Lost in the world of viruses, health experts, deaths, masks, testing, curfews, isolation, quarantine, poor leadership, Rand Paul's idiocy, and much more, Mike Mulligan's BetBestBreeze knocked it out of the park Saturday. And, like the tree falling in the forest, we have to wonder how many people were able to pay attention.
With so many tracks shuttered, BBB was left with 19 selections from Fair Grounds, Gulfstream, Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita and the results were eye-opening: 8 winners, 7 seconds, 2 thirds and 2 fourths - 19 of 19 in the top 4.
Fair Grounds was particularly fruitful with winners Dreamalildreamofu ($4.20); Factor This ($21); Sydster ($5); Vacherie Girl ($12.20), and Wells Bayou ($8.40). There were also two seconds.
At Gulfstream, there were three seconds, one third and three fourths, and Oaklawn had winners Long Weekend ($4.60) and Ruling ($5.80). Santa Anita added one winner, Outright ($8.40) and one fourth.
A great day for those sitting at home and utilizing computers, phones and any other form of wagering devices.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Cara Oliver’s Hear My Prayer sprinted to the lead and kept on going, shaking off Foolish Humor early and turning away Compensate by 1 1/2 lengths to earn her first career stakes victory in the $75,000 Melody of Colors, giving jockey Paco Lopez his fifth of a record-equaling seven victories on Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park.
Lopez, a past Championship Meet riding champion who sits third in the current standings, previously won aboard Strike Magic ($21) in Race 1, Time to Two Step ($2.40) in Race 2, French Quarter ($3.60) in Race 5 and Quick Step Ed ($8.80) in Race 6, adding a sixth win aboard We Miss Susie ($6) in Race 10 and a seventh aboard National Honor ($11.80) in Race 12.
With his seventh win Lopez joined the company of Luis Saez (twice), Tyler Gaffalione and Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey. Saez achieved the feat on Jan. 24, 2018 and March 29, 2018. Gaffalione won seven on July 4, 2017, while Bailey was the first to accomplish it on March 11, 1996.
Trained by David Fisher, Hear My Prayer was a popular winner in the field of 11 3-year-old fillies, cutting back to five furlongs following her 2020 debut, in which she was sixth after setting the pace in the 7 ½-furlong Ginger Brew Jan. 4 at Gulfstream. She paid $4 after racing the distance in :55.89 seconds over a firm turf course.
Hear My Prayer was intent on the lead from post 4 and dueled through an opening quarter in :21.23 seconds with Foolish Humor at her right hip. Foolish Humor began to fade around the turn and Compensate picked up the chase down the center of the track after a half in :43.80, but was unable to reel in the winner.
Hear My Prayer improved to 3-0 when sprinting five furlongs on the grass, her other wins coming last fall at Gulfstream and Gulfstream West, each in front-running fashion. She was unable to sustain her lead in the Ginger Brew and wound up beaten 3 ¼ lengths.
Two races later, Smart Angle LLP’s Cajun Casanova rallied from far back to win the $75,000 Texas Glitter, a five-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds. Trained by Michael Pino, Cajun Casanova, who captured the five-furlong Hollywood Beach on turf last year at Gulfstream, was claimed for $50,000 out of an eight-length victory in a five-furlong off-the-turf optional claiming allowance Jan. 23. The son of Stonehedge Farm's Cajun Breeze set the pace before finishing second in a five-furlong optional claiming allowance on turf for his new connections on Feb. 17.
This time, Cajun Casanova ($9.40) and jockey Miguel Vasquez employed different tactics with success. He chased the pace in fourth as R Man Joe set solid fractions of :21.47 and :43.36 for the first half-mile, then swung wide entering the stretch and kicked in to win by a neck. R Man Joe held on for second under Emisael Jaramillo, 1 ½ lengths ahead of late-charging Guildsman and Saez. Cajun Casanova was clocked in :55.28 seconds.
Hip No. 598, a son of Upstart consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, went to Mike Ryan, Agent for $600,000 to top the second and final session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2020 March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The bay colt, who breezed a quarter in :21 flat at Saturday’s session of the Under Tack Show, is out of Blue Beryl, by Bernstein, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winning OBS March graduate Brigand.
Hip No. 424, a daughter of Bernardini consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold to Stonestreet Stables LLC for $575,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who breezed a quarter in :21 flat at Friday’s Under Tack Session, is out of Song Collection, by Unbridled’s Song, a full sister to graded stakes-winner Old Fashioned.
Hip No. 386, a son of Constitution consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, went to Dennis O’Neill for $550,000. The bay colt, who turned in a quarter in :20 4/5 on Friday, is out of Screwgie, by Smart Strike, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Roshani.
Hip No. 550, a son of Tapizar consigned by Brick City Thoroughbreds, Agent, was purchased by Narvick International for $500,000. The bay colt, who worked an eighth on Saturday in :10 flat, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Miss Frost out of Allencat, by Storm Cat.
West Bloodstock, Agent for Repole Stable, Inc. went to $420,000 for Hip No. 456, a son of Frosted consigned by Kings Equine, Agent. The gray or roan colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat at Saturday’s Under Tack Session, is a half-brother to graded stakes-placed Der Lu out of Taboo, by Forestry.
Hip No. 640, a son of Daredevil whose quarter in :20 3/5 was the session’s fastest, went to Carolyn Wilson for $400,000. The bay colt out of Chapellerie (IRE), by Acclamation, from the family of graded stakes winner Secret Form (GB), was consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent.
Hip No. 358, a son of Outwork consigned by Pike Racing, Agent, was purchased by Mike Ryan, Agent, for $380,000. The bay colt, who worked an eighth on Friday in :10 flat, is out of Riding Point, by Speightstown, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Onus.
Hip No. 568, a son of Medaglia d’Oro consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Agent, went to Narvick International for $350,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed an eighth on Saturday in :10 1/5, is out of graded stakes-placed Arch Support, by Arch, a daughter of stakes-winner Two Ninety Jones.
Hip No. 443, a bay filly by Uncle Mo consigned by Paul Sharp, Agent, was sold to Dennis O’Neill for $340,000. A half-sister to stakes-placed Romeo Lima out of Storybook (UAE), by Hailing, she breezed an eighth on Friday in :10 1/5.
Team Casse, Agent, went to $335,000 for Hip No. 381, a daughter of War Front who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Friday. The dark bay or brown filly bred in Great Britain, consigned by Kings Equine, Agent, is a half-sister to stakes-placed Segra out of graded stakes-winner Sarah Lynx (IRE), by Montjeu.
Hip No. 379, a son of Into Mischief also consigned by Kings Equine, Agent, who breezed an eighth in :10 2/5 on Friday, was sold to Town & Country Racing LLC for $300,000. A half-brother to stakes-winning OBS graduate South Bend, he’s out of graded stakes-placed Sandra’s Rose, by Old Trieste.
Hip No. 454, a daughter of Union Rags who breezed an eighth in :10 2/5 on Friday, was sold for $300,000 to Jun Park, Agent. The bay filly, consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, is out of graded stakes placed Sweet Success, by Candy Ride (ARG), a daughter of graded stakes-placed Aspiring.
John C. Kimmel, Agent, paid $300,000 for Hip No. 559, Caller Two, a son of Malibu Moon consigned by McKathan Bros. Sales, Agent. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth on Saturday in :10 flat, is out of Ameristralia (AUS), by Fastnet Rock, a full sister to graded stakes-winner Fiano Romano.
For the session, 146 horses sold for $14,893,000, averaging $102,007 with a $55,000 median figure. The buyback percentage was 39.4%.
For the entire sale, 291 horses sold for $27,902,500 compared with 306 bringing $44,248,500 a year ago. The average price was $95,885, compared with $144,603 in 2019 while the median price was $50,000 compared with $80,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 39.6%; it was 23.9% in 2019.
Hip No. 237, a daughter of American Pharoah consigned by Wavertree Stables Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent was sold to Katsumi Yoshida for $650,000 to top the first session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2020 March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The bay filly, whose quarter in :20 2/5 at Friday’s Under Tack session was the sale’s fastest at the distance, is out of Megalicious, by Songandaprayer, and is a half sister to stakes placed My Sweet Stella.
Hip No. 258, a son of Into Mischief consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to Myracehorse.com and Spendthrift for $500,000. The bay colt, who turned in a quarter in :21 flat at Friday’s Under Tack session, is out of stakes-placed Montessa G, by Montbrook, a daughter of stakes-winner Doc’s Doll.
Hip No. 320, Brother Lob, by Runhappy, who breezed a quarter on Friday in :20 3/5, was purchased by Tom Durant for $475,000. Consigned by Pick View LLC, Agent, he’s out of stakes-placed Pledge Pin, by Chatain, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Great Mills.
Katsumi Yoshida also went to $420,000 for Hip No. 65, a son of Medaglia d’Oro who breezed an eighth at Thursday’s Under Tack session in :10 1/5. The bay colt, consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, is out of Flagstaff (GB), by Dansili, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Starformer.
Hip No. 27, a son of Air Force Blue consigned by RiceHorse Stable (Brandon & Ali Rice), was purchased by Willis Horton Racing LLC for $390,000. The chestnut colt, who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Thursday, is a half-brother to graded stake-winner Daddy Long Legs out of stakes-winner Dreamy Maiden, by Meadowlake.
Hip No. 167, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Agent for Chester & Mary Broman, was sold to OXO Equine LLC for $330,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who worked an eighth in:10 flat on Thursday, is a full sister to Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) winner Bar of Gold out of graded stakes-winner Khancord Kid, by Lemon Drop Kid.
Team Casse, Agent, went to $320,000 for Hip No. 226, an Irish-bred daughter of Frankel consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc., (Ciaran Dunne), Agent. The bay filly, who breezed a quarter in :21 1/5 on Thursday, is out of stakes-placed Manderley, by Clodovil, a full sister to stakes-winner Gregorian.
Hip No. 319, a son of American Pharoah consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, went to John C. Kimmel, Agent for $320,000. The bay colt, who worked a quarter in :21 1/5 on Friday, is a half-brother to Gr. I stakes-winner Certify, out of graded stakes-placed stakes- winner Please Sign In, by Doc’s Leader.
Hip No. 149, a daughter of Empire Maker consigned by Randy Miles, Agent, was sold for $280,000 to August Dawn Farm. The bay filly, who breezed a :10 1/5 eighth on Thursday, is out of Jaded Glory, by Smart Strike, a daughter of Gr. I stakes-placed Jade Queen.
Hip No. 141, a son of Dialed In consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, was sold for $275,000 to North Hills. The bay colt, whose quarter in :20 3/5 was fastest at the distance at Thursday’s Under Tack session, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Meadowood out of stakes-winner Into Reality, by Untuttable.
Sandin Syndicate Stable LLC, W.E. Morey Agent, paid $255,000 for Hip No. 241, a son of Curlin consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent. The bay colt, who worked a :21 1/5 quarter on Friday, is out of Michelle d’Oro, by Bernardini, a daughter of Gr. I winner Champagne d’Or.
For the session, 134 horses old for $12,550,500, averaging $93,660 with a $50,000 median figure. The buyback percentage was 44.4.
HALLANDALE BEACH - After going unsolved for the 13th consecutive day, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have its carryover jackpot pool guaranteed at $1.4 million when live racing is scheduled to return to Gulfstream Park on Wednesday. First race post time is 1 p.m.
Multiple tickets with all six winners today were worth $522.92.
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 covers Races 5-10 and features four races on turf topped by the featured ninth, a five-furlong race for fillies and mares 4-and-up featuring Ms Meshak, winner of the 2019 Added Elegance on the dirt at Gulfstream, plus multiple stakes-placed Just Ain’t Right and Starship Nala.
The multi-race wager has been solved four times during the 2019-20 Championship Meet, including payoffs of $1.2 million on Feb. 17 and $468,945 on Feb. 27.
G2 Winner Noble Indy Makes Successful Season Debut
Repole Stable’s Gr. II winner Noble Indy, unraced since Nov. 24, made a triumphant return in his 5-year-old return today. Ridden by Luis Saez for trainer Todd Pletcher, Noble Indy ($8.60) led from start to finish to win the $53,000 third-level optional claiming allowance by 1 ½ lengths over late-running Sand Dancer. Monarchs Glen, the 7-5 favorite, was third.
Noble Indy, by Take Charge Indy, won three of his first four career starts, two at Gulfstream, including the Gr. II Louisiana Derby to earn him a shot in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, where he finished 17th behind eventual Triple Crown winner Justify.
Gunnison tracked Noble Indy through a half in :49.29 seconds trailed by Monarchs Glen and Golden Dragon. Monarchs Glen split horses to get within a half-length midway on the turn after six furlongs in 1:12.78, but Noble Indy was up to the task and edged clear once straightened for home and set down by Saez. The winning time for 1 1/8 miles over a firm turf course was 1:47.64.
Noble Indy also opened his 2019 season at Gulfstream, finishing fourth in an optional claiming allowance in February. His last previous win came Sept. 20 at Belmont Park, also at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, and he capped last year by running fourth in an off-the-turf optional claimer Nov. 24 at Aqueduct.
WHO'S HOT: Jockey Luis Saez visited the winner’s circle twice today, aboard maiden winner Youngest of Five ($3.80) in Race 6 and Noble Indy ($8.60) in Race 8.
HALLANDALE BEACH - With the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of our customers and employees and in following the best available guidance from local and international health authorities, Gulfstream Park will temporarily close to the public for racing and simulcast at the conclusion of racing today.
Gulfstream Park will continue live racing as scheduled with personnel licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering in attendance which will provide our fans at home with the opportunity to stay connected via our on-line wagering.
The Florida Derby, scheduled to take place on March 28, will move forward with live racing but will also be closed to the public.
The Casino at Gulfstream Park will remain open for slot machine play only. All areas of the Clubhouse including the walking ring and apron will be closed with perimeter fencing and security. The Village at Gulfstream Park will remain open however, we encourage our guests to check with specific retailers’ operating hours.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will post any updates on our website at www.GulfstreamPark.com. We look to welcoming our fans and guests back again soon.
OLDSMAR - Retired Major League Baseball star Victor Martinez played on five teams that reached the post-season, was an American League All-Star five times and slugged 246 home runs in his 16-year career, which ended in 2018.
But in the glow of a raucous winner’s-circle celebration late Saturday afternoon at Tampa Bay Downs, he said that nothing in his baseball career compared to the experience of his 3-year-old colt King Guillermo winning the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby at odds of 49-1.
“My dad died when I was six, and I always wanted to have a horse named for my dad,” an emotional Martinez said after King Guillermo posted a 4 ¾-length victory over 3-2 favorite Sole Volante in 1:42.63 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth. As a bonus, Martinez’s Venezuelan countryman, Samy Camacho, was in the saddle. The clocking was the third-fastest in the 40 editions of the Tampa Bay Derby.
“This is absolutely something else," Martinez said." I thank God for this opportunity and putting a great horse in my hands. My mom (Margot, part of the festive scene) taught me how to dream. She taught me dreams are for free. We believed in this horse and he made our dream come true.”
Another Venezuelan, Juan C. Avila, is the trainer of King Guillermo, who improved to 2-for-4 with the victory, in his first start of 2020. He paid $100.40 to win, the second-biggest payoff in the history of the race, surpassed only by Bold Southerner’s $179.40 in 1984.
The Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, and King Guillermo earned 50 points with his victory – virtually assuring him a spot in the May 2 Run for the Roses, as long as his connections pay the late Triple Crown nomination fee. He was one of only two horses in the 12-horse field not yet nominated. That bit of paperwork could wait Saturday.
“I hope he is going to the Kentucky Derby,” said Camacho, whose smile stretched almost to Caracas after the race. “I’m so happy, I say thank you to God and all the team – Mr. Juan Carlos Avila, the trainer, the owner, Victor Martinez, and everybody who made this dream possible. From the 3/8ths-mile pole I had a lot of horse and I was worried a little about Chance It and Sole Volante, but I had a lot of confidence in my horse because he was doing really well in the mornings and he felt strong,” Camacho said.
Sole Volante, the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes winner here four weeks ago, picked up 20 points with his second-place finish, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Texas Swing – the other horse not nominated to the Triple Crown. Pace-setter Relentless Dancer held on for fourth, followed by disappointing second choice Chance It.
King Guillermo is a Kentucky-bred son of Uncle Mo, out of Slow Sand, by Dixieland Band. He was bred by Carhue Investments, Grouseridge Ltd. And Marengo Investments and was purchased by Martinez for $150,000 at the 2019 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The winner’s share of $210,000 raised his career earnings to $240,350. King Guillermo’s previous victory came on Nov. 2 at Gulfstream Park West in a one-mile maiden special weight race on the turf, but his team decided his workouts on the dirt at Gulfstream since early January merited a shot today.
Sole Volante also came out of the OBS April sale, going for a bargain $20,000 from the consignment of New Hope AB, which had purchased him for just $6,000 out of the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale.
The Tampa Bay Derby was one of five stakes races, four graded, on a Festival Day card that drew 10,021 fans in sunny, breezy weather. Handle on the 12-race card was $13,155,349, third largest in the track's history, and on-track handle of $856,300 was up 4.5-percent over last year’s Festival Day card.
In the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares on the turf, Florida-bred mare Starship Jubilee, the favorite, withstood a strong stretch challenge from Chad Brown-trained Beautiful Lover to post a 1 ¼-length victory in 1:47.83 for the mile-and-an-eighth. Kelsey’s Cross finished third and Magic Star was fourth in the 11-horse field.
The 7-year-old Starship Jubilee, owned by Blue Heaven Farm and trained by Kevin Attard, improved to 17-for-35 lifetime. The $145,000 winner’s share of the purse raised her earnings to $1,498,667. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano was aboard for the victory. “She’s such a classy horse,” Castellano said. “This is the type of horse you can do whatever you want – you can dictate the pace or you can come from behind. I enjoyed the ride and I’m very fortunate to be part of it. It looks like she is getting better and better and better.” Tino Attard claimed Starship Jubilee for $16,000 at Gulfstream in 2017.
In the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf, the Eddie Kenneally-trained Outburst held off a frantic rally by Walk In Marrakesh to post a head victory in an excellent 1:42.03 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth. Outburst was also ridden by Castellano, who probably won the race when he managed to slow her down on the lead through a second quarter in :25.62 seconds after a :22.91 opening split. Secret Stash finished third and How Ironic was fourth in the 12-horse field.
In the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf, Kentucky-bred colt Doc Boy rallied from well back to grab a 1 ¾-length victory from Mr. Kringle. Summer Assault finished third and pace-setter Alley Oop Johnny was fourth. Doc Boy, who is owned by Stallionaire Enterprises, improved to 3-for-6 with the victory, achieved in 1:34.67 for the one-mile distance, .15 seconds off the stakes record. The son of Into Mischief-Peggy May, by Lemon Drop Kid, is trained by Michael Stidham and was ridden by Joe Bravo.
AROUND THE OVAL - In the second race, the $40,000 Manatee Overnight Handicap for fillies and mares, 4-year-old Florida-bred stakes-winner J P’s Delight withstood a challenge from Gr. II stakes-winner Point of Honor at the top of the stretch and powered home to a four-length victory under jockey Paco Lopez. Her time for the 7 furlongs was 1:22.48.
J P’s Delight, who is owned by Brent Fernung (Journeyman Stud) and Eugene Cahalan and trained by Kathleen O’Connell, improved to 4-for-5 with the victory. She had won the FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes on Dec. 14, also going 7 furlongs.
OLDSMAR - A field of 12 3-year-olds headed by Sole Volante will compete for the winner’s share of a $400,000 purse in the 40th edition of the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Tampa Bay Derby is one of five stakes, four graded, on a Festival Day card offering $1 million in stakes purse money alone. It is also a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, awarding qualifying points for the Run for the Roses on May 2 to the first four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale.
Also on Saturday’s 12-race card, which begins at 12:15 p.m., are the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf; the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; the Gr. III, $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-and-upward at 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.
The five stakes will be run consecutively, comprising a Pick-5 wagering offering, with the Columbia as the seventh race, followed in order by the Challenger, the Hillsborough, the Florida Oaks and the Tampa Bay Derby.
Sole Volante, the lone gelding in the field, drew the No.7 post position for the mile-and-a-sixteenth Tampa Bay Derby on the main dirt track and has been established as the 2-1 morning-line wagering choice, based on his impressive victory here on Feb. 8 in the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes.
Now 3-for-4 in his career, Sole Volante is owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Andie Biancone and Limelight Stables Corp. and trained by Patrick Biancone. Florent Geroux will be the jockey, replacing Sam F. Davis-winning rider Luca Panici, who suffered a fractured collarbone in a fall on Feb. 21.
The second choice at 5-2 is Chance It, a Florida-bred colt owned by Shooting Star Thoroughbreds and trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. He will break from the No. 4 post under Paco Lopez. Chance It is 4-for-6 with three stakes victories, including a triumph in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Jan. 4 at Gulfstream Park in which he defeated Sole Volante. Chance It was scratched from last Saturday’s Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream because of concerns about breaking from the No. 11 post position and the short run to the first turn.
Todd Pletcher, who has trained five Tampa Bay Derby winners, including three in a row from 2015-2017, will send out three lightly-raced starters: maiden winners Market Analysis and Texas Swing along with Unrighteous, who is still a maiden.
Market Analysis, owned by WinStar Farm and China Horse Club International, won his lone start going 7 furlongs on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream. Texas Swing, owned by Harrell Ventures, won his second career start, a mile-and-40-yard maiden special weight contest here on the Feb. 8 Sam F. Davis Stakes undercard. Unrighteous, a homebred colt racing for Calumet Farm, has a fourth and a second in two starts at Gulfstream.
Pletcher’s five Tampa Bay Derby winners are Limehouse (2004), Verrazano (2013), Carpe Diem (2015), Destin (2016) and Tapwrit (2017). He has won the Kentucky Derby twice, both times with horses that raced at Tampa Bay Downs. In 2010, his Super Saver won the Kentucky Derby after finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby; in 2017, Pletcher sent eventual Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming here to break his maiden on Jan. 25.
The only other horse to win the Kentucky Derby after competing at Tampa Bay Downs was Street Sense, who won both the Oldsmar showcase and the Kentucky Derby in 2007.
Here is the full Tampa Bay Derby field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:
1. Texas Swing, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano; 2. Spa City, Kiaran McLaughlin, Daniel Centeno; 3. Relentless Dancer, Michael Maker, Antonio Gallardo; 4. Chance It, Saffie Joseph Jr., Paco Lopez; 5. Market Analysis, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez; 6. Mo Mosa, Michael Maker, Pablo Morales; 7. Sole Volante, Patrick Biancone, Florent Geroux; 8. Letmeno, Ian Wilkes, Chris Landeros; 9. Unrighteous, Todd Pletcher, Joe Bravo; 10. Bye Bye Melvin, H. Graham Motion, Julien Leparoux; 11. King Guillermo, Juan Carlos Avila, Samy Camacho; 12. Tons of Gold, Alexis Delgado, Angel Suarez.
The Hillsborough Stakes, which has launched the Eclipse award-winning seasons of 2012 winner Zagora and 2016 winner Tepin, has attracted a field of 12 older fillies and mares, headed by Lael Stables’ 5-year-old Jehozacat, Blue Heaven Farm’s 7-year-old Starship Jubilee and 5-year-old Altea, one of three Chad Brown-trained entrants.
Jehozacat, who is trained by Arnaud Delacour, captured the Gr. III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes on the turf here on Feb. 8, her second stakes victory of the meeting. Starship Jubilee, who is a career millionaire, is 16-for-34 lifetime, including a victory in the Gr. I E. P. Taylor Stakes on the turf at Woodbine on Oct. 12. Altea is looking for her first stakes victory, but was a fast-closing second in the Endeavour.
Here is the full Hillsborough Stakes field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:
1. Dynatail, Mike Dini, Jose Ferrer; 2. Get Explicit, Barbara Minshall, Samy Camacho; 3. Magic Star, Chad Brown, John Velazquez; 4. Juliana, Ignacio Correas IV, Joe Bravo; 5. Kelsey’s Cross, Patrick Biancone, Florent Geroux; 6. Wish Upon, John P. Terranova II, Pablo Morales; 7. Starship Jubilee, Kevin Attard, Javier Castellano; 8. Beautiful Lover, Chad Brown, Paco Lopez; 9. Hanalei Moon, Mark Casse, Antonio Gallardo; 10. Jehozacat, Arnaud Delacour, Daniel Centeno; 11. Lady Oxbow, Kent Sweezey, unnamed; 12. Altea, Chad Brown, Julien Leparoux.
The Florida Oaks has produced two winners of the Kentucky Oaks, Luv Me Luv Me Not in 1992 and Secret Status in 2000. That was before the race was switched to the turf course in 2011, achieving Gr. III status in 2013. This year’s event has drawn a field of 12, led by undefeated (4-for-4) New York Groove, owned by Commonwealth New Era Racing and trained by Michael Trombetta. The daughter of Verrazano posted back-to-back stakes victories last fall in the Presque Isle Debutante Stakes and the Glorious Song Stakes at Woodbine. All of New York Groove’s races have been achieved on all-weather synthetic surfaces.
Here is the full Florida Oaks field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:
1. Ivyetsu, George “Rusty” Arnold II, Florent Geroux; 2. New York Groove, Michael Trombetta, Antonio Gallardo; 3. Secure Connection, Claude “Shug” McGaughey III, Julien Leparoux; 4. Mirabell Mei, John P. Terranova II, Pablo Morales; 5. Correctness, Arnaud Delacour, Daniel Centeno; 6. Walk In Marrakesh, Ignacio Correas IV, Joe Bravo; 7. Galileos Ballerina, Brett Brinkman, Jesus Castanon; 8. Outburst, Eddie Kenneally, Javier Castellano; 9. How Ironic, Victoria Oliver, Angel Suarez; 10. Secret Stash, Mark Casse, Samy Camacho; 11. Blame Debbie, H. Graham Motion, John Velazquez; 12. Micheline, Michael Stidham, Paco Lopez.
The Challenger was upgraded to Gr. III status this year, following an eight-year run of winners that included subsequent Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Fort Larned in 2012, multiple graded stakes-winner Stanford in 2017, $3.2-million-plus earner War Story in 2018 and multiple Gr. III-winner Flameaway last year.
Heading this year’s field is 5-year-old gelding Admiralty Pier, owned by Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford and trained by Barbara Minshall. Admiralty Pier notched his first graded stakes triumph here on Feb. 8 in the Gr. III Tampa Bay Stakes. Other likely contenders are Prompt, from the barn of Bill Mott, and Noble Drama, who appears to be in excellent form, trained by David Fawkes.
Here is the full Challenger Stakes field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:
1. Big Dollar Bill, Ian Wilkes, Chris Landeros; 2. Debbie’s Passion, Luis Carvajal Jr., Scott Spieth; 3. Trophy Chaser, Juan Carlos Avila; 4. Prompt, Bill Mott, Florent Geroux; 5. King for a Day, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez; 6. Sandino Ruler, Ignacio Correas IV, Joe Bravo; 7. Noble Drama, David Fawkes, Javier Castellano; 8. Admiralty Pier, Barbara Minshall, Samy Camacho
The Columbia Stakes, known as the Chris Thomas Turf Classic from 2000-2009, has drawn a field of 10 3-year-old colts and geldings. Top contenders include Chapalu, who won the Gr. III Grey Stakes on the all-weather surface at Woodbine on Oct. 27 but failed to contend in the Sam F. Davis; stakes-winner Doc Boy, from the barn of trainer Michael Stidham, and Zaino Boyz, who won the Inaugural Stakes here on Dec. 7 on the main track.
Here is the full Columbia Stakes field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:
1. Doc Boy, Michael Stidham, Joe Bravo; 2. Summer Assault, Michele Boyce, Angel Suarez; 3. Glorious Tribute, Barbara Minshall, Samy Camacho; 4. Alley Oop Johnny, John Rigattieri, unnamed; 5. King Theo, Carlo Vaccarezza, Florent Geroux; 6. Chapalu, Arnaud Delacour, Javier Castellano; 7. Me and Mr. C, Ned Allard, Carol Cedeno; 8. Mr. Kringle, John P. Terranova II, Pablo Morales; 9. Valiant Virtue, Juan Arriagada, Jesus Castanon; 10. Commence, Arnaud Delacour, Daniel Centeno.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park was solved again today, when a lucky bettor cashed for a $468,945 jackpot payoff. The Rainbow 6 had gone unsolved since Feb. 17, when a single unique ticket was worth a $1,208,573 payoff.
The winning combination was 9-5-2-6-3-6. Itwill start anew Friday with a $100,000 guaranteed pool.
Friday’s sequence will span Races 5-10, including the featured 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-old fillies in Race 9. Todd Pletcher-trained Eve of War, who debuted with an eye-catching 7 ½-length triumph at Gulfstream Feb. 2, will make her highly anticipated return to action. The daughter of Declaration of War will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez. The Rainbow 6 will be kicked off by a maiden special race for Florida-bred 3-year-olds in Race 5, featuring Freedom Force, a Rodolphe Brisset-trained son of American Pharoah who will be making his debut in the mile race that attracted a field of six, including Pletcher-trained Roman Empire, who finished a late-closing third on turf in his recent debut.
Race 8, a mile turf race with a full field of $16,000 claimers, and Race 10, a 1 1/16-mile turf race with a full field of $16,000 claimers, will be included in Friday’s Stronach 5, which will offer a carryover of $167,951.
The Stronach 5, which offers a 12-percent takeout, will be kicked off by Laurel Park’s Race 8, followed by Gulfstream’s Race 8, Golden Gate Fields’ Race 3, Santa Anita’s Race 3 and Gulfstream’s Race 10.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a guaranteed pool of $350,000 when racing resumes Wednesday. First race post is 1 p.m.
There was no single winning ticket on Sunday’s Rainbow 6. Multiple tickets with six winners returned $4,160.
NOTES - Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Day program, featuring nine graded races, will have a first race post of 11:30 a.m. The post-position draw for the $400,000, Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth, featuring Dennis’ Moment and Chance It, will be shown live during Wednesday’s Gulfstream broadcast after the first race. There will be a Gulfstream umbrella giveaway Saturday while supplies last.
Irad Ortiz Jr. rode his 100th winner of the meet Sunday aboard Pick Five Racing LLC’s Linny Kate. It marks the third consecutive 100-victory season for Ortiz, who led all riders last year with 135 trips to the winner's circle.
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $900,000 Friday at Gulfstream Park. First race post is 1 p.m.
The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 11th consecutive racing day today, and multiple tickets will all six winners were each worth $34,235.
There were three live tickets going into the last race after Shellphone ($69.80) kicked off the sequence and Lena Horn ($32.40) won the fifth leg, but the victory in the 10th and final race went to R Boy Bode, who went off at odds of 7-2.
Gulfstream will also have two races in Friday’s Stronach 5, which has a guaranteed pool of $100,000 and a 12-percent takeout. Gulfstream’s featured races in the national wager will be the seventh and 10th.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Two-time Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode three winners Friday and four winners Saturday, brought home six more winners on Sunday’s 11-race card at Gulfstream Park.
“I’m having a great meet so far," Ortiz said. "I’m so happy right now. I’m enjoying the moment. My agent [Jay Rushing] is doing a great job. I’m getting the best support from all the owners and trainers. They support me a lot here. I’m so happy. My family is here with me. I’m living the dream right now.”
The 27-year-old Ortiz, who won the Championship Meet title last season with 135 winners, tops the current standings with 88 winners. Ortiz scored aboard aboard Sassy Justice ($6) in race 1, Fashion Babe ($6.60) in race 6, Liana Susquehanna ($5.80) in race 7, Sweet Mia ($10.20) in race 9, Miss Munnings ($7.60) in race 10, and Lookin At Roses ($4.80) in race 11.
Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $800,000 Wednesday. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the ninth consecutive day Sunday, when multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $225.90.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $600,000 Saturday at Gulfstream Park.The multi-race wager went unsolved for the seventh racing day today, when multiple winning tickets were each worth $1,125.
Saturday’s Rainbow 6 will span Races 7-12, including the $150,000, Gr. III Suwanee River in Race 11.
Gr. 1 winner Starship Jubilee, a $16,000 claim at Gulfstream two seasons ago, has been installed at 7-5 in the morning line for the 1 1/8-mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares. Trained by Kevin Attard, the 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind will be in search of her sixth graded stakes score while facing six rivals, including Magic Star, who captured the Gr. III Marshua’s River (G3) at Gulfstream last time out.
Who’s Hot: Luis Saez, who rode four winners on Thursday’s card, notched three more victories on today’s card, scoring aboard La Chauffeur ($2.80) in Race 2, Descente ($3.40) in Race 3 and Luxury Suite ($14) in Race 5. Marcos Meneses continued his breakthrough meeting with three winners, scoring aboard Harper Go Lucky ($22.40) in Race 1, Saint Larned ($13.20) in Race 6 and the amazing 9-year-old gelding French Quarter ($7) in Race 10.
French Quarter's dam, Cent Nouvelle, was a rescue mare in 2010 with her ribs protruding, and was nursed back to health by breeder Kathleen Taylor, who then bred her to Shakespeare, resulting in the birth of French Quarter. The gelding has now won 12 times and earned more then $406,000, and was claimed for $8,000.
Irad Ortiz Jr. won two races with Arrivederla ($6) in Race 7 and Royal Flag ($3.60) in Race 8.
Super Hi-5 Carryover: $3,021.13.
OLDSMAR - Unbeaten Independence Hall drew the No. 4 post position for Saturday’s Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, the centerpiece of Festival Preview Day 40 at Tampa Bay Downs. Eight 3-year-olds are entered in the Sam F. Davis, a mile-and-a-sixteenth race on the main track. It is part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying series, with points awarded to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale, and is scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card.
Post time for the first race is 12:12 p.m. Several of the top jockeys in the country will be in Oldsmar for Festival Preview Day 40, including John Velazquez, Jose Ortiz, Joel Rosario, Julien Leparoux and Tyler Gaffalione.
Independence Hall, who won the Gr. III Nashua on Nov. 3 at Aqueduct by 12 ¼ lengths and the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 1 by 4 lengths, will be racing around two turns for the first time in four career starts while carrying co-top weight of 122 pounds. Those factors didn’t stop the morning-line maker from listing him at 6-5.
Ortiz will be aboard.
“In horse racing, there are a lot of circumstances that can come into play,” said trainer Michael Trombetta. “You have a lot of horses testing the waters to see how good they are, and all of us have the same goal: to see how far they can take us. We’d love to show up and run big and win the race, but the big picture is a little further down the line.”
Three other stakes races, two of which are graded, add luster to a lucrative Festival Preview Day card featuring total stakes purse money of $750,000. The Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes, a mile-and-a-sixteenth event on the turf for fillies and mares 4-and-upward, is the eighth race. It features a standout in 5-year-old Got Stormy, a multiple Gr. I stakes-winner who was a finalist for the 2019 Eclipse Award in the Turf Female category. She will break from the No. 7 post position in an eight-horse field. Got Stormy is 8-for-18 lifetime with career earnings of $1,430,578, is trained by Mark Casse and will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.
The Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes, at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf for horses 4-years-old-and-upward, is slated as the 10th race. The nine-horse field is headed by Halladay, trained by Todd Pletcher with Velazquez in the saddle, and Caribou Club, trained by Tom Proctor and to be ridden by Ortiz.
The remaining stakes is the $150,000 Suncoast for 3-year-old fillies going a mile-and-40-yards on the main track. It goes as the ninth race, and is a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” qualifying race, awarding points on a 10-4-2-1 scale. The favorite is likely to be Florida-bred Two Sixty, who won the 7-furlong Gasparilla Stakes by a neck on Jan. 18. Owned by Gary Barber and trained by Casse, Two Sixty will be ridden by Gaffalione. Top trainer Steve Asmussen has supplemented Comical to the race; she won the Gr. III Schuylerville last summer at Saratoga and has two Gr. I placings. Rosario will be aboard.
Independence Hall breezed 4 furlongs Sunday in 48 3/5 seconds, and despite his sterling credentials and the impressive appearance he has made since his arrival in Oldsmar a month ago, most, if not all, of the others will be trying to establish themselves as serious candidates for the next round of Kentucky Derby prep races by leaving Independence Hall on the statehouse steps.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who won the 2016 Sam F. Davis with Ocean Knight, is sending his colt Ajaaweed, a Shadwell Stable-owned homebred who finished a fast-closing second in the Gr. II Remsen Stakes on Dec. 7 at Aqueduct. That race was a mile-and-an-eighth, the second time he has raced around two turns. Rosario will ride Ajaaweed, who has turned in a string of solid workouts at McLaughlin’s Palm Meadows Training Center base.
McLaughlin praised Ajaaweed’s performance in the Remsen, in which he missed catching Shotski by a half-length despite racing wide on the final turn. “The race was on a track that had been favoring speed all day, and he was the only one who really closed,” the trainer said. “He was unlucky not to win, but we were very pleased with his effort. He’s doing very well and we’re excited about getting his 3-year-old campaign started and taking the first step to the first Saturday in May, if he’ll take us there.”
The field for the Sam F. Davis Stakes in post position order:
1. Ajaaweed, Joel Rosario; 2. Sole Volante, Luca Panici; 3. Albert Park, Pablo Morales; 4. Independence Hall, Jose Ortiz; 5. No Getting Over Me, Samy Camacho; 6. Premier Star, John Velazquez; 7. Tiz Rye Time, Julien Leparoux; 8. Chapalu, Daniel Centeno.
The Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes:
1. A. A. Azula’s Arch, Julien Leparoux; 2. Altea, Joel Rosario; 3. Jehozacat, Daniel Centeno; 4. Andina Del Sur, Jose Ortiz; 5. Dynatail, John Velazquez; 6. Kelsey’s Cross, Luca Panici; 7. Got Stormy, Tyler Gaffalione; 8. Phantom Opening, Antonio Gallardo.
The entries for the Tampa Bay Stakes:
1. March to the Arch, Tyler Gaffalione; 2. Devamani, Joel Rosario; 3. Admiralty Pier, Samy Camacho; 4. Caribou Club, Jose Ortiz; 5. Renaisance Frolic, Antonio Gallardo; 6. Halladay, John Velazquez; 7. Hembree, Pablo Morales; 8. Real Story, Jesus Castanon; 9. My Bariley, to be announced.
The field for the Suncoast Stakes:
1. Lucrezia, Daniel Centeno; 2. We the Clouds, Angel Suarez; ; 3. Two Sixty, Tyler Gaffalione; 4. Motu, Jose Ortiz; 5. Comical, Joel Rosario; 6. Miss Important, Willie Martinez; 7. Blame Debbie, John Velazquez; 8. Turtle Trax, Julien Leparoux; 9. Embossed, Pablo Morales.
The purses may have been down for the Pegasus World Cup races yesterday, but the bottom line was up.Total wagering on the card at Gulfstream Park checked in at $41,896,435 on a warm, sunny day in South Florida, a big boost of 10.9% from the $37,786,967 wagered on a rainy Pegasus Day a year ago.
Saturday's handle was just a shade under Gulfstream's all-time record of $41,983,882 set in 2018.
Beyond that, it would be no surprise if Gulfstream officials let out a sigh of relief over Mucho Gusto's victory in the $2.94 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes as he was not one of the five horses who would have generated a single winning ticket and the jackpot payout in the Rainbow Pick 6 wager.
There were five horses who would have produced a single winning ticket, and, quite surprisingly, one of them was Higher Power, the 5-2 betting favorite who finished 10th and last. The other single winning-ticket possibilities were on War Story (third), Bodexpress (fifth), Tenfold (sixth) and True Timber (eighth).
Without a single winner, there will be a mandatory payout of the pool today with a carryover of $3,612,594, and
Gulfstream officials estimate there could be a Pick 6 pool of at least $15 million.
Winners of the the Pick 6 Saturday still made a major score, collecting $394,349 for a 20-cent ticket.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool for Thursday’s program at Gulfstream Park will be guaranteed at $4 million. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 38th day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Monday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $1,421.
A mandatory payout of the pool is scheduled for Sunday, when the entire pool will be shared by those ticket-holders with the most winners. Should the Rainbow 6 continue to go unsolved through Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup Day card, the pool is expected to exceed $10 million.
Pegasus Post-Position Draw
Post positions will be drawn and odds assigned for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf today at 11:30 a.m. at Frankey’s Sports Bar at The Village at Gulfstream Park. The two Pegasus World Cup races, presented by Runhappy, along with seven other stakes races, will be contested Saturday.
The draw for both races will be shown live on GulfstreamPark.com and XBTV.com.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 32nd consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $2,371,994 for Wednesday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $2,223.
Million-Dollar Spice Is Nice Debuts Impressively
Todd Pletcher unveiled an exciting 3-year-old filly prospect in Spice Is Nice on Sunday’s program. The daughter of Curlin scored a 12-length victory in Race 6, a mile maiden special weight race. Spice Is Nice, who was purchased for $1.05 million at the 2017 Keeneland September sale by Robert and Lawana Low, rated off the early pace before moving to the lead along the rail under John Velazquez on the turn into the stretch and drawing clear. Spice Is Nice ran a mile in 1:36.06 in her impressive debut.
Earlier on the card, Motivated Seller, a 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief trained by Chad Brown, set a fast pressured pace before drawing away to a six-length score. Owned by Klaravich Stables Inc., Motivated Seller ran six furlongs in 1:10.99 under Javier Castellano in her career debut.
Who’s Hot: Luis Saez tripled Sunday, scoring aboard Mr. Atila ($6) in Race 2, By the Sey Shore ($11.40) in Race 5, and Bold Painter ($14.40) in Race 7. Defending champ Irad Ortiz Jr. rode a pair of winners, scoring aboard Hard Count ($2.40) in Race 3 and New York’s Finest ($5) in Race 9.
LAUREL, MD – Without a favorite winning even one race, there were seven winning tickets in Friday’s Stronach 5, each returning $25,941. The wager, with a 12-percent takeout, had a guaranteed pool of $100,000, but the final total handle reached $206,397.
The lowest payoff in the sequence was $11.20, and that came in the opening leg at Laurel Park. Also featured were races from Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park and Golden Gate Fields.
Friday’s Stronach 5 Sequence:
? Leg One: Laurel Park 8th Race: Factor It In - $11.20
? Leg Two: Santa Anita 1sr Race: Lavender - $13.40
? Leg Three: Gulfstream Park 9th Race: Ekhitibaar - $14.40
? Leg Four: Golden Gate Fields: Hot n’Famous - $12.80
? Leg Five: Gulfstream Park Race 10th Race: Lady Grace - $13.40
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool is carried over to the next Friday.
The Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream survived again, and there's a guaranteed pool of $2.5 million today.
The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 30th consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet, and multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $13,234.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool will be guaranteed at $2 million Thursday at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 28th consecutive day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet today, when multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $20,721.
There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $3,903.83 heading into Thursday’s program.
WHO'S HOT - Irad Ortiz Jr. rode three winners on today’s program, scoring aboard Hey Kitten ($3.80) in Race 4, Elusive Ro ($7.40) in Race 7, and Codrington ($4) in Race 8.
After the passing of Dave Erb on Nov. 22, the oldest living Kentucky Derby-winning jockey is now Bobby Ussery. Erb was the rider of Needles, the first Derby winner bred in Florida, in 1956. He was 95. Ussery won the Derby in 1967 aboard Proud Clarion; he'll be 85 in September.
Ussery is three years older than Gulfstream steward Don Brumfield, winner of the 1966 Derby aboard Kauai King, and Gustavo Avila, winner in 1971 on Canonero II.
Braulio Baeza, winner in 1962 with Chateaugay and now a jockey's agent, will be 80 in March; Ronnie Turcotte, two-time winner with Riva Ridge (1972) and Secretariat (1973), will be 79 in July; Angel Cordero, winner in 1974 with Cannonade and also a jockey's agent, will be 78 in November, and Ocala's Jacinto Vasquez, winner on Foolish Pleasure (1975) and Genuine Risk (1980), turned 76 on Jan. 4.
A little more than a year ago, Brent and Crystal Fernung, owners of Journeyman Stud, announced that their confidence in Khozan's first crop was so great that if the son of Distorted Humor did not end 2019 as Florida's leading freshman sire, the first 25 breeders who sent mares to the stallion in the spring of 2019 would not have to pay the stud fee of $4,000. After Khozan bounced out of the gate with a flurry of early winners, there was never a doubt that the Fernungs had nothing to worry about.
Khozan opened up a big lead in the money-earnings department, greatly aided by Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell's many winners from their Stonehedge Farm South farm in Williston, and the outcome of that race was a foregone conclusion. He wound up with earnings of $1,258,517, easily outdistancing Ocala Stud's The Big Beast ($678,306). Double Diamond Farm's Bahamian Squall was third with $292,966, followed by Journeyman's Fury Kapcori ($280,002).
Khozan also led in the winners department all season, although The Big Beast made a big move late in the year that fell just short. Khozan wound up with 18 winners, two better than The Big Beast and 11 more than both Bahamian Squall and Fury Kapcori.
Four other Florida freshmen had winners - Bridlewood Farm's Chitu (5), Goldmark Farm's Young Brian (2), and Pleasant Acres' Amira's Prince and Champagne Farm's Katz My Song, one apiece.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 23rd consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet Wednesday, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,322,193 for today’s program.
Multiple tickets with all six winners on the New Year’s Day card were each worth $67,649.
Omaha Beach Arrives - Omaha Beach, one of the favorites for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Jan. 25, arrived safely from California Tuesday evening. Omaha Beach, a son of War Front, was the early morning-line choice for the Kentucky Derby after victories in the Gr. II Rebel and Gr. I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. He was scratched three days before the race, however, after being diagnosed with an entrapped epiglottis.
The colt owned by Fox Hill Farms returned five months later to win the Gr. I Santa Anita Sprint Championship before a game second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. In his last start prior to arriving at Gulfstream, he handily beat four others in the Gr. I Malibu Dec. 28 at Santa Anita.
OLDSMAR - Hall of Fame jockey Jacinto Vasquez will be the featured guest on track announcer Richard Grunder’s “Morning Glory Club” Show at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the first floor of the grandstand.
Vasquez retired in 1996 with 5,228 victories, which is 26th best all-time among North American jockeys. The Ocala resident rode an additional race in 2008 at Santa Anita that included eight Hall of Fame riders.
Vasquez won the Kentucky Derby on Florida-bred Foolish Pleasure in 1975 and on the filly Genuine Risk in 1980, but may be more well known as the jockey for Ruffian, who won her first 10 starts before breaking down in a match race against Foolish Pleasure on July 6, 1975 at Belmont Park. Attempts to save her were unsuccessful and she was euthanized the following day. Vasquez rode Ruffian in the match race, saying she was the better of the two horses.
The rider’s other filly of renown, Genuine Risk, was the first of her sex to win the Run for the Roses since Regret in 1915. Both Ruffian and Genuine Risk are in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga. Among the many other top thoroughbreds ridden by Vasquez were Turkoman, Smile, Highland Blade, Forego, Forever Silver, Sensitive Prince and Princess Rooney. He won the Tampa Bay Derby in 1990 on Champagneforashley.
Vasquez will be accompanied Saturday by his close friend, sports writer Bernie Dickman, whose Tampa Bay Downs selections appeared in the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) for 22 seasons. Dickman, who also gave handicapping seminars at Tampa Bay Downs for 15 years, will sign copies of his book “Thrills of a Lifetime – My 62 years as a sports writer.” He currently opines on various facets of the racing and breeding industries on his website, www.tracktimestoday.net.
Copies of the book signed by Dickman and Vasquez will be on sale for $22. Vasquez will also sign glossy photographs of Ruffian and Genuine Risk for $12 apiece and will be available to sign other memorabilia.
Fans who attend the “Morning Glory Club” Show on Saturday will receive free coffee and donuts and free admission to the races in the afternoon.
CHANCE TO WIN BIG - The second annual High Rollers Handicapping Contest, featuring a potential first-place prize of $20,000, will be held Saturday, Jan. 11 in the VIP Room.
Players are required to deposit $1,000, of which $500 will serve as the player’s wagering bankroll and $500 will go to the prize pool. Any dollar amount remaining in their bankroll at the conclusion of the contest goes directly to the player, meaning all of the prize money is returned to the entrants.
Wagers will be limited to win, place and/or show, with each player required to bet $100 on five races on the card. Anyone wagering on less or more than five races will be disqualified. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five finishers, with $20,000 to the winner, or 50 percent of the prize pool if there are fewer than 100 entrants; $8,000/20 percent to the second-place finisher; $6,000/15 percent to third; $4,000/10 percent to fourth; and $2,000/5 percent to fifth.
Only races at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 11 will be included in the contest, and players must wager at the contest site to be eligible. The first and second-place finishers will also earn a seat in either of the next two National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championships in Las Vegas (this year’s event will be held Feb. 7-9 at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino). Players can enter online at www.tampabaydowns.com . The entry deadline is noon on Jan. 11. For additional details, call (813) 855-4401, extension 1368.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool will be guaranteed at $1.5 million for Wednesday’s New Year’s Day program at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 22nd racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet Sunday. Multiple winning tickets returned $1,019.
WHO'S HOT: Marcos Meneses notched a triple on Sunday’s card riding back-to-back winners Gran Causeway ($3) in Race 4 and Pango ($11) in Race 5, before scoring aboard Rebelde ($6.40) in Race 7.
Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode five winners on Friday and three Saturday, made two visits to the winner’s circle, scoring with Gufo ($5) in Race 3 and Blood Moon ($4) in Race 6.
Tyler Gaffalione, who rode two stakes winners on Saturday’s card, rode back-to-back winners Sunday aboard Tap the Mojo ($19.80) in Race 9 and Krammy Boy ($5.40) in Race 10.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Leonard C. Green’s A Threat of Blue will be on a quest to maintain a perfect record over the Gulfstream Park turf course in Saturday’s $75,000 Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds, one of six stakes on an 11-race program.
The son of Hard Spun was undefeated in three starts during the 2018-2019 Championship Meet. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained colt won an optional claiming allowance by 2 ¾ lengths before capturing the Dania Beach by 3 ½ lengths and the Palm Beach by three-quarters of a length.
The Tropical Park Derby could well prove to be a prep for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on Jan. 25.
“We were going to Del Mar for the [Nov. 30] Hollywood Derby, but with all the weather and flight issues, we changed up,” McLaughlin said. “We were looking at the Pegasus, then we decided to run here. We still could go to the Pegasus. We’ll see. It was either this race or others here and there. Doing this we might be able to do both, because it’s back in four weeks."
The McLaughlin-trained Lucullan, a graded-stakes winner owned by Godolphin LLC, is also a prospect for the 1 3/16-mile Pegasus Turf, in which all participants will run medication-free. “I think it’s a good thing,”McLaughlin said. “I commend them for doing the changes.”
A Thread of Blue, who will be ridden by Luis Saez, has been installed at 7-2 in the morning line, a price that likely would have been lower had he not drawn the No. 14 post position.
Harrell Ventures LLC’s Halladay, who is coming off a pair of third-place finishes in New York stakes, and Calumet Farm’s English Bee, who won the Gr. III Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs and the Parx Fall Derby in his last two starts, were rated second and third in the morning line at 9-2 and 6-1, respectively. Halladay (No. 12) and English Bee (No. 11) also drew outside post positions. John Velazquez has the call on Halladay, while Chris Landeros is scheduled to ride English Bee.
Patricia Generazio’s Timmy M. drew the No. 1 post position for a quest to win his first stakes race. The homebred son of Morning Line has placed three times in stakes, including a runner-up finish in the Sept. 21 Bear’s Den, in which he recovered from a bumping incident entering the stretch. “He belongs and it’s the last 3-year-old race of the year,” trainer Joe Orseno said. “He’s pretty honest. He’s had some rough trips. That’s his biggest problem. He’s been beaten by bad luck.” Paco Lopez has the mount.
Arindel’s Scraps, a homebred son of of Brethren who defeated Timmy M. in the Bear’s Den, enters the Tropical Park Derby off a fast-closing victory in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream. Jairo Rendon has the return mount.
Monarch Stables Inc.’s Art G Is Back is a multiple stakes-winner who will seek his first stakes victory on turf. The son of Exchange Rate, who finished fourth behind A Thread of Blue in the Palm Beach, has been second or third in four of his six turf starts, including a second-place finish in the English Channel, which he lost by a nose.
“I think he’s a little better on dirt, but he’s been close on turf,” trainer Ron Spatz said. “It’s the last race for 3-year-olds, so why not?” Rajiv Maragh is scheduled to ride Art G Is Back for the first time Saturday.
Paradise Farms Corp. and Mad Dog Racing’s Temple and Phoenix Thoroughbred III’s Kadar, who finished first and second, a nose apart, respectively, ahead of Halladay in the Nov. 29 Gio Ponti at Aqueduct, will return to action in the Tropical Park Derby. Both horses are trained by Michael Maker, who also entered Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Faraway Kitten. Temple, who was claimed for $25,000 at Gulfstream in July before winning the $600,000 Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs, will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. Kadir, a 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy who started his career in England before arriving n the U.S. this year, will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
Tyler Gaffalione has the mount aboard Faraway Kitten, who captured the Arlington Derby (G3) in July.
Forever Mo, Stirling Drive, Notorious Nick, Jais’s Solitude and Armistice Day round out the field.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 continued to elude bettors today, and the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 15th consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park. A carryover jackpot of $649,106 awaits bettors for Friday’s program.
Tickets with all six winners today were each worth $8,480.
The carryover jackpot stood at $591,970 at the start of wagering today, and $238,079 was bet into the multi-race pool.
Friday’s sequence will span Races 5-10. Races 8-10 will also be included in the Stronach 5 sequence that will be kicked off by Laurel Park’s Race 8. Laurel’s Race 9 will be the third leg of the Stronach 5.
Race 9 at Gulfstream is a one-mile optional claiming allowance for 2-year-olds, featuring Juddmonte Farms’ Toledo, a son of Into Mischief who broke his maiden at Aqueduct in his second career start.
Among the other prominent entrants are Ian Wilkes-trained Churn N Burn, a gelded son of Liam’s Map who broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in his second career start; Patrick Biancone-trained Ete Indien, a son of Summer Front who will make his dirt debut after breaking his maiden at first asking at Gulfstream and finishing off the board in the Gr. III Bourbon at Keeneland; Jorge Abreu-trained Liveyourbestlife, a debut winner who finished off the board in the Gr. III Nashua at Aqueduct last time out; and Gilberto Zerpa-trained Masterday, who scored an impressive debut win at Gulfstream Park West.
WHO'S HOT: Emisael Jaramillo scored a four-bagger today, winning aboard Clamor ($34) in Race 3, Micah’s Girl ($6.20) in Race 4, Fast Loaded ($20.20) in Race 9 and Abaca Dream ($5.60) in Race 10.
It's a little too late for Ocala Stud Farm's The Big Beast to catch Journeyman Stud's Khozan for the Florida freshman sire money-earnings title, but the winners crown figures to go right down to the wire.
Hauntedbythemusic saw to that Saturday with an eye-opening score in his six-furlong debut at Tampa Bay Downs. It was the 15th winner for the son of Yes It's True, tying Khozan for the lead with 23 days remaining on the racing calendar.
With Antonio Gallardo aboard, the colt bred by Sorrento Oaks Farm was in a three-way battle for the lead from the outset through fractions of :22.19, :45.34 and :57.48, but from the top of the stretch home it was no contest. Hauntedbythemusic left the other two behind and scampered off to win by 6 1/4 lengths, clocked in a sharp 1:09.69, just one second off the track record. He paid a generous $19.20, earned a check for $16,300, and promises to be a major factor in the upcoming 3-year-old races at Tampa.
To put Hauntedbythemusic's performance in perspective, two races earlier Zaino Boyz was an easy winner of the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes and was clocked in 1:09.95. He received a 92 'E' rating from Equibase compared to the 95 for Hauntedbythemusic an hour later.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 21st running of the Claiming Crown Saturday at Gulfstream Park produced an all-time handle record of $13.846 million. The previous record for the event was $13.612 million set last year.
The 11-race program was highlighted by Leitone’s victory in the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel and four stakes victories by jockey Paco Lopez.
“We’re ecstatic with the results from the Claiming Crown,” said Mike Lakow, Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing. “It continues to grow and we witnessed some special performances from our horses and jockeys. We appreciate the support from the horsemen as well as our fans. We believe this is a special weekend at Gulfstream with the Claiming Crown and the Clasico Internacional del Caribe. We’re looking forward to another memorable day Sunday with the best thoroughbreds from Latin America and the Caribbean. The energy in the building will be incredible once again.”
Dan Metzger, President of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said; “It’s extremely gratifying to see the Claiming Crown set a wagering record. It is improving every year and it’s become a real can’t-miss spot on the calendar for horsemen and fans alike. We appreciate the support of Gulfstream Park, the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and all the fans and horsemen.”
Today’s card will be highlighted by the $300,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe, and five races featuring the best from Latin America and the Caribbean. First race post is 11:40 a.m. The Clasico will feature a Taste of the Caribbean as well as a concert after the races by De La Ghetto.
Rainbow 6 carryover will have guaranteed pool
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a guaranteed pool of $300,000 when racing resumes. It will begin with the sixth race, an allowance race at a mile on the turf for fillies and mares. The remaining five races in the sequence will feature the races of the Clasico Internacional del Caribe.
The Ocala Breeders Sales Co. was scheduled to run eight quarter horse races followed by the two OBS sprints worth $125,000 each on Tuesday, with betting allowed on races 1-8. It turned out that only four quarter horses races filled, so racing secretary Jay Friedman was able to substitute four thoroughbred races, with betting, instead.
Here's a breakdown of how the betting went, for the edification of those who would like to bring pari-mutuel wagering to Ocala.
Race 1 - Win, place, show: $1,271; exacta: $1,873. Total - $3,144.
Race 2 - WPS: $1,757; daily double: $102; exacta: $810. Total - $2,669.
Race 3 - WPS: $1,644; daily double: $75; exacta: $1,170. Total - $2,889.
Race 4 - WPS: $1,436; daily double: $75; exacta: $1,362. Total - $2,873.
Total betting for 4 quarter horse races = $11,575.
Race 5 - WPS: $2,622; daily double: $137; exacta: $1,176. Total - $3,935.
Race 6 - WPS: $2,007; daily double: $215; exacta: $1,031. Total - $3,253.
Race 7 - WPS: $1,937; daily double: $241; exacta: $1,007. Total - $3,185.
Race 8 - WPS: $15,435; daily double: $256; exacta: $1,301. Total - $16,992.
Total for 8 races - $38,940.
What can be learned from this, if anything?
(1) The daily double, locally, isn't too popular.
(2) Exactas are the most popular, since the win-place-show totals have to be divided by three.
(3) The big jump in WPS for Race 8 can probably be explained thusly. First, Kitchen Fire was such a standout (he went off at 2/5 and won by 17 1/4 lengths) that he commanded some huge bets, and second, a late-arriving crowd that came just to see the two stakes. Kitchen Fire's payoffs were stunning - $2.80, $6.00, $3.60.
The 4-year-old gelding had finished 10th by 14 1/4 lengths at Tampa Bay Downs on the grass in his first 2019 start. Switching to synthetic tracks - Presque Isle Downs and Woodbine - and Kitchen Fire went 3-3-1 in seven tries, so his liking for the OBS track was no surprise.
EARLY NEW YEAR'S WISHES:
I wish all racetracks would close their windows when the first horse enters the gate. Maybe - just maybe - I wouldn't be so disappointed when a horse I bet was 6-1 as they neared the gate, and went to 2-1 during the running. It happens way too often and I am far from being the only one who is angered by the policy.
I wish the Blood-Horse - on its stallion website pages - would stop the practice of not including all runners by a stallion who are to compete on any day in the "upcoming races" column. I complained about this once before several years ago and received an answer from one of the editors (Mark Simon, I believe), who explained that stallion owners don't want to see entries for cheaper runners listed. Why not? Do they think the people who search for runners are stupid and don't know that some of the stallion's horses run in cheaper races?
If a horse's victory total is updated on a stallion's ledger, and how much it earned in the cheaper race is included in its totals, then it should also be included in upcoming entries. Quick example: in today's entries for Handsome Mike, Love Daddy isn't mentioned and she's running in the first at Woodbine. The 3-year-old filly is 3-2-2 in 8 starts with earnings of $64,849 and she's in a $40,000 claimer with a purse of $45,000 plus thousands in enhancements. Doesn't make sense.
Wire-to-Wire magazine has its Florida Stallion Progeny page, and it includes EVERY horse by a stallion running at every track in North America that day. Regardless of class.
Speaking of Wire-to-Wire, every race story in the magazine that discusses winners, and every advance detailing upcoming races, leads off with the owner/owners of each horse mentioned. So why is it that the charts for Gulfstream, Gulfstream West and Tampa Bay Downs include the breeders, but don't include the names of the owners? If the owners are so important that they make up a good part of every column, why aren't they important enough to be listed in the charts?
And, why do the Florida Stallion Progeny pages list stallions that haven't been here for years, and the runners listed so often are not Florida-breds. Quick example - in today's pages Formal Class is listed under the stallion Formal Dinner, who hasn't been in Ocala since the War of 1812. Formal Class is a 7-year-old mare bred in Pennsylvania. What person reading Wire-to-Wire cares about this horse?
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 2019-2020 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park will get under way Friday for 89 days of world-class racing, and featuring the country's top tier thoroughbreds, trainers and jockeys.
An eight-decade tradition of racing will continue through March 29 while the bar will be raised to provide Gulfstream patrons with a more enjoyable and exciting day at the races.
Gulfstream is undergoing an extensive $20 million modernization project designed to enhance the racing, dining and entertainment experiences of its fans. Although not all elements will be completed by Friday, highlights of the project include a new infield tote board measuring 100 feet by 30 feet boasting a high-density pixel LED screen; an enhanced sound system on the apron and grandstand areas; additional LED screens and televisions throughout the facility; a new open-air Dining Terrace on the second floor overlooking the racetrack, featuring luxury boxes with private TVs, as well as a lounge section, both offering food and beverage service from Ten Palms.
First-race post time is set for 12:35 p.m. for Friday’s 10-race program that will feature a $100,000 pool guarantee for the 20-cent Rainbow 6. Live racing will primarily be conducted on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule through the fall and winter months.
The Championship Meet schedule includes 98 stakes (39 graded) worth more than $28.6 million in purses.
The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational series will bring together the best in thoroughbred racing and entertainment for a memorable world-class event on Jan. 25. The $9 million Pegasus World Cup, won in 2019 by City of Light, and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf, captured by Bricks and Mortar in last season’s inaugural running, will co-headline a program with nine stakes, including four other graded stakes.
The $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby will headline a seven-stakes program on March 28 that will include the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. The Florida Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds that has produced the winners of 59 Triple Crown races, was won last year by Maximum Security, who went on to finish first in the Kentucky Derby, only to be controversially disqualified.
The Road to the Triple Crown will also include the $350,000 Holy Bull, which will anchor a program with six graded stakes on Feb. 1, and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, which will headline a blockbuster Feb. 29 program that will offer nine graded stakes.
The stakes schedule will be kicked off Saturday by the Juvenile Showcase program featuring six stakes for 2-year-olds.
The second weekend of the Championship Meet will be co-headlined by the $1.1 million Claiming Crown, an event with nine stakes for horses that have started in a claiming race. The colorful Clasico Internacional del Caribe card with five stakes for horses from the Caribbean and Latin America, featuring the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe, is set for Sunday, Dec. 8.
Irad Ortiz Jr., who edged two-time defending champion Luis Saez, 135-134, to capture his first Championship Meet riding title last season, will return for a title defense, joining his brother, Jose Ortiz, as well as Hall of Famers John Velazquez and Javier Castellano, in a world-class jockey’s room.
Jorge Navarro, who snapped his streak of three consecutive second-place finishes behind 15-time training titlist Todd Pletcher to win the 2018-2019 Championship Meet crown, is gearing up for a title defense while saddling horses beside Hall of Famers Bill Mott and Shug McGaughey, along with reigning three-time Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown and numerous other prominent conditioners.
Brown will be in the running for a fourth honor at the 49th annual Eclipse Awards, which will be hosted by Gulfstream for the eighth consecutive year on Jan. 23.
MIAMI GARDENS - Gulfstream Park West closed its 40-day Fall Turf Festival meet Sunday with a mandatory payout in the 20-cent Rainbow 6, which returned $4,761 to multiple tickets with all six winners.
Unsolved by a single bettor for the duration of the meet, which began Oct. 2, the multi-race wager had a total pool of $4,709,660 after $3,615,196 was bet Sunday on top of a carryover of $1,094,464 from Saturday’s program.
Sunday’s card also had mandatory payouts of $1,656 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5, $337 in the 50-cent Late Pick 4 and $4,364 in the $1 Super Hi-5.
Jockey Paco Lopez won once on Sunday and finished as the meet’s leading rider with 38 victories, six more than Emisael Jaramillo and apprentice Cristian Torres. His mounts earned more than $825,000, despite the fact that he was riding at Monmouth Park for the first month of the meeting.
Saffie Joseph Jr. earned his second straight fall meet championship with 22 winner's circle visits from 57 starts, with earnings of more than $450,000. Ralph Nicks, Jorge Navarro and Victor Barboza tied for second with eight winners. Frank Calabrese led the owners with eight victories, and Arindel's $245,000 led the money-winning title.
Live racing moves to Gulfstream Park for the 2019-2020 Championship Meet, the premier winter meet in the country, which opens its 89-day stand on Friday. Post time for the first of 10 races is 12:35 p.m.
OLDSMAR - Thoroughbred racing returns to Tampa Bay Downs on Wednesday, Nov. 27 with the opening-day card of the 2019-2020 meeting. Admission is free.
The track is celebrating its 94th anniversary season with a boatload of activities and promotions planned throughout the 90-day meeting to enhance the equine energy. Oldsmar oval visitors will notice a new face picking the races and providing handicapping information: TVG analyst Matt Carothers, a lifelong fan and racing follower.
Carothers, TVG’s first on-the-air handicapper in 1999, will present his selections over the Tampa Bay Downs closed-circuit telecast each racing day. Before joining TVG, he worked for three years as the on-track handicapper and TV host at Canterbury Park in Minnesota; at Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands in New Jersey; and for New York City OTB, partnering with track announcer Dave Johnson.
Carothers says he looks for natural speed and value for his buck when handicapping and wagering, and he is eager to offer his angles on profiting from the consistently large Tampa Bay Downs fields.
Bettors should expect Carothers to pay close attention to the track’s exciting new wager: the Ultimate Pick-6, requiring bettors to select the winners of six consecutive races on a single card.
The minimum Ultimate Pick-6 wager is 20 cents. Because of the wager’s carryover jackpot format, the Ultimate Pick-6 could be a life-changer for one or more bettors. For anyone to collect the jackpot on a given day, they must have the only ticket correctly selecting all six winners. Otherwise, 75 percent of the pari-mutuel pool will be split among those bettors selecting the greatest number of first-place finishers, with the remainder added to the carryover jackpot the next day.
The Saturday, Nov. 30 program offers fans chances galore to win cash and prizes. In addition to the racing action, the meeting’s first Saturday is “Tampa Bay Sport Day,” with in-the-know fans having an opportunity to win tickets to various professional and college events by correctly answering trivia questions and spinning a prize wheel.
Tickets will be awarded for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Lightning, the Rays, the Outback Bowl, the Gasparilla Bowl, USF men’s and women’s basketball and the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.
Nov. 30 also marks the start of the “10 Days of Festivus On-Line Handicapping Contest,” which runs through Dec. 21. There is no charge to enter and the winner receives a $1,000 cash prize, with a second prize of $500. The Festivus contest allows fans and bettors to test their skills against the best Oldsmar oval handicappers from across the nation. Go to www.festivuschallenge.com for rules and to enter.
The primary focus throughout the winter and spring, as always, will be on the racetrack, where excitement has been building to a fever pitch the last three weeks during morning workouts. A stakes schedule that gets underway on Dec. 7 with a pair of $100,000, 6-furlong races for 2-year-olds will be highlighted by the March 7 Festival Day program, featuring the 40th edition of the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-old Kentucky Derby prospects at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth. The first four finishers in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby earn qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”
Also part of the Festival Day program are a pair of big-money graded races on the turf course: the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares and the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
The track’s three other graded stakes will be contested on Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South, Feb. 8: the Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes for 3-year-olds, the Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for older horses on the turf and the Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes for older fillies and mares on the turf.
The Sam F. Davis awards points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” to the first four finishers, while that day’s $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies awards points on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” to the first four finishers.
Florida Cup Day is March 29, with six stakes on both dirt and turf offering $110,000 apiece to the owners of registered Florida-bred horses.
Almost all of the track’s top trainers and jockeys have returned. Heading a powerful training contingent are Gerald Bennett, who has won the last four conditioner titles and five overall; last year’s runner-up, two-time track champion Kathleen O’Connell; third-place finisher Michael Stidham, who is two shy of 2,000 career victories; and 2019 Breeders’ Cup-winning trainers Ignacio Correas IV and H. Graham Motion.
Leading jockeys set to compete include defending champion Samy Camacho; four-time kingpin Antonio Gallardo; six-time champion Daniel Centeno; and Pablo Morales.
Tampa Bay Downs races on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with Sundays added to the mix on Dec. 22. There is no racing on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and Easter, April 12. A special Thursday card will be offered on Dec. 26.
The track is open every day except Thanksgiving (Nov. 28), Christmas and Easter for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.
MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 35th consecutive day Sunday at Gulfstream Park West, and the carryover jackpot jumped to $909,175 for the return of live racing on Wednesday.
First-race post time is 1:20 p.m.
A total of $196,968 was wagered into the Rainbow 6 Sunday, on top of a carryover of $861,911 from Saturday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $1,003.66.
No single bettor has solved the multi-race wager during the Fall Turf Festival meet, which began Oct. 2 and runs through Sunday. The Rainbow 6 was last taken down for a $2.2 jackpot payoff Sept. 27 at Gulfstream Park.
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 spans Races 3-8. The sequence includes the return in Race 7 of Bodexpress, fresh off his maiden triumph last month,in a $45,000 allowance for 3-year-olds and up going one mile on the main track.
NOTES: Jockey Jairo Rendon rode three winners Sunday, including back-to-back scores on Lavi ($94.60) in Race 2 and Shyza ($8.60) in Race 3. Rendon completed his triple aboard Victor Lounge ($5.80) in Race 7.
MIAMI GARDENS - No single bettor solved the 20-cent Rainbow 6 for the 31st consecutive racing day Wednesday at Gulfstream Park West, with the carryover jackpot rising to $768,774 for today’s eight-race card. First race post time is 1:20 p.m.
Multiple tickets with all six winners Wednesday were each worth $4,250
Today’s Rainbow 6 covers Races 3-8 highlighted by a $39,000 optional claimer going a mile on the turf in Race 6 which attracted a field of nine Florida-breds led by 9-5 program favorite Mozzo Bello.
Horses Arriving Wednesday from Mexico for Clasico del Caribe
Three contenders for the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe were among 14 horses arriving from Mexico Wednesday to compete in the Clasico Internacional del Caribe Sunday, Dec. 8 at Gulfstream Park.
El Santo, Lopecitos and Thibaut are all expected to run in the 1 1/8-mile Clasico del Caribe for 3-year-olds, the richest of five stakes worth $690,000 in purses on the Clasico Internacional del Caribe program.
This will be the third consecutive year that Gulfstream has served as host for the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, remaining the only pari-mutuel facility outside Latin America and the Caribbean to host the event since its inception in 1966.
Notes: Jockeys Paco Lopez and Jairo Rendon alternated winning Wednesday’s first four races. Lopez took Race 1 with Frank’s Legacy ($2.80) and Race 3 on Babie Monster ($16.60) while Rendon was first on Itsmyluckyknight ($6) in Race 2 and Captain Ron ($6) in Race 4.
It's been almost a year since Brent and Crystal Fernung announced an intriguing deal concerning their soon-to-be freshman sire, Khozan. It was a simple premise - if the son of Distorted Humor didn't wind up 2019 as Florida's leading sire, the first 25 breeders who sent a mare to him would receive free breedings.
With an announced stud fee of $4,000 for this year, that would have amounted to a $100,000 hit for the Fernungs' Journeyman Stud.
With about a month and a half remaining in the season, it would take a miracle for runner-up The Big Beast to catch Khozan in the money-earnings department. Khozan is on top today with his runners collecting $1,037,820, and TBB is well behind at $564,471.
However, in the winners department, TBB had a winner at Gulfstream West yesterday - Quality On Tap - who became his sire's 13th winner, and he's now just one behind. Khozan has also been the leader on that list since day one, and he's sitting at 14 today. But even if TBB caught Khozan before Dec. 31, the money-earnings list will rule.
The third and fourth sires on the frosh list with six winners each are Double Diamond's Bahamian Squall and Journeyman's second-stringer, Fury Kapcori.
William and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Mitole made an emphatic case for one or more Eclipse Awards with a sharp score in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint yesterday.
Cleverly rated off the early pace by Ricardo Santana Jr., he went after front-running fellow OBS graduate Shancelot (March ’18) in the stretch, caught him a furlong from home and beat him to the wire by a length and a quarter. OBS graduate Engage (March ’17) settled for fourth.
Mitole was consigned to the 2017 April Sale by Grassroots Training & Sales. The 4-year-old colt by Eskendereya was sold for $140,000 after an under tack eighth in :10 seconds flat. Trained by Steve Asmussen, his seventh stakes victory leaves him with a sensational career record of 14-10-2-2 with earnings of $3,104,910.
MIAMI GARDENS – The Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 12th consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park West Thursday, producing a $150,928 carryover jackpot for today’s program. Tickets with six winners were each worth $2,927.96.
The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.
Double Late Pick 5 Carryover Sparks $1.25 Million in Betting
A double carryover for the 50-cent Late Pick 5 of $163,572 sparked $1,253,056 in new betting on Thursday’s sequence that spanned Races 4-8. No tickets with all five winners were purchased on Sunday or Monday, creating a strong incentive for value-seeking bettors.
Tickets with all five winners Thursday were each worth $1,109.80.
MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 10th racing day in a row at Gulfstream Park West today, producing a carryover jackpot of $110,111 for Monday’s Columbus Day program. Multiple tickets with five of six winners were each worth $12,869.
The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot on Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.
There will also be a Late Pick 5 carryover of $31,618, as well as a Super Hi-5 carryover of $7,327 for Monday’s card that will get underway at 1 p.m.
Hip No. 224, a son of Liam’s Map consigned by Select Sales, Agent, went to de Meric Stables, Agent, for $230,000 to top the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2019 Selected Sale of Yearlings. The gray or roan colt is out of Dad’ssilverpitcher, by Giant’s Causeway, a half-sister to stakes-winner Melodic.
Hip No. 185, a son of Empire Maker consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, was also sold to de Meric Stables, Agent, for $190,000. The bay colt is out of Sweetest Sound, by Smart Strike, a full sister to graded stakes-placed Saint Vigeur from the family of champion Sweet Catomine.
Hip No. 103, a chestnut colt by Palace Malice consigned by The Acorn LLC, Agent, was sold to Golden Star Farm for $170,000. He’s out of stakes-placed Like a Queen, by Corinthian.
Hip No. 223, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by Select Sales, Agent, was purchased by Blue Collar Stable for $140,000. The gray or roan filly is out of Unbridled Quest, by Unbridled’s Song, a half-sister to grade one stakes-placed Aripeka.
Insignia Bloodstock went to $125,000 for Hip No. 105, a son of Nyquist consigned by Select Sales, Agent. The bay colt is out of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Little Ms Protocol, by El Corredor.
Hip No. 92, a Bernardini filly consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, was purchased for $120,000 by Patrice Miller, EQB, Inc., Agent. The bay filly is out of J. Quirk, by Unbridled’s Song, from the family of champion and major sire Tiznow.
Insignia Bloodstock paid $110,000 for Hip No. 188, a bay colt by Runhappy consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent for Highclere. He’s a half-brother to stakes-placed Moms Choice out of Tazarine, by Cat Thief.
Hip No. 175, a daughter of Liam’s Map consigned by Sequel New York, Agent, was purchased by Patrice Miller, EQB, Inc., Agent, for $105,000. The gray or roan filly, a half-sister to stakes-placed Salute With Honor, is out of stakes-winner Snow Cone, by Cryptoclearance.
For the day, 121 horses sold for a total of $5,605,200, compared with 138 yearlings bringing $5,658,000 at the 2018 Selected Sale. The average price was $46,324, up 13% compared with $41,000 last year, while the median price was $35,000, a 25% increase compared with $28,000 in 2018. The buyback percentage was 34.9%; it was 24.3% a year ago. Sixteen horses sold for $100,000 or more compared with nine a year ago.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Two days before a mandatory payout has been scheduled, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 was solved for a jackpot payoff of $2,211,783 at Gulfstream Park Friday. The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days. The winning combination was 5-1-3-9-6-5.
A mandatory payout for the Rainbow 6, as well as the Late Pick 5 and last-race Super Hi-5, are still scheduled for Sunday, closing day of the Summer Meet. If no one had hit the Rainbow 6 before Sunday, the pool could have been be as high as $10 million.
The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.
The carryover jackpot stood at $1,965,546 at the start of Rainbow 6 wagering Friday, and $307,901 was bet into the pool.
The Rainbow 6 will start anew on today’s Florida Sire Stakes program. First race post time for the 14-race program featuring eight stakes worth $1.35 million is set for noon.
The 14-race program will be co-headlined by the $400,000 FSS In Reality in Race 13 and the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl in Race 11. Liam’s Lucky Charm, the $200,000 FSS Affirmed winner, and Chance It, the $100,000 Dr. Fager victor, will clash in the In Reality for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Ceci Valentina, the winner of the $200,000 FSS Susan’s Girl, will seek to double up in the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl for 2-year-old fillies.
Both stakes will be included in the Rainbow 6 (Races 9-14), Late Pick 5 (Races 10-14) and Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14). There will be pool guarantees for the Late Pick-5 ($100,000) and the Late Pick 4 ($150,000).
HALLANDALE BEACH - Stonehedge Farm’s Liam’s Lucky Charm and Shooting Star Thoroughbreds’ Chance It are ready to battle for Florida Sire Stakes supremacy in Saturday’s $400,000 In Reality at Gulfstream Park.
The In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile final leg of the lucrative series for 2-year-old colts and geldings sired by nominated stallions standing in Florida, will co-headline Saturday’s program with the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies. A total of eight stakes worth $1.325 million in purses will be contested on the 14-race card.
There will be a $150,000 guaranteed pool in the Late Pick 4 and a $100,000 guaranteed pool in the Late Pick 5.
The Flamingo Room will also play host to the third and final Taste of the Track – Bourbon, Beer & BBQ. Fans can sample hand-selected bourbons, local craft beers and BBQ bites and sliders while watching the races. The event starts at 1 p.m.
And finally, closing day Sunday will feature mandatory payouts on the 20-cent Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi 5. If no one hits the Rainbow 6 through Saturday, the pool could be as high as $10 million Sunday afternoon.
Liam’s Lucky Charm, who finished second behind Chance It in the $100,000 FSS Dr. Fager on Aug. 3, turned the tables in the $200,000 FSS Affirmed with a narrow decision over Chance It on Aug. 31. The Stonehedge homebred rated in third behind pacesetting Chance It, who was pressed by Absolute Grit along the backstretch run, before making a three-wide move on the far turn to engage the Dr. Fager winner at the top of the stretch. A memorable stretch duel ensued before Liam’s Lucky Charm edged away to win by a head.
“He showed guts and steadiness. He never quit. He maintained his pace and kept running,” said trainer Ralph Nicks, who saddled Soutache for an In Reality victory in 2017. “Chance It is a very, very good horse that I have the utmost respect for. It’s a shame they’re in the same year, probably.”
The battle for FSS Supremacy will rage around two turns between a pair of colts who will both enter the In Reality with a lack of experience beyond the seven furlongs of the one-turn Affirmed.
“I think two turns is well within his grasp. I think it will be beneficial to him if anything,” said Nicks, who will also be represented in the In Reality field by Jacks or Better Farm’s Shivaree, a maiden who finished fourth in the Affirmed. “I think he’s been asking for distance. I’ve said that all along. We’ll see what happens Saturday.
Liam’s Lucky Charm, who finished third in his May 12 debut, graduated by 6 ¾ lengths at five furlongs on June 9. He would go on to finish 3 ¼ lengths behind Chance It in the six-furlong Dr. Fager, in which the son of Khozan was bumped leaving the backstretch and staged a four-wide move on the turn and into the homestretch. Reylu Gutierrez has the return mount aboard Liam’s Lucky Charm. Jeffrey Sanchez has been named on Shivaree.
In defeat in the Affirmed, Chance It registered his third straight 91 Beyer Speed Figure to claim three of the 10 fastest numbers recorded by a 2-year-old in the country this year. “If a horse runs a good Beyer or a good figure once, I’m always questioning it, but to do it repeatedly, that’s legit. He’s no phony. He’s a legit horse,” Joseph said. “I think he has a lot of talent. I’m excited to see him run Saturday.”
Chance It’s two-turn quest may well hinge on how he breaks in the 1 1/16-mile test, which will have a relatively short run to the first turn. “I believe, on the dirt, you have to break well. The break is important,” Joseph said. “On turf, you have to be patient. On dirt, you have to use a little to get position, after that the race is easier once you break from there.”
Chance It, who finished second in his debut, turned in a dazzling performance while graduating by 9 ¼ lengths at 5 ½ furlongs on June 9, registering the fastest Beyer Speed Figure in the country at the time. He came right back to score a front-running victory in the Dr. Fager before coming up just short in valiant effort in the Affirmed. Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride Chance It for the first time Saturday.
Chance It will be double-teamed by a pair of Stonehedge-bred and -owned sons of Khozan. Smash Factor is slated to join Liam’s Lucky Charm in the starting gate. The Michael Yates-trained Smash Factor also owns a decision over Chance It, having scored a 1 ½-length victory over the Joseph trainee in their respective debuts on June 1.
Smash Factor hasn’t raced since his debut triumph due to ‘baby’ issues, but has trained well preparing for Saturday’s return to action around two turns. Jesus Rios has the return mount.
Owner Ramiro Rosas Medina and trainer Angel Rodriguez will also be represented by two sons of Khozan in the In Reality, Rebelde and Rosas Way. Rebelde closed from last to finish a distant third in the Affirmed after breaking his maiden by nine lengths on Aug. 2.
“I think he’s going to enjoy the distance,” Rodriguez said. “He’s an easy horse to ride. You can relax him, save ground, and make a run with him.”
Rosas Way closed from seventh to finish third in a Sept. 6 starter optional claiming allowance won by front-running Man With a Plan. Jose Batista has been named on Rebelde, while Marcos Meneses is scheduled to ride Rosas Way.
Arindel will also be represented by a pair of homebred sons of Brethren. Both Juan Alvarado-trained Genghis and Stanley Gold-trained Poe are coming off impressive maiden special weight victories. Genghis launched his career with three second-place finishes, including a runner-up finish in Chance It’s brilliant maiden victory. He came right back to score by 2 ¾ lengths in his most recent start. Poe finished third in his first two starts before breaking through with a two-length maiden victory Aug. 31. Emisael Jaramillo and Jairo Rendon have the return mounts aboard Genghis and Poe, respectively.
The announcement that Belmont Park will be the new home of the New York Islanders brings back memories from 51 or 52 years ago for this veteran observer.
In 1967 or '68, the Islanders were set to announce the building of the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale in the center of Nassau County and wanted to make the announcement in the team's program, as opposed to the media. I was working at the Suffolk Sun in Deer Park at the time when sports editor Larry Conroy came to me and told me that Islanders' owner Roy Boe and president Lou Carnesecca (former St. John's University basketball coach) wanted a reporter from our paper to handle the program story. Conroy elected me for the job.
I met the two in their offices and spent an hour or so gathering all the info, and I wound up announcing the birth of the Coliseum a short time later. At the time, the Islanders were playing at the Commack Arena, a dump of a building which the Long Island Ducks also used as home ice.
The Coliseum opened in 1972 located on 63 acres of Mitchel Field, a former Army airfield which also brings back many memories for me. First, during World War II, my father, an Army Captain, was stationed there for a time; second, it is right across the road from my alma mater, Hofstra University, which was Hofstra College in those days; third, it is right up the street from the former site of Roosevelt Raceway, the harness track where I and my buddies learned what wagering on equines was all about; and fourth, it's just a few miles east of Belmont Park, where, with two high school buddies, I watched my first thoroughbred race on a Wednesday during the first week of June in 1957, two days before we became part of the final graduating class from Woodmere High School.
You can bet that many of the Islanders' players will be spending many off-the-ice hours enjoying the races at one of the great racetracks in the world. Like I did.
The Coliseum gained a great deal of notoriety in the '70s because it also became the home of the (ABA and NBA) New York Nets and their All-World star, Julius Irving. The Islanders played there exclusively from '72 to 2015 and again part-time in 2018 after the building received a major renovation.
I'm hurt that the latest owner of the Islanders didn't call and ask me to write the story of the building of the new Coliseum at Belmont Park. I guess nobody told him I wrote the first story five decades ago.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 45th racing day in a row Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,852,653 for Wednesday’s program at Gulfstream Park. First-race post time is set for 1:15 p.m.
Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $19,507.
The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one bettor cashed a $173,583 jackpot payoff.
The carryover jackpot stood at $1,763,111 at the start of Rainbow 6 wagering Sunday, and $373,127 was bet into the pool. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $2,481.74 heading into Wednesday’s card
Events, Big Races and Mandatory Payouts Closing Week
There will be lots of action during closing week of the Summer Meet, which begins with a special eight-race program Wednesday. Saturday will mark the finals of the Florida Sire Stakes featuring the $400,000 In Reality for 2-year-old colts and geldings and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for 2-year-old fillies. The Saturday program will also include the $150,000 Wildcat Heir for 3-year-olds and up, as well as five other stakes each worth $75,000.
The Flamingo Room will also play host Saturday to the third and final Taste of the Track – Bourbon, Beer & BBQ. Fans can sample hand-selected bourbons, local craft beers and BBQ bites and sliders while watching the races. The event starts at 1 p.m.
Finally, closing day Sunday will feature mandatory payouts on the 20-cent Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi 5. If no one hits the Rainbow 6 through Saturday, the pool could reach as high as $10 million for the finale.