dude ended the year as Florida's leading sire with progeny earnings of $4,915,031, with the late Wildcat Heir $762,660 behind. First Dude was attempting to become only the second Florida sire to reach $5 million, other than Journeyman Stud's Wildcat Heir, who surpassed $6 million for four straight years - 2014 to 2017.
The biggest surprise of 2018 was Stonehedge Farm's Cajun Breeze, a son of Congrats who led the Florida freshman sire list early in the season before dropping to fifth place by year's end. But, before he slipped down the list, Cajun Breeze afforded Michael (Bo) Yates and his Shadybrook Farm with a sensational summer, following in the footsteps of former jockey-turned-trainer Wesley Ward.
For about a decade, Ward has primed the 2-year-olds in his stable earlier than most, taking advantage of the lucrative maiden special purses beginning in April at several eastern tracks. In the space of a few months, Ward has consistently racked up a ton of money with his always-ready juveniles. Yates duplicated Ward's success by having some very good runners by Cajun Breeze pile up a ton of money at Gulfstream.
The best of the early Shadybrook runners was Cajun Firecracker, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream, then won the Dr. Fager Stakes, and was third in the Affirmed. He earned $125,000 for Yates, who then sold him to William and Corinne Heiligbrodt prior to the $400,000 In Reality, where Cajun Firecracker finished seventh. He was later second in the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park and collected another $20,000.
Yates struck again early with Nancysaidso, a filly who won twice, finished second twice and finished fourth in the Desert Vixen Stakes and fifth in the Susan's Girl. She's earned $101,700.
Cajun Embers has a first and a second and finished fifth in the Dr. Fager, with earnings of $51,900. Mardi Gras Girl has a pair of seconds and collected $23,750, and Itsabouttime Girl has a fourth and a second and has collected $8,920. Quizzical Cajun, though bred by Shadybrook, is owned by B-5 LLC and trained by Yates, and has a pair of seconds and earnings of $23,750.
Cajun Breeze wound up with $346,900 in progeny earnings in his first season with just six runners, and $317,980 came in the Shadybrook colors. That's not counting the five victories and nine seconds and thirds that added to the Shadybrook haul via breeders' awards.
In an interesting twist, all the successful runners still in the Shadybrook barn have been on the shelf for the last three months or so, apparently primed for the new season. Congratulations to Bo Yates for a cleverly mapped-out campaign. Will he try it again this year?
OLDSMAR - Brad Massam of Chatham, N.J., amassed a bankroll of $164.10 to capture the annual “10 Days of Festivus Challenge” Handicapping Contest sponsored by Tampa Bay Downs. The runner-up, with a bankroll of $131.90, was Steve Wolfson of Ormond Beach, a racing consultant and a member of the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Hall of Fame.
Massam earned the first-place prize of $1,000 and Wolfson picked up $500. There were 779 entrants.
Massam, who describes handicapping as a hobby, believes the turning point occurred Dec. 12 when his fourth-race selection, Handsome Girl, finished second at odds of 38-1. She paid $31.20 to place and $9.80 to show, giving his bankroll a $41 boost.
All told, Massam had three selections that returned more than $28, giving him a cushion that widened when he selected first-time starter and winner They Call Me Lucky ($17, $7.60, $7.40) in the ninth race on Sunday, closing day of the contest.
Wolfson, one of three sons of the late Louis Wolfson, who bred and raced 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed, entered the contest with strong credentials. He finished fourth in the 2003 NHC at Bally’s Las Vegas, a contest won by his son, Steve Jr. The younger Wolfson joined his father in the NHC Hall of Fame this year.
“It’s especially gratifying to do well because there were so many people competing,” the elder Wolfson said. “I play Festivus every year. It’s a customer-friendly contest and they do a great job of disseminating the information. I’ve always loved Tampa Bay Downs, going back to when George Steinbrenner owned the track. The grass course is great and it’s like being at a country fair.”
Massam said his interest in the contest was also stoked by the turf offerings. “I enjoy turf racing, and because Tampa Bay Downs offers an outstanding turf racing product featuring consistently full fields and many races for young horses that attract top barns, I follow the Tampa meet very closely,” Massam said in an e-mail response.
AROUND THE OVAL - Four-time leading Oldsmar jockey Antonio Gallardo continues to sizzle, riding back-to-back winners for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and adding a third victory to give him 11 winners over the last four racing days.
Gallardo and O’Connell teamed to win the fourth race on the turf with Sweet Soul Music, a 6-year-old Florida-bred horse owned by Mark F. Taylor and Robert A. Meier IV. Sweet Soul Music was claimed from the race by owner-trainer Mike Dini for $16,000. Gallardo and O’Connell also won the fifth with Shimmyshimmy Shake, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Ca Sal Stables. The jockey won the eighth race on the turf in a three-horse photo finish aboard Miko, a 4-year-old filly owned by Preferred Pals Stable and trained by Linda Rice.
Willie Martinez rode two winners, both on the turf. He won the sixth on Lady Love, a 4-year-old filly bred and owned by Tri County Stables and trained by Anthony Granitz, then added the 10th with More Than Teddy, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Sharyn and Peter Wasiluk Jr., and trained by the latter.
Trainer Dennis Ward sent out two winners. He took the second race with Wild Wigglin Jack, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding that he bred, and is owned by his Ridenjac Racing enterprise. He was ridden by Quincy Hamilton. Ward also won the seventh with Distinctly Blue, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Edward R. Schuster and ridden by Mike Allen.
MORNING GLORY DEBUT - Racing fans can gain valuable insights about the sport by attending track announcer Richard Grunder’s popular “Morning Glory Club," which makes its return at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the first floor of the grandstand.
Grunder, who is in his 35th season as track announcer, will interview a different guest each Saturday through March 9, including trainers, jockeys and track personalities. His guest Saturday is up-and-coming trainer Kent Sweezey. Admission is free, along with coffee and donuts.
FOR OUR HEROES - Tampa Bay Downs will admit active and retired military personnel with proper identification free of charge on Military Appreciation Day, Jan. 5. Servicemen and women will be recognized during the day’s action.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: MIKE HENRY
December 28, 2018
813-855-4401 Ext. 1367
MASSAM, WOLFSON 1-2 IN FESTIVUS CHALLENGE; GALLARDO STAYS HOT
OLDSMAR, FL. – Brad Massam of Chatham, N.J., amassed a bankroll of $164.10 to capture the annual “10 Days of Festivus Challenge” Handicapping Contest sponsored by Tampa Bay Downs.
The runner-up, with a bankroll of $131.90, was Steve Wolfson of Ormond Beach, Fla., a racing consultant and a member of the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Hall of Fame.
Massam earned the first-place prize of $1,000 and Wolfson picked up $500. There were 779 entrants.
Massam, who describes handicapping as a hobby, believes the turning point occurred Dec. 12 when his fourth-race selection, Handsome Girl, finished second at odds of 38-1. She paid $31.20 to place and $9.80 to show, giving his bankroll a $41 boost.
All told, Massam had three contest selections that returned more than $28, giving him a cushion that widened when he selected first-time starter and winner They Call Me Lucky ($17, $7.60 and $7.40) in the ninth race on Sunday, the closing day of the contest.
Wolfson, the son of the late Louis Wolfson, who owned 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed, entered the contest with strong credentials. He finished fourth in the 2003 NHC at Bally’s Las Vegas, a contest won by his son, Steve Wolfson, Jr.
The younger Wolfson joined his father in the NHC Hall of Fame this year.
“It’s especially gratifying to do well because there were so many people competing,” the elder Wolfson said. “I play Festivus every year. It’s a customer-friendly contest and they do a great job of disseminating the information.
“I’ve always loved Tampa Bay Downs, going back to when George Steinbrenner owned the track. The grass course is great and it’s like being at a country fair.”
Massam said his interest in the contest was also stoked by the turf offerings. “I enjoy turf racing, and because Tampa Bay Downs offers an outstanding turf racing product featuring consistently full fields and many races for young horses that attract top barns, I follow the Tampa meet very closely,” Massam said in an e-mail response.
Around the oval . Four-time leading Oldsmar jockey Antonio Gallardo continues to heat up, riding back-to-back winners for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and adding another victory to give the rider 11 winners over the last four racing days.
Gallardo and O’Connell teamed to win the fourth race on the turf with Sweet Soul Music, a 6-year-old Florida-bred horse owned by Mark F. Taylor and Robert A. Meier, IV. Sweet Soul Music was claimed from the race by owner-trainer Mike Dini for $16,000.
Gallardo and O’Connell also won the fifth with Shimmyshimmy Shake, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Ca Sal Stables. The jockey won the eighth race on the turf in a three-horse photo finish on Miko, a 4-year-old filly owned by Preferred Pals Stable and trained by Linda Rice.
Willie Martinez rode two winners, both on the turf. He won the sixth race on Lady Love, a 4-year-old filly bred and owned by Tri County Stables and trained by Anthony Granitz. Martinez added the 10th with More Than Teddy, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Sharyn and Peter Wasiluk, Jr., and trained by the latter.
Trainer Dennis Ward sent out two winners. He captured the second race with Wild Wigglin Jack, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding bred by Ward, owned by his Ridenjac Racing enterprise and ridden by Quincy Hamilton.
Ward also won the seventh with Distinctly Blue, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Edward R. Schuster and ridden by Mike Allen.
“Morning Glory Club” to debut Saturday . Thoroughbred racing fans can gain valuable insights about the sport by attending track announcer Richard Grunder’s popular “Morning Glory Club” show, which makes its return at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the first floor of the Grandstand.
Grunder, who is in his 35th season as track announcer, will interview a different guest each Saturday through March 9, including trainers, jockeys and track personalities. His guest Saturday is up-and-coming trainer Kent Sweezey. Admission is free, along with coffee and donuts.
Military Appreciation Day . Tampa Bay Downs will admit active and retired military personnel with proper identification free of charge on Military Appreciation Day, Jan. 5. Servicemen and women will be recognized during the day’s action.
The track is privileged to stage a day in recognition of these heroes who contribute so much to the American way of life.
Tampa Bay Downs is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.
LAUREL, MD – The Stronach 5 returns Friday with a $50,000 guaranteed pool, three turf races, and the return of Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields into the national pick 5 with an industry-low 12-percent takeout.
The Stronach 5 will kick off with a pair of turf races from Gulfstream Park before heading to Golden Gate Fields for two five-furlong sprints before finishing up at Santa Anita with a 1 1/8th-mile optional claimer on the turf.
Past performance for the Stronach 5 : http://www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/stronach-pick-5
? Leg One – Gulfstream Park 10th Race – (16 entries, 1 1/16-mile turf) 4:40 ET, 1:40 PT
? Leg Two – Gulfstream Park 11th Race – (16 entries, 1 1/16 mile-turf) 5:12 ET, 2:12 PT
? Leg Three – Golden Gate Park 4th Race – (10 entries, 5 furlongs) 5:15 ET, 2:15 PT
? Leg Four – Golden Gate Park 5th Race – (9 entries, 5 furlongs) 5:30 ET, 2:30 PT
? Leg Five – Santa Anita Park 6th Race – (16 entries,, 1 11/8 mile turf) 6 ET, 3 PT
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday. For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs is set to reach out to “Generation Z” through its inaugural “College Day” promotion, to be held Saturday, Jan. 12. Current college students and high school seniors pursuing a post-secondary education are eligible to compete for one of five $2,000 scholarships to be awarded through the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce Educational Foundation.
Entrants will be eligible to win prizes and poker chips (usable in The Silks Poker Room) by spinning a prize wheel. Wagering seminars will be provided by track personnel throughout the day. All students enrolled in four-year U.S. colleges and universities and two-year colleges and technical schools, as well as high school seniors, are eligible. There is no charge to enter.
Here is how the contest works:
To enter, eligible students must complete an entry form that will be available at the Customer Service Desk on the day of the contest. Upon the completion of that day’s racing, 25 names will be drawn at random and designated finalists.
After notification from track officials, the finalists will be required to submit an essay of fewer than 500 words on the following subject: “Marketing Horse Racing To a New Generation of Fans,” with emphasis on initiatives and proposals aimed at attracting and retaining new followers.
The deadline to submit essays is Feb. 2. They may be typed, hand-written or printed from a computer or personal device and should be submitted to the General Office or the Publicity Office. A panel of judges will rank each essay, with criteria including feasibility of the marketing plan presented; originality; understanding of the horse racing industry; clarity; and grammar and spelling.
All non-winners will receive two passes good for free admission on any racing day. Track employees and their family members are not eligible.
“We think this is a fun and exciting way to introduce the younger generation to our sport, as well as tap into their creativity and new ways of thinking,” said Margo Flynn, the track’s Vice President of Marketing and Publicity. “The winners will receive aid toward furthering their education, and we hope to get ideas that can be implemented in upcoming seasons.”
ALLEN ON A ROLL - Four-time Oldsmar riding champion Ronnie Allen Jr. rode three winners Sunday. Allen captured the first race aboard My Solitude, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Mark Hoffman and trained by Justin Johns. The jockey next won the seventh on American Deluxe, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Robson Thoroughbreds and trained by Gerald Bennett.
Allen wrapped up his big day by winning the ninth race on They Call Me Lucky, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Martin Goodell and trained by Maria Bowersock.
Samy Camacho rode two winners. Camacho, who leads the jockey colony with 23 victories, won the sixth race on Ballston, a 3-year-old filly owned by Brushy Hill Enterprises and trained by Danny Gargan. He added the eighth, the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week, with Killybegs Captain, a 4-year-old colt owned by Curragh Racing II and trained by John P. Terranova II.
Racing continues Wednesday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:17.
The annual Calendar Giveaway begins Wednesday. The 2019 edition of the commemorative keepsake will be distributed throughout the week to the first 10,000 patrons, with paid admission. Included are photographs by some of the area’s top equine photojournalists.
MORNING GLORY CLUB RETURNS . Thoroughbred racing fans can gain valuable insights about the sport by attending track announcer Richard Grunder’s popular “Morning Glory Club,” which makes its return at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29 on the first floor of the Grandstand. Grunder, who is in his 35th season as track announcer, will interview a different guest each Saturday through March 9, including trainers, jockeys and track personalities. Admission is free, along with coffee and donuts.
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY - Tampa Bay Downs will admit active and retired military personnel with proper identification free of charge on Military Appreciation Day, Jan. 5. Servicemen and women will be recognized during the day’s action. The track is privileged to stage a day in recognition of these heroes who contribute so much to the American way of life.
OLDSMAR - Friday’s live racing card and morning training at Tampa Bay Downs have been cancelled because of ongoing heavy rain and anticipation of high winds in the Tampa Bay area.
Officials said the track will remain open for simulcast wagering and no-limits action in The Silks Poker Room.
“We’re disappointed to lose a day of racing, but our No. 1 priority is the safety of our horses, jockeys and fans,” said Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager. “Proper track maintenance is virtually impossible with the type of weather we’ve been getting. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our fans and look forward to putting on a full 10-race card Saturday, when sunshine is expected to return.”
Berube said there is a possibility the lost date could be made up later in the meeting or by adding races to existing dates.
HALLANDALE BEACH - There will be a jackpot carryover of $408,116.25 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 when live racing returns to Gulfstream Park with a 10-race program Wednesday, Dec. 19. First race post time is 12:35 p.m.
A total of $163,518 was bet Sunday into the Rainbow 6, which began with a carryover of $368,877 from Saturday’s stakes-filled program. Multiple tickets were sold with all six winners, each worth $1,020.14.
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 sequence spans Races 5-10, highlighted by a $47,000 optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and older at 1 1/16 miles on the newly refurbished turf course which attracted a field of 11 led by 123-pound topweight She’s Right Again.
Notes: Jacks a Warrior ($4.60) was a front-running four-length winner of Sunday’s third race, a 5 ½-furlong claimer for 3-year-olds and up, to give Shamir Maragh his first win as a trainer. The winning time was 1:06.17 over a fast main track. It was the 15th career starter for Maragh, who had seven seconds and three thirds before his breakthrough victory. Jacks a Warrior was also Maragh’s first starter, finishing fourth on Aug. 25 at Gulfstream.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Richard Otto Stables’ Illinois homebred Sir Anthony extended his winning streak to four with a rail-skimming trip from last and held off heavily-favored Audible in the final yards for a half-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000, Gr. III Harlan’s Holiday.
The eighth running of the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up was the first of five graded stakes worth $600,000 in purses on an 11-race program, anchored by the $200,000, Gr. II Fort Lauderdale for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the newly refurbished turf course.
With Brian Hernandez Jr. up for trainer Anthony Mitchell, Sir Anthony ($53.80) completed the distance in 1:45.14 over a sloppy, sealed track for his second career stakes victory and first in graded company.
Audible, winner of the Gr. I Florida Derby and Gr. II Holy Bull at Gulfstream over the winter, held second by a length over Apostle, followed by Audible’s Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate, Village King, and long shots Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness.
“I watched a few replays of this horse and over at Hawthorne they went slow the first three-quarters in a couple of his races and he was still able to close into them and run them down,” Hernandez said. “Today, I just kind of rode him like that. I figured if I got to the three-eighths pole in good shape, he’d punch home, and he did. My horse is an old pro and he’s shown that he doesn’t mind being [inside]. All the pressure was on Audible and we were just going to hopefully sneak up on him, and we were able to save all the ground and get through.”
Stablemates Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness ran first and second, respectively, through moderate fractions of 25.19 seconds for a quarter-mile and 49.80 for the half. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano moved Audible off the rail from their inside post, where the only horse they led through six furlongs in 1:13.50 was Sir Anthony. Castellano began asking Audible rounding the turn and swung to the far outside to launch a bid, while Hernandez stayed put with Sir Anthony to wait for an opening. It came once they straightened for home, where they forged a short lead, then powered through the stretch as Audible fought to make up ground down the middle of the track.
Audible was making just his second start and first against graded competition since running third to eventual Triple Crown winner Justify in the Kentucky Derby, using the Harlan’s Holiday as a prep for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational - North America’s richest thoroughbred race - Jan. 26 at Gulfstream.
“He never really seemed like he fired," Pletcher said. "You hate to use the track as an excuse, but obviously it rained quite a bit and they sealed the track. It seemed like he was just never really taking him there and handling the track the way we would have hoped. We just let Javier ride his race, but he was never really taking him. He had to kind of ask him to get into every position he tried to.”
Sir Anthony now owns five wins from 14 starts and pushed his career earnings over $200,000. It was the fourth graded-stakes win for Mitchell and first since Original Spin in the 2005, Gr.III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie.
December 15, 2018
Sir Anthony Springs $53.80 Upset in Harlan’s Holiday (G3)
G1 Winner Audible Second in Prep for $9 Million Pegasus World Cup (G1)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Richard Otto Stables’ Illinois homebred Sir Anthony extended his win streak to four races with a rail-skimming trip from last and held off Grade 1-winning favorite Audible in the final yards for a half-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3).
The eighth running of the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday for 3-year-olds and up was the first of five graded-stakes worth $600,000 in purses on an 11-race program, anchored by the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the newly refurbished turf course.
Following the Harlan’s Holiday were a trio of $100,000 races for fillies and mares 3 and up – the six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3) and one-mile Rampart (G3) on dirt and the My Charmer (G3) going one mile on the grass.
With Brian Hernandez Jr. up for trainer Anthony Mitchell, Sir Anthony ($53.80) completed the distance in 1:45.14 over a sloppy, sealed track for his second career stakes win and first in graded company.
Audible, winner of the Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream over the winter, held second by a length over Apostle, followed by Audible’s Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Village King and long shots Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness.
“I watched a few replays of this horse and over at Hawthorne they went slow the first three-quarters in a couple of his races and he was still able to close into them and run them down,” Hernandez said. “Today, I just kind of rode him like that. I figured if I got to the three-eighths pole in good shape, he’d punch home, and he did.
“My horse is an old pro and he’s shown that he doesn’t mind being [inside],” he added. “All the pressure was on Audible and we were just going to hopefully sneak up on him, and we were able to save all the ground and get through.”
Stablemates Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness ran first and second, respectively, through moderate fractions of 25.19 seconds for a quarter-mile and 49.80 for the half. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano moved Audible off the rail from their inside post, where the only horse they led through six furlongs in 1:13.50 was Sir Anthony.
Castellano began asking Audible rounding the turn and swung to the far outside to launch a bid, while Hernandez stayed put with Sir Anthony to wait for an opening. It came once they straightened for home, forging a short lead and powering through the stretch as Audible fought to make up ground down the middle of the track.
Audible was making just his second start and first against graded competition since running third to eventual Triple Crown champion Justify in the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 5, using the Harlan’s Holiday as a prep for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) – North America’s richest Thoroughbred race – Jan. 26 at Gulfstream.
“He never really seemed like he fired. You hate to use the track as an excuse, but obviously it rained quite a bit and they sealed the track,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he was just never really taking him there and handing the track the way we would have hoped … We just let Javier ride his race, but he was never really taking him. He had to kind of ask him to get into every position he tried to.”
Sir Anthony how owns five wins from 14 starts and pushed his career earnings over $200,000. It was the fourth graded-stakes win for Mitchell and first since Original Spin in the 2005 Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie (G3).
“He’s been a promising young colt who took a while to figure it out, but now that he’s figured it out who knows where we go from here,” Mitchell said. “He ran a couple of races where it was like, ‘What’s going on?’ It just didn’t make sense, but ever since he won the [Bruce D. Memorial] at Arlington he’s just got progressively better and better.
“The owner, I’m so delighted for. He bred the horse and he’s been with me for a very long time and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success,” he added. “He predominately breeds Illinois-breds and we’ve done pretty good with them. But going ahead and beating the likes of Audible – that’s huge. I mean, I can’t put words to that
Here's an interesting fact concerning Florida's general sire list. Since the turn of the century, only one stallion has been able to reach $5 million or more in progeny earnings for a single year. That stallion is the late Wildcat Heir, who stood at Journeyman Stud until his premature death in 2015.
Wildcat Heir topped the Florida list in 2014 with $6.2 million; 2015 with nearly $7 million; 2016 with $6 million, and 2017 with $6.3 million. Again, no other stallion has reached $5 million.
This year, Double Diamond Farm's First Dude is the leader with $4,792,397 as of this morning. Can the son of Stephen Got Even add another $207,603 by Dec. 31? Stay tuned.
Gunnevera Confirmed for $9 Million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1)
HALLANDALE BEACH - Salomon Del Valle purchased a spot in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, confirming multiple graded stakes-winner Gunnevera for North America’s richest race set for Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. Gunnevera, who finished third in last year’s Pegasus World Cup, most recently ran second in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3.
“I’m paying all the money myself,” said Del Valle, a Venezuelan businessman who entered Gunnevera as part of a partnership in last year’s Pegasus. “I’m happy to be in the race.”
The Pegasus World Cup will be accompanied by the inaugural running of $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on the Jan. 26 program in the newly-created $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Owners can secure a spot in the starting gate for the Pegasus World Cup for a $500,000 fee and will be given preference in purchasing a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Turf for $500,000. A $1 million bonus is being offered if an owner should win both races.
Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old son of Dialed In has also won the 2016 Saratoga Special and the $1 million Delta Jackpot and has been stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers and the 2018 Woodward at Saratoga.
“I have a good chance. He just got beat by a length in the Breeders’ Cup,” Sano said. “Maybe there will be more speed in the Pegasus. One more chance. It’s in my house.”
In addition to Gunnevera, Hronis Racing’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, and Calumet Farm’s Bravazo and True Timber are confirmed for the World Cup. Tabor, Magnier and Smith’s Coolmore has also purchased a spot for a horse to be determined.
Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby winner, is also being pointed to the World Cup and is scheduled to be entered in next Saturday’s $100,000, Gr. III Harlan’s Holiday Stakes to prep for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus. Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners, Todd Pletcher-trained Audible finished third in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Patternrecognition, who defeated True Timber by three-quarters of a length in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last time out, is also under consideration. The Stronach Group is currently negotiating with other groups, with only a few open spots remaining.
HALLANDALE BEACH - For the seventh straight program Sunday at Gulfstream Park, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved to push the carryover jackpot to $197,569.67 for the return of live racing on Wednesday. Post time for the 10-race program is 12:35 p.m.
A total of $133,857 was bet into the multi-race wager Sunday, which produced multiple winning tickets worth $3,028.28.
The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 sequence, which includes three races on Gulfstream’s newly refurbished turf course, will span Races 5-10 and drew a total of 68 entries or 11.3 horses per race. There will also be a $1 Super Hi-5 carryover of $8,968.70 for Wednesday’s opener.
Who’s Hot: Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., spending his first full winter in South Florida, won his first two races of the Championship Meet aboard Miss Harry ($6.20) in the third and Four K’s ($11.60) in the ninth.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Mexican star filly Jala Jala made history Saturday at Gulfstream Park, saving ground early before drawing off to an impressive 4 ¾-length triumph in the $100,000 Copa Confraternidad del Caribe. The victory, coupled with her nine-length romp in the Clasico del Caribe last December, made Cuadra San Jorge’s Jala Jala ($4.40) the first filly ever to sweep the Clasico Internacional del Caribe’s premier races for 3-year-olds and older horses, beating males both times.
The 1 ¼-mile Copa Confraternidad was the fourth of five stakes, worth more than $700,000 in purses, as part of the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, Latin America and the Caribbean’s premier thoroughbred event hosted by Gulfstream for the second consecutive year.
Last year, Gulfstream became the first pari-mutuel facility outside Latin America or the Caribbean to host the Clasico Internacional del Caribe since its inception in 1966. Jala Jala is the second straight horse to win both the Clasico and Confraternidad in successive years, following Panamanian colt El Tigre Mono in 2016 and 2017.
It was the second Clasico win of the day for Puerto Rican jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., following Michegas’ runaway victory in the Copa Invitacional three races earlier. The winning time was 2:08.46 over a fast track.
Ortiz settled Jala Jala in fifth along the rail as Bold Master posted early fractions of 24.38 and 49.95, pressed by fellow Puerto Rican contender Exclusivo, a multiple group stakes-winner with 15 wins from 17 career starts. Exclusivo cruised past leaving the backstretch after going six furlongs in 1:15.08, but Jala Jala was creeping up the inside and into contention.
Tipped to the outside by Ortiz once clear of 2017 Clasico del Caribe runner-up Fray Angelico on the turn, Jala Jala met no resistance as she assumed the lead and straightened for home in front, pulling clear under a hand ride. Fray Angelico was a decisive second, 10 lengths ahead of Exclusivo. Puerto Rican Triple Crown winner Justiciero was fourth.
Michegas, Ortiz Jr. Win for Puerto Rico in Copa Invitacional
Michegas, representing Puerto Rico, put on a show in the $77,500 Copa Invitacional, kicking off Saturday’s program with a 10 ¼-length romp in the 1 ¼-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Michegas was the 1-5 favorite in a field reduced to five starters by the early scratches of defending champion Coltimus Prime from Panama and morning-line favorite California Music of Panama.
Trained by Jose Velez for owner Oscar D. Establo, Michegas ran 1 ¼ miles in 2:07.05 to post his 11th victory in 31 starts, sparking an enthusiastic celebration at the winner’s circle by the Puerto Rico fans.
Brigantia Heads Panamanian Exacta in Copa Dama del Gama
Owned and trained by Alberto ‘Droopy’ Paz Rodriguez, a Panamanian legend with more than 6,400 career wins, Brigantia put away Mexican filly Triple Crown winner Kutzamala at the top of the stretch and held on for a 1 ½-length win in the Copa Dama del Caribe for 3-year-old fillies.
Ridden by Luis Saez, a native of Panama and graduate of its jockey school, Brigantia ($15.40) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:49.91 to top a Panamanian exacta with runner-up Rosa Salvaje, who edged Mexico’s Etruska for by a neck. It was three lengths to Kutzamala in fourth.
Kutzamala, favored at 7-5 in a field of nine, lost for the second straight time after sweeping three Group 1 races in Mexico for trainer Fausto Gutierrez. The Point Determined filly was in front through fractions of 24.90 and 49.37 seconds, pressed by 30-1 long shot Visionaria. Saez and Brigantia ranged up next to Kutzamala midway around the turn, surged past and straightened for home in command, avoiding free-running Salmiana, who lost rider Manny Cruz after bobbling badly out of the gate.
“I’m crying because my wife isn’t here and I cry because of this win. Any win is a big win, I’m just so happy,” Rodriguez said. “I’m surrounded by family and friends today.”
Venezuela’s Big Boris One Takes Copa Velocidad del Caribe
Big Boris One, who was victorious in his two career starts in Venezuela, remained undefeated with a triumph in the $105,000 Copa Velocidad del Caribe. The 3-year-old colt, trained by Juan Carlos Avila, pressed the pace set by Mexico’s Tati along the backstretch before taking the lead on the turn and holding off a late run from Mexico’s Magno by three quarters of a length.
Big Boris One ran six furlongs in 1:13.66 under Paco Lopez to prevail in his stakes debut. Magno finished two lengths ahead of late-closing Puerto Rico’s Don William R.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday that Calumet Farm’s Bravazo, third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and second in the Preakness Stakes, is being pointed toward the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday, Jan 26 at Gulfstream Park.
“That’s surely where we’re headed if everything goes well,” Lukas said.
Bravazo, who finished second in the Gr. I Clark Handicap on Nov. 23, has raced in eight consecutive Gr. 1 events at six tracks and is the only horse other than Justify this year to compete in all three Triple Crown races.
“We’ve got a window of about seven weeks so we’ll get him in a work pattern,” Lukas said. “We did ship him to Arkansas where he’s getting a week to just take it easy. We’ll start picking up a work tab schedule in mid-December. He’s really done well. He’s fit, his weight is excellent. He’s run eight straight Grade 1’s and a lot of people would think he would taper off but he seems to only have gotten better. He’s a picture of consistency.”
Lukas said his first inclination would be to ship Bravazo to Gulfstream a week before the race. “I don’t think we’ll come in right on top of it,” he said.
A winner of 14 Triple Crown events, Lukas said he supports the Pegasus Championship Invitational Series, which for the first time will include a $7 million turf event.
“I think it's a significant development in the big picture of racing,” he said. “One of the things we’ve struggled with in thoroughbred racing is keeping superstars on the track. I think this is a step in the right direction. Any time you start the season with a $9 million race . . . it better be on your radar.”
HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park celebrated its 2018-2019 Championship Meet with a record handle on the 20th edition of the Claiming Crown.
Total handle on the 11-race program was $13.612 million, up 14 percent, smashing the previous Claiming Crown record set last year of $11.925 million. Handle on the event has grown every year since Gulfstream starting hosting it in 2012.
“We’re extremely pleased with Opening Day,” said General Manager Bill Badgett. “We received a lot of compliments about the improvements at our facility and we witnessed some memorable performances on track from our equine and human athletes. We want to thank our fans and horsemen for supporting Gulfstream and the Claiming Crown program. We’re looking forward to the rest of our Championship Meet and next week’s incredible big Clasico Internacional de l Caribe.”
Trainer Jorge Navarro was a big winner Saturday, saddling the winner of three Claiming Crown races – Aztec Sense in the $200,000 Jewel, Misschief Maas in the $110,000 Glass Slipper and Salsa’s Return in the $110,000 Iron Horse. “Amazing day,” Navarro said. “I told my wife if we can win three races today it’s a touchdown.”
Jockey Chris Landeros got the Championship Meet off to a good start as well, winning the $110,000 Glass Slipper aboard Misschief Mass, the $110,000 Rapid Transit with Rocket Heat, and the first race of the meet on Solar Kitten. “It’s special because it’s so tough here,” he said. “You’ve got to come here prepared mentally and be ready. I’m looking forward to the meet and I’m very excited.”