Track Times Today

Bernie's Blog

Monday, June 14, 2021
Ocalan Mark Casse will try to improve on already impressive record . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Live racing action at Gulfstream Park will resume Friday with a nine-race twilight card [2 p.m. start] that will feature three maiden special weight races for 2-year-olds

    Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, who has dominated the 2-year-old season at Gulfstream thus far, will be represented by first-time starters in two of the three juvenile races. Casse has sent out debut winners in five of seven events for 2-year-old thus far during the Spring/Summer Meet. He is scheduled to be represented by Quintessential Racing Florida LLC’s Fulminate in Race 1 and Live Oak Plantation’s Forever Souper in Race 5.

    Fulminate, a son of Get Stormy out of a City Zip mare, has been training well at Palm Meadows for the $70,000, 7 ½-furlong race on turf. Forever Souper, a son of American Pharoah out of a War Front mare, has also been training sharply at Palm Meadows for his debut in the $60,000 five-furlong race for Florida-breds on the main track.

    Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Noble Dreamer, who pressed the early pace while three-wide before finishing second in her May 28 debut, will return to action in Race 3, a five-furlong test for Florida-bred fillies. Saffie Joseph Jr. trains the daughter of Noble Bird, a Gr. 1 stakes winner who ran in the 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream.

    Friday’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $500,000. The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for nine days since a lucky ticket-holder broke the jackpot May 29 for a $400,000 payoff.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Can $86.40 get it? . . .
    BALTIMORE – With the Maryland state record 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot having surpassed the $1 million mark for today, Maryland Jockey Club host and analyst Naomi Tukker and WBAL-TV sports anchor and reporter Pete Gilbert weighed in with ways to take down the life-changing prize.

    Tukker’s “must use” horse in the sequence comes in the Race 5 opener with Richard Sillaman-trained Live and Let Liv. The 3-year-old filly has been worse than third just once from eight career starts, five of them wins, and “ran a career-best 45 days ago at this level, so plenty of time for her to get re-energized and ready to go.”

    Race 6, the $75,000 Ben’s Cat for Maryland-bred/sired 3-year-olds and up sprinting five furlongs on the turf, is where Tukker’s price play comes with 2020 Maryland Million Turf runner-up Cannon’s Roar (8-1). “I love that he had a breeze from the gate coming into this, and he has held his own sprinting on the turf.”

    Constructed at a cost of $86.40, Gilbert’s Rainbow 6 ticket utilizes at least two horses in each leg of the sequence, spreading out to four – undefeated 8-5 favorite Chub Wagon and fellow multiple stakes winners Hello Beautiful, Dontletsweetfoolya and Anna’s Bandit – in the $100,000 Shine Again (Race 9).

    Gilbert used Matta (9-2) and So Street (4-1) in the $75,000 Ben’s Cat (Race 6); Pixelate (3-1), Argonne (8-1) and Midnight Tea Time (8-1) in the $100,000 Prince George’s County (Race 8); and long shots Door Buster (30-1) and Proper Attire (20-1) and Malibu Beauty (7-2) in the $100,000 Stormy Blues, the latter entered for main track only.

    In non-stakes races, Gilbert used recent Pimlico maiden special weight winner Blushable (8-1); Live and Let Liv (2-1), a five-time winner from eight starts; and Six Pack Sara (8-1), on a two-race win streak, in the opening sequence (Race 5), an optional claiming allowance for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

     Race 7 is a six-furlong claimer for maidens 3, 4 and 5 years old where Gilbert has both Snow Job (5-1), unraced since Dec. 9 and trying dirt for the first time after six grass starts, and Harbor Crossing (9-2), a second-time starter from trainer Hugh McMahon.

 Gilbert’s Rainbow 6 Ticket:

 Race 5: 1, 3, 8

Race 6: 4, 6

Race 7: 5, 8

Race 8: 1, 5, 12

Race 9: 1, 2, 5, 8

Race 10: 4, 5, 6
Saturday, June 12, 2021
560 2-year-olds sell for $24.49 million . . .

    Hip No. 722, a daughter of Frosted consigned by Silvestre Chavez Thoroughbreds, Agent, went to Mike Ryan, Agent, for $410,000 to top the final session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age. The gray or roan filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 at Saturday’s Under Tack session, is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Summersault out of Saratoga Summer, by Smart Strike.

    Hip No. 816, a son of Quality Road consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to M Racing Group, LLC for $400,000. The bay colt, whose quarter in :20 4/5 was co-fastest at the distance at Sunday’s Under Tack session, is out of stakes-winner Surfside Tiara, by Scat Daddy, from the family of champion Flanders. 

    Blinkers On Racing Stable, Zach Madden, Agent, went to $290,000 for Hip No. 827, a son of Distorted Humor whose quarter in :20 4/5 on Sunday was the session’s co-fastest. Consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, the bay colt is a half-brother to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Kyriaki out of Tally Ho Dixie, by Dixieland Band.

    Hip No. 791, a daughter of Empire Maker consigned by Navas Equine, was purchased for $260,000 by D. J. Stable LLC. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Sunday, is a half-sister to stakes-winner Surfside Tiara out of Starlight Tiara, by More Than Ready, from the family of champion Flanders.

    Hip No. 683, a daughter of Tonalist consigned by Six K’s Training & Sales LLC, Agent, was sold to Patrick Lawley-Wakelin, Agent, for $250,000. The bay filly, who breezed an Under Tack eighth on Saturday in :10 2/5, is out of stakes-winner Rapid Rhythm, by Successful Appeal, a daughter of stakes-placed Patriot Miss.

    T B Bloodstock paid $240,000 for Hip No. 802, a son of Mastery consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, who breezed a quarter on Sunday in :21 1/5. The chestnut colt is out of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Stormy Regatta, by Midshipman, from the family of graded stakes-winner Utopian.

    Hip No 688, a son of Curlin, who breezed an eighth in :10 3/5 on Saturday, was purchased by Donato Lanni, Agent for North Star, for $220,000. Consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, the chestnut colt is out of R d’Oro, by Medaglia d’Oro, a daughter of Gr. I stakes-winner R Heat Lightning.

    Hip No. 835, a dark bay or brown colt by Practical Joke consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, who turned in Sunday’s co-fastest quarter in :20 4/5, was sold to William D. McCarty, Mike Pender, Agent, for $210,000. He’s a half-brother to graded stakes-placed stakes- winner Jo Jo Air out of Tessie Flip, by Grand Slam.

    Hip No. 858, Guy, a son of Honor Code consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was purchased by Nick J. Hines, Agent for Slam Dunk Racing, for $205,000. The bay colt, who worked an Under Tack eighth on Sunday in :10 1/5, is out of Twirlin Curlin, by Curlin, a daughter of stakes-placed Malibu Moon Dance from the family of Gr. I winner Hookedonthefeelin.

    Hip No. 670, a daughter of Candy Ride (ARG) consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, Agent, went to Mike Ryan, Agent, for $200,000. The dark bay or brown filly is out of Queen Yolanda, by Pioneerof the Nile, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Mississippi Delta.

    Hip No. 723, a daughter of Frosted consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, Agent, was sold to Steven W. Young, Agent, for $200,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who worked an eighth in :10 1/5 on Saturday, is out of Sassy Ali Joy, by Indian Charlie, from the family of champion Banshee Breeze.

    Wilson One Constructing LLC went to $200,000 for Hip No. 725, a son of Midnight Storm consigned by Dynasty Thoroughbreds. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5 on Saturday, is a half-brother to stakes-placed Mo of the West out of Satulah, by Gone West, a daughter of graded stakes-winner War Thief.

    For the session, 162 2-year-olds sold for $8,344,950, compared with 183 grossing $6,468,700 at last year’s third session. The average was $51,512, compared with $35,348 a year ago, while the median price was $25,000, compared to $15,000 in 2020.  The buyback percentage was 18.2%; it was 16.4% last year. Seven older horses sold for $55,200, averaging $7,886 with a $5,500 median price.

    For the entire sale, 560 2-year-olds sold for a sales record $24,492,950, surpassing 2015’s $23,608,500, compared with 519 horses grossing $15,864,300 a year ago. The average was a record $43,737, surpassing 2015’s $39,612, compared to $30,567 a year ago, while the median price was a sales record-equaling $20,000 compared with $13,000 in 2020. The buyback percentage was 18%; it was 20.2% last year.

Friday, June 11, 2021
Record Rainbow 6 play postponed until tomorrow . . .
    BALTIMORE – With persistent heavy rain falling and more in the forecast throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, today’s live program at Pimlico Race Course was canceled after the second race.

    According to the National Weather Service, up to an inch of rain had fallen in the Baltimore area with another inch expected. The NWS also issued flood warnings for Central Baltimore County and Baltimore City.


     The national weekly Stronach 5 wager, which was scheduled to begin with Pimlico’s eighth-race finale, was also canceled.

     Action is scheduled to return with an eight-race program Saturday, beginning at 12:40 p.m. and featuring the Maryland state record 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover of $974,564. The Rainbow 6 begins in Race 3.

    Sunday’s 10-race program (12:40 p.m.) features five stakes, four scheduled for the turf, worth $475,000 in purse money.
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Second session up 69.4 % . . .

    Hip No. 543, a daughter of Nyquist consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, went to Sweetwater Trading Co., Agent for Rockingham Ranch, for $420,000 to top the second session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age. The chestnut filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 at Friday’s Under Tack session, is out of stakes-winner Midnight Ballet, by Midnight Lute, a half-sister to champion Jala Jala (MEX).

    Hip No. 418, a daughter of Dialed In consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc, (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, was sold to Alistair Roden Bloodstock for $350,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who breezed an Under Tack quarter in :21 1/5 on Friday, is a half-sister to graded stakes-winning OBS graduate Anothertwistafate out of Imprecation, by First Defense.

    Karl & Cathi Glassman went to $335,000 for Hip No. 506, a son of Hard Spun who worked an eighth in :10 3/5 at Friday’s Under Tack Session. Consigned by Eisaman Equine, Agent, the bay colt is out of Lovisa, by Speightstown, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Poupee Flash.

    Hip No. 319, a son of Quality Road consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to Steven W. Young, Agent, for $280,000. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Thursday, is a half-brother to stakes-placed Burger and Fries (FR) out of Figarie, by Bernardini, a daughter of champion Flanders.

    Hip No. 447, a daughter of Frosted consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, who turned in the Friday Under Tack session’s fastest eighth in :9 4/5, was sold to John Ballantyne / N B S Stable for $250,000. The gray or roan filly is out of graded stakes-winner Jody Slew, a half-sister to stakes-winner Cape of Bradford.

    Larry Zap, Agent for Mike Mellen, went to $240,000 for Hip No. 623, a son of Ghostzapper consigned by Coastal Equine LLC (Jesse Hoppel), Agent, who turned in an Under Tack quarter on Saturday in :21 1/5. The bay colt is out of stakes-winner Pacific Heat, by Unusual Heat, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Long Hot Summer.

    Hip No. 487, a daughter of Liam’s Map consigned by Coastal Equine LLC (Jesse Hoppel), Agent, was purchased for $230,000 by Mitch Weaver. The gray or roan filly, who turned in an Under Tack quarter in :21 2/5 on Friday, is out of Let It Snow, by Tapit, a half-sister to stakes-winner Eagle Orb.

    Hip No. 596, a son of Klimt consigned by Scanlon Training & Sales, Agent, was sold to James Divito, Agent, for $225,000. The bay colt, who worked an eighth in :10 1/5 at Saturday’s Under Tack session, is a half-brother to graded stakes-placed stakes-winning OBS graduate Mo d’Amour out of Neverthesame, by Scat Daddy.

    Oracle Bloodstock, Agent went to $220,000 for Hip No. 413, a daughter of Practical Joke consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent. The chestnut filly, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner American Sugar out of I Love America, by Quiet American, breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 at Friday’s Under Tack session.

    Hip No. 393, a son of Arrogate consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, was sold to Alistair Roden Bloodstock for $185,000. The dark bay or brown colt, whose quarter in :20 4/5 was the fastest work at the distance at Friday’s Under Tack session, is out of stakes-winner Hero’s Amor, by Street Sense, a full sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Threefiveindia.

    Hip No. 489, a son of Empire Maker consigned by Paul Sharp, Agent, was sold to Cash Is King LLC for $180,000. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 on Friday, is a three-quarter brother to Gr. I stakes-winner and noted sire Pioneerof the Nile, out of Light of the Nile, by Eskendereya.

    Hip No. 469, a daughter of Constitution consigned by Pick View LLC, Agent, went to Blue Lion Thoroughbreds for $175,000. The chestnut filly, who breezed an eighth on Friday in :10 2/5, is out of Lady Aphrodite, by Giant’s Causeway, a half-ister to graded stakes-winner Strike It Rich.

    Hip No. 491, Flash Kiss, a son of Chitu consigned by Mayberry Farm, Agent, was sold to Tonja Terranova, Agent, for $175,000. The bay colt, who worked an eighth on Friday in :10 flat, is out of Lipstick Traces, by Orientate, a daughter of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner My Sweet Westly.

    For the session, 191 horses grossed $8,149,600, compared with 173 selling for $4,357,800 at last year’s second session. The average was $42,668, up 69.4% compared with $25,190 a year ago, while the median price was $17,000, up 38.5% compared to $13,000 in 2021.  The buyback percentage was 22%; it was 18.8% last year.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021
She worked a quarter in :21 1/5 . . .

    Hip No. 258, a daughter of Practical Joke consigned by Top Line Sales LLC Agent, went to Gary Young, Agent, for $425,000 to top the first session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age. The chestnut filly, whose quarter in :21 1/5 was fastest at the distance at Thursday’s Under Tack session, is out of stakes-placed Devious d’Oro, by Medaglia d’Oro, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Devious Intent.

    Hip No. 149, a daughter of Uncle Mo consigned by Julie Davies LLC, Agent, was sold to Donato Lanni, Agent, for $375,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who breezed an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5 on Wednesday, is out of graded stakes-winner Brooklynsway, by Giant Gizmo, from the family of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Effie Trinket.

    Hip No. 101, a son of Maclean’s Music consigned by Coastal Equine LLC (Jesse Hoppel), Agent, went to Lauren Carlisle, Agent, for $350,000. The bay colt, who worked an eighth in :10 1/5 at Wednesday’s Under Tack Session, is out of Artillery Punch, by Kitten’s Joy, from the family of Gr. I stakes-winner Bounding Basque.

    Hip No. 245, a daughter of Classic Empire consigned by Gabriel Dixon, Agent, was purchased by West Point, L.E.B., Agent for $300,000. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in:10 1/5 on Thursday, is out of Decoder, by War Front, a full sister to Gr. I stakes-winner Data Link.

    Hip No. 107, a daughter of Midnight Storm consigned by Scanlon Training & Sales, Agent, went to HR Racing for $290,000. The bay filly, whose eighth in :9 4/5 Wednesday’s fastest at the distance, is a half-sister to stakes-winner Miss My Rose out of Ava G, by Afternoon Deelites, from the family of Gr. I stakes-placed stakes-winner Winter Treasure.

    Hip No. 313, Tap in Tune, consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, went to Full of Run Racing LLC / Madaket Stables LLC for $215,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Thursday, is out of Fashion Tap, by Tapit, a daughter of graded stakes-winner First Passage.

    Hip No. 122, a daughter of Gormley consigned by Hemingway Racing and Training Stables, LLC, Agent, was sold for $200,000 to Integrity Bloodstock, Agent for Lee Pokoik. The chestnut filly, who worked in eighth on Wednesday in :10 flat, is out of graded stakes-winner Beat the Blues, by Great Pyramid (IRE), from the family of stakes-winner Dedicated Queen.

    Hip No. 145, a son of Gun Runner consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to Gus King for $170,000. The chestnut colt, who worked an eighth in :10 1/5 on Wednesday, is out of graded stakes-winner Brazen Persuasion, by Indian Charlie.

    Hip No. 255, a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile consigned by Hidden Brook, Agent, was sold to Exline-Border Racing LLC for $150,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Thursday, is out of Desert Illusion, by Sky Mesa, a half-sister to Gr. I stakes-winner Dream Dancing.

    Hip No. 275, a colt by Candy Ride (ARG) consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent, was sold to Kelsey Danner for David Grund for $130,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 2/5 on Thursday, is a half-sister to Gr. I stakes-winner Room Service out of graded stakes-placed stakes- winner Dream Lady, by Old Trieste.

    Hip No. 178, a son of American Freedom consigned by Grassroots Training & Sales LLC, Agent II, was sold for $125,000 to Raymie Lightner, Agent for Peter Miller. The chestnut colt, out of Champagne On Tap, by Tiznow, a half-sister to stakes-winning OBS graduate Believe in Charlie, worked an eighth in :10 2/5 at Wednesday’s Under Tack session.

    Two Dolla Coffee, LLC paid $125,000 for Hip No. 217, a son of Honor Code consigned by Paul Sharp, Agent. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 on Thursday, is out of Conquest Sweetride, by Candy Ride (ARG), a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Spelling Again.

    For the session, 176 horses grossed $7,268,400, compared with 163 selling for $5,037,800 at last year’s first session. The average was $41,298 up 33.6% compared with $30,907 a year ago, while the median price was $20,000, up 53.9% compared to $13,000 in 2020.  The buyback percentage was 26.7%; it was 25.2% last year.

Monday, June 7, 2021
No winner again on Sunday . . .
    BALTIMORE – Racing will return to Pimlico Race Course on Friday with the Maryland state record Rainbow 6 carryover having grown to $974,564 after going unsolved during Sunday’s program.

    Two horses, long shots Seize the Day and Mine to Hold, were live to take down a life-changing jackpot of $1.029 million heading into the eighth-race finale, won by Makes Mo Cents ($11). A total of $114,011 was bet into the multi-race wager that began with a carryover of $938,090 from Saturday.


    Multiple tickets with six winners each returned $3,456. 


 



 


Sunday, June 6, 2021
Casa Creed wins Jaipur, Estilo Talentoso the Bed o' Roses . . .
    LRE Racing LLC and JEH Racing LLC’s Casa Creed trailed early in Saturday’s $400,000, Gr. I Jaipur Stakes, but circled horses on the turn, rolled down the stretch to take command passing the sixteenth pole and eased away late to score by two lengths. It’s the second graded stakes win for the 5-year-old son of Jimmy Creed, now 20-5-3-3 for trainer Bill Mott, with earnings of $755,408. He was purchased for $15,000 out of the Janie Roper consignment at the 2017 OBS Winter Mixed Sale.

    Medallion Racing, Barry Fowler, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Little Red Feather Racing and BlackRidge Stables LLC’s Estilo Talentoso raced wide in the early going of Friday’s $294,000, Gr. III Bed o’ Roses Stakes, rallied on the outside in the stretch to get the lead a sixteenth from home and held on gamely to win by a neck. It’s the first graded stakes win for the 4-year-old daughter of Maclean’s Music, a two-time OBS graduate. Consigned twice by McKathan Bros, she went through the ring at the 2019 April Sale before she was purchased for $15,000 at the 2019 June Sale after turning in an Under Tack eighth in :10 4/5. Trained by Juan Arriagada, she has compiled a 14-3-8-3 career record and earned $423,538.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
Fridays winners collected $4,326 . . .
    BALTIMORE – There was no unique winner of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 Friday at Pimlico Race Course, pushing the Maryland state record carryover jackpot to $915,457 heading into today’s eight-race program.

    First race post time is 12:40 p.m. Doors will open at 11 a.m. to accommodate an 11:35 a.m. first post from Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day. The Belmont, featuring Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer, goes off as Race 11 with a 6:49 p.m. post
.

    No horses were live to take down the Rainbow 6 jackpot heading into Friday’s eighth-race finale, won by Shanghaied Astoria ($6.40). A total of $63,115 was put into the multi-race wager on top of a carryover of $895,264 from Monday’s special Memorial Day holiday program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $4,326.

    Introduced in Maryland on April 2, 2015, opening day of Pimlico’s spring meet, the Rainbow 6 had its previous state record carryover reach $345,898 spanning 31 racing programs before being solved by one lucky bettor for a life-changing $399,545.94 payout on April 15, 2018 at Laurel Park. The winning ticket was purchased through Maine off-track betting.
Friday, June 4, 2021
Only one to break 33 seconds . . .

    Hip No. 344, Platinum Beauty, a gray or roan filly by Neolithic consigned by Rolling Meadows Farm, Inc., worked three eighths in :32 4/5 to post the fastest work at the distance at the second session of the Under Tack Show for Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 June Sale of Two-Year -Olds and Horses of Racing Age. Out of stakes-winner Frost Princess, by Waquoit, she’s a half-sister to stakes-placed Gran Greyfrost.

    Hip No. 187, a daughter of Midnight Storm consigned by Blue River Bloodstock, Inc., Agent, worked three eighths in :33 flat. The gray or roan filly is out of stakes-winner Chati’s On Top, by Old Topper, from the family of graded stakes-winner Da Devil.

    Hip No. 258, a daughter of Practical Joke consigned by Top Line Sales LLC Agent, turned in the session’s fastest quarter, clocked in :21 1/5. The chestnut filly is out of stakes-placed Devious d’Oro, by Medaglia d’Oro, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Devious Intent.

Six youngsters worked quarters in :21 2/5.

    Hip No. 204, a dark bay or brown filly by Connect consigned by Coastal Equine LLC (Jesse Hoppel), Agent, is out of C J’s Gal, by Awesome Again, a daughter of graded stakes-placed C J’s Leelee.

   Hip No. 283, Theregoesmydream, a chestnut filly by Social Inclusion consigned by Silvestre Chavez Thoroughbreds, Agent, is out of Eclipticalsrosette, by Storm Wolf, a daughter of stakes-placed Sophisticated Sis.

   Hip No. 296, Aztec, consigned by Journeyman Bloodstock Services, Inc. (Brent & Crystal Fernung), Agent, is a bay colt by Khozan out of Ephyra, by Corinthian, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes winner Leonides.

   Hip No. 324, a bay colt by Unified consigned by Fast Horses, is out of Flatter You, by Flatter, a half- sister to Gr. I stakes-placed Ma Can Do It.

   Hip No. 328, a bay filly by Twirling Candy consigned by Halcyon Hammock Farm, Agent, is out of Folksy, by Midway Road, a half-sister to stakes-winner Supermason.

   Hip No. 337, consigned by Victory Stable, is a gray or roan filly by Keen Ice out of Form Fitting, by Tapit, a daughter of stakes-winner Fashion Girl.

Eight horses shared honors for the fastest eighth, stopping the timer in :10 flat.


Friday, June 4, 2021
Robbing Robin wins in Gulfstream debut for Stonehedge Farm South . . .

    The honor of getting the first winner by a Florida freshman sire in 2021 goes to Ocala Stud Farm and Greenpointcrusader, who's Robbing Robin won the fourth race at Gulfstream Park yesterday for Williston's Stonehedge Farm South, her owner and breeder, and trainer Kathleen O'Connell. 

    Emisael Jaramillo was aboard the filly, who broke from the No. 2 post in the $60,000 maiden special at 4 1/2 furlongs. Jaramillo sent Robbing Robin out quickly and she settled on the inside right behind the 1/2 favorite, Lara's Lady, who is by Uncaptured, former Ocala Stud stallion now standing in South Korea. 

    The duo ran 1-2 until the top of the stretch, opening up daylight on the rest of the field, and Robbing Robin wore down Lara's Lady late, catching her nearing the wire, and winning by half a length. She was clocked in :52.55, less than two seconds off the track record of :50.86. Robbing Robin paid $10.80 and earned a check for $39,000 for Stonehedge. She was awarded an Equibase 'E' speed figure of 77. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021
HIP No. 104 caught in 9 4/5 . . .

    Hip No. 107, a daughter of Midnight Storm consigned by Scanlon Training & Sales, Agent, worked an eighth in :9 4/5 to post the fastest work at the distance at the opening session of the Under Tack Show for Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2021 June Sale of Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age. The bay filly is a half-sister to stakes-winner Miss My Rose out of Ava G, by Afternoon Deelites, from the family of Gr. I stakes-placed stakes-winner Winter Treasure.

  A pair of youngsters shared honors for the session’s fastest quarter, stopping the timer in :21 1/5.

Hip No. 5, a chestnut filly by Uncaptured consigned by Ocala Stud, is a half-sister to stakes-winning OBS graduate Seismic Jolt out of Valid Concorde, by Concorde’s Tune, a full sister to stakes-winning OBS graduate Rocky River.

Hip No. 18, a bay colt by Candy Ride (ARG) consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc, (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, is out of Viva Malala, by Malibu Moon, a half-sister to Gr. I stakes-placed stakes-winning OBS graduate Icabad Crane.

Three horses worked quarters in :21 2/5.

Hip No. 98, I’m a Cutie, consigned by Dynasty Thoroughbreds, is a gray or roan filly by Cupid out of Arc Angel, by Bodemeister, from the family of Gr. I winner Shared Account.

Hip No. 155, a bay filly by Practical Joke consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, is out of Bustle, by More Than Ready, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Takeover Target.

Hip No. 162, a dark bay or brown colt by Into Mischief consigned by White Lilac, Agent, is a half- brother to stakes-winner Little Nick V. out of Campionessa, by A.P. Indy, a daughter of Gr. I stakes- winner Pacific Squall.

There were five quarters in :21 3/5.

Hip No. 44, Hey Hombre, consigned by Journeyman Bloodstock Services, Inc. (Brent & Crystal Fernung), Agent, is a bay colt by Khozan out of Wontoo, by Montbrook, from the family of Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Elmhurst.

Hip No. 56, a bay colt by Klimt consigned by Cruzin’ Thoroughbreds, is out of Zarleeza, by Harlan’s Holiday, a daughter of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Zawzooth.

Hip No. 121, a dark bay or brown colt by Verrazano consigned by Wildheart Thoroughbreds, Agent, is out of Bay of Gold, by Seeking the Gold, from the family of leading sire Medaglia d’Oro.

Hip No. 134, a bay colt by Outwork consigned by Potrero Stables, is out of Bicolour, by Tiznow, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Burmilla.

Hip No. 154, consigned by Blazing Meadows Farm LLC, Agent, is a chestnut filly by Violence out of Gr. I stakes-placed stakes-winner Burban, by Speightstown, a daughter of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Horse B With You.

Eight horses breezed eighths in :10 flat.

Hip No. 22, Treasured Glory, consigned by Hidden Brook, Agent for Patricia Generazio, is a bay colt by Treasure Beach (GB) out of stakes-placed Wave of Glory, by Midshipman, a half-sister to stakes- placed Pomeroy’s Package.

Hip No. 30, a bay filly by Gone Astray consigned by AVP Training and Sales, Agent, is out of White Hands, by Exchange Rate, from the family of graded stakes-winner Control System.

Hip No. 46, Midnight in Alaska, a bay filly by Almasty consigned by Dark Star Thoroughbreds (Stori Atchison), is out of stakes-placed Working At Night, by Tiznow, a daughter of stakes-winner No Reason.

Hip No. 82, Little Afrodite, consigned by Silvestre Chavez Thoroughbreds, Agent, is a chestnut filly by Shackleford out of Aly Pie, by Gold Case, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Spelling Again.

Hip No. 122, a chestnut filly by Gormley consigned by Hemingway Racing and Training Stables, LLC, Agent, is out of graded stakes-winner Beat the Blues, by Great Pyramid (IRE), from the family of stakes-winner Dedicated Queen.

Hip No. 135, a dark bay or brown filly by Anchor Down consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, is a half-sister to stakes-placed Desanctus out of Bint Elusive, by Elusive Quality.

Hip No. 170, a chestnut filly by Central Banker consigned by Envision Equine, Agent, is out of Casablanca Babe, by Horse Chestnut (SAF), a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Musket Man.

Hip No. 185, consigned by Goldencents Thoroughbreds, is a chestnut filly by Flat Out out of Chasida, by North Light (IRE), a half-sister to champion Private Zone, from the family of champion Chief Bearhart.

Hip No. 61, Cupids Dream, a daughter of Cupid consigned by Dynasty Thoroughbreds, Agent, turned in the day’s fastest three eighths, stopping the timer in :33 2/5. The bay filly is out of About a Dream, by Bodemeister, a half-sister to graded stakes-winning OBS graduate Leah’s Secret.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Edges Royal Ship after head-to-head battle . . .

    WinStar Farm’s Country Grammer, battling head-to-head with Royal Ship turning for home in Santa Anita’s $301,000, Gr. I Hollywood Gold Cup, surrendered the lead at the top of the stretch, fought back to take over again past the sixteenth pole, then held off a final surge to be best by a head at the wire.

    It’s the second graded stakes win for the 4-year-old colt by Tonalist, who turned in an Under Tack quarter in :21 flat before he was purchased out of the Wavertree Stables consignment for $450,000 by Bradley Thoroughbreds, Agent, at the 2019 OBS Spring Sale. He had previously won the Gr. III Peter Pan at Belmont Park last July, then finished second last month in the Gr. II Californian at Santa Anita after a layoff of 8 1/2 months.

    Trained by Bob Baffert, Country Grammer is 3-1-1 in 8 starts and yesterday's check for $180,000 raised his earnings to $377,320.

Sunday, May 30, 2021
Pimlico's state Pick 6 record continues to grow . . .

    The 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6 was hit for $400,000 yesterday at Gulfstream Park, an astounding handicapping feat considering Lady Emily paid $18.20 in the ninth race, Robintakincharge paid $49.40 in the 10th, and Hoity Toity lit up the board at $135 in the 12th-race finale.

    But bettors looking for a big payday still have their pick today from New York to Florida to California and places in-between.  

Here are the seven best carryover opportunities, with Pimlico leading the list: 

Belmont Park - $122,784 Pick 6

Gulfstream Park -$128,765 Pick 5

Louisiana Downs - $38,346 Pick 5 Jackpot

Lone Star - $207,169 Pick 6 Jackpot

PIMLICO - $783,267 Pick 6 Jackpot

Prairie Meadows - $57,548 Pick 5 Jackpot


Santa Anita - $191,178 Pick 6 Jackpot


Saturday, May 29, 2021
There were no live tickets going into final race Friday . . .
    BALTIMORE – A special Memorial Day weekend schedule of live racing continues today with the Maryland state record jackpot carryover having grown to $747,098 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 after going unsolved Friday at Pimlico Race Course.

    There were no live tickets to take down the jackpot heading into Friday’s ninth-race finale, won by My Man Pots N Pans ($9.60). There was $119,522 bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $708,857 from the last live program on May 23. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $2,493.

    Introduced in Maryland on April 2, 2015, opening day of Pimlico’s spring meet, the Rainbow 6 had its previous state record carryover reach $345,898 spanning 31 racing programs before being solved by one lucky bettor for a life-changing $399,545.94 payout on April 15, 2018 at Laurel Park. The winning ticket was purchased through Maine off-track betting.

    Post time for the nine-race program is 12:40 p.m. The Rainbow 6 begins in Race 4, a six-furlong claimer for 3-year-olds and up which have never won three races, or 3-year-olds. The feature comes in Race 8, a 1 1/16-mile allowance for Maryland-bred/sired 3-year-olds and up, where Artistic Reason – a half-brother to 2020 Barbara Fritchie winner Majestic Reason – is set to make his 4-year-old debut after more than a nine-month layoff. Among the competition are four six-figure earners with a combined 69 starts as well as last-out stakes-placed Doubleoseven.

    The 50-cent Late Pick 5 Friday began with a carryover of $115,038 from May 23 and saw another $759,025 wagered. Tickets with all five winners were each worth $3,849.

 

           
Friday, May 28, 2021
Begins today . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park has announced it will reduce many of its COVID protocols beginning today when racing returns at 2 p.m. Those include open access to outdoor areas, guests not being required to wear face coverings outdoors, and the return of free admission to the apron, walking ring and breezeway.

    Gulfstream instituted strict COVID protocols in March of 2020 for the health and safety of its employees, guests and horsemen.

    Other changes in protocols include the removal of most barriers and temporary plexiglass, no temperature checks at entrances, and families with small children once again being welcomed to watch racing.

    Guests will be required indoors to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

    Seats inside Silks will remain free to Gold-and-up XBRewards members. Any remaining seats will be sold on a first-come basis. Those who have purchased seats to areas now open will have their seats reserved and payment refunded.
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Headlines 12-race Saturday program at Gulfstream . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Sound Machine, graded stakes-placed two starts back, will seek to rebound from a recent disappointing performance when she takes on nine rivals in Saturday’s $75,000 Musical Romance at Gulfstream Park.

    The Musical Romance, a 6 ½-furlong race for Florida-bred fillies and mares, will headline a 12-race program while kicking off a Memorial Day weekend stakes schedule that will continue Sunday with the $60,000 Key Biscayne, a five-furlong overnight handicap for fillies and mares, and Monday with the $75,000 Soldier’s Dancer, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up.

    Sound Machine, a stakes-winner and multiple graded stakes-placed 4-year-old, finished fourth as the even-money favorite in an April 25 optional claiming allowance in which she lacked running room at the top of the stretch.

    “I think she’s coming into the race really well. In her last race, she had a troubled trip,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “The trip probably looked worse than it was because she didn’t seem to fire.”

    In her previous start, the daughter of Into Mischief, who was purchased for $500,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, finished second in the March 20 Hurricane Bertie, in which she took the lead in mid-stretch after making a three-wide move coming off the final turn, only to be caught by Pacific Gale.

    “She looks like she’s coming into this race in good order,” Joseph said. “I think it’s her race to win or lose.”

    Joseph will also be represented in the Musical Romance by Team Hanley and Paul Braverman’s Loriloupies and All In Line Stables’s Merseyside. Loriloupies, a 4-year-old daughter of Rattlesnake Bridge, is scheduled to make her stakes debut Saturday following a dominating optional claiming allowance in Florida-bred company at Gulfstream.

    “It wasn’t planned to go into this race but there wasn’t an allowance for her. I talked to the owners and they said to give it a go,” Joseph said. “She fits in the race. If she jumped up and won, it wouldn’t be a total surprise, but going from a Florida-bred race to a stake is tough.”

    Merseyside, a 4-year-old daughter of Maclean’s Music, returns to dirt Saturday after winning one of five starts on turf. She broke her maiden in an off-the-turf race over a sloppy Gulfstream track back in December of 2019.

    Edgard Zayas has the return mount aboard Sound Machine; Emisael Jaramillo will be back aboard Loriloupies; and Juan Carlos Diaz Jr. is slated to ride Merseyside for the first time.

    My Purple Haze Stables’ Heiressall, a multiple stakes-winning daughter of Wildcat Heir, is coming off a 3 ½-month layoff in the Musical Romance. The Terri Pompay-trained 6-year-old mare, who disappointed over a wet track at Tampa Bay Downs in the Feb. 13 Minaret, has scored seven career victories, including the Dec. 12 City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes at Tampa and the Sheer Drama at Gulfstream last September. Miguel Vasquez has the call.

    Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Darsan Inc.’s A Bit of Both will be seeking her 11th victory in 20 career starts in the Musical Romance. The Michael Maker trainee, who has demonstrated versatility by winning on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces, is coming off a troubled 10th-place finish in a Churchill Downs turf stakes. In her prior start, she captured the off-the-turf Sanibel Island at five furlongs over a sloppy Gulfstream surface. Victor Lebron is slated to ride the 5-year-old daughter of Paynter for the first time Saturday.

    Averill Racing, ATM Racing and CCF Racing Stable’s Ms Meshak, a stakes-winner who came off a 10-month layoff to win a $30,000 claiming race and finish a solid fourth in the Golden Beach; Stein Racing’s Our Fantasy, who will make her stakes debut after winning her last three starts with authority; and Starship Stables and trainer Steve Dwoskin’s Starship Bonita, a multiple stakes-winner of $500,000 who is scheduled to make her 2021 debut; are among the other prominent entrants.

    Dan and Ryan Zebrowski’s Bramble Berry and Lowward Farm and trainer Fernando Abreu’s Royal Meghan, round out the field.
Sunday, May 23, 2021
6-year-old gelding has won 6 stakes . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Harold Queen’s Noble Drama made a triumphant return from a four-month layoff, closing from last to eke out a victory in Saturday’s $60,000 The Name’s Jimmy Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

    Out of Queen Drama, a half-sister to 2010 Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Big Drama and full sister to multiple Gr. 1 winner Sheer Drama, Noble Drama showed his class while rallying off a pedestrian early pace to prevail by a nose over Glory of Florida in the one-mile overnight handicap for 3-year-olds and up.

    “He gives you 150 percent every time,” said trainer David Fawkes, who also conditioned Big Drama and Sheer Drama, both Queen home-breds.

    Unraced since finishing second in the Jan. 16 Sunshine Classic, the home-bred 6-year-old gelding dropped back to trail the six-horse field while Pro Quality showed the way during a first quarter in :24.59 and a half-mile in :47.85. Emisael Jaramillo asked Noble Drama for run leaving the backstretch and the son of Gone Astray responded with a four-wide rally to enter contention at the top of the stretch. The Florida-bred veteran kicked in through the stretch and narrowly prevailed over the rail-rallying Glory of Florida.

    “Emisael said it took him a little time to get him moving, but where he was sitting going into the turn, I was comfortable, although he did have to go four wide,” Fawkes said. “I wasn’t so comfortable right there [at the finish line].”

    Noble Drama was the 6-5 favorite and carried highweight of 122 pounds. He raced the mile in 1:36.39 to claim his sixth stakes victory and the $36,000 winner's check boosted his career bankroll to $669,687. “Look at the weight he’s gained. We gave him three months off, brought him in and breezed him four times, and he won,” Fawkes said. “He’s such a neat horse.”

    Glory of Florida, who was ridden by Samy Camacho, finished a neck in front of pacesetter Pro Quality with Miguel Vasquez.

CARIBOU CLUB RETURNS A WINNER 

    Glen Hill Farm’s Caribou Club, coming off a one-year layoff, drove to the lead down the stretch to win the $60,000 Sunny Isles over Harry’s Ontheloose. Tiger Blood was third. Winner of the Gr. III Baltimore-Washington International Turf in 2019, Caribou Club, a 7-year-old gelding trained by Tom Proctor and ridden by Edwin Gonzalez, covered a firm five-furlong turf course in :55.01. The son of City Zip raced only three times in 2020, and has now won 10 of 26 starts on the turf.

RAINBOW 6 JACKPOT POOL GUARANTEED AT $350,000

   The jackpot pool in today’s Rainbow 6 will be guaranteed at $350,000. The sequence will begin with the sixth race, a 7 ½-furlong turf race for maiden claimers, 3-year-olds and up. The sequence will also include the return of 2019 Florida Sire Stakes champion Chance It. There will be four turf races in the Rainbow 6.

NOTES- Saturday’s 10th race, a $48,0000 allowance optional claimer, was won by Arindel’s home-bred Sonar. The 4-year-old daughter of Brethren went off at 9-1 and drew off to a two-length victory while covering seven furlongs in 1:23.30. Graded stakes-winner Tonalist’s Shape, making her first start in seven months, broke last and was never a factor finishing fifth. Saguaro Row, fifth in the Gr. II Ruffian last out, tired after setting the pace and checked in seventh  . . . The $75,000 Musical Romance, to be run next Saturday at 6 ½ furlongs, has drawn a field of 10 fillies and mares. The race has a $25,000 Florida Sire Stakes win bonus. The field includes Hurricane Bertie runner-up Sound Machine and A Bit of Both, winner of the Captiva Island.
Friday, May 21, 2021
The band of 'E' commissioners should be ashamed . . .

    It's been quite awhile since we pointed out any "E's" in this space so let's revive this important service to all concerned in these troubled times.

    For those who don't know what "E's" are, they have nothing to do with Equibase's superior "E" speed figures. It goes like this: (A) is an idiot; (B) is an imbecile; (C) is a moron; and (D) is a nincompoop. (E), of course, is the infamous catch-all ALL OF THE ABOVE. 

    This week's E designation belongs to the members of the New York Gaming Commission who voted to suspend trainer Linda Rice for three years, and fine her $50,000 after a hearing officer submitted a final report that concluded that Rice's misconduct - which involved the heinous crime of receiving and requesting confidential information in overnight races - was intentional, serious and extensive. It also concluded that her actions constituted improper and corrupt conduct in relation to racing in violation of NYCRR 4042.1 and were inconsistent with and detrimental to the best interests of horse racing.

    Let's put just how heinous this is in proper perspective - she has been convicted of the act of receiving information, such as which horses were likely to enter races before the race had closed, and could have given her a competitive advantage. It's an incredibly heinous act, except that STAKES RACES ARE THE EXCEPTION. That's like saying that murderers must be executed or spend the rest of their lives in prison, unless they murdered someone over 50 years old, or someone with an IQ of less than 50, then there is no penalty.  

    It seems to me that in these days of four, five and six-horse fields, which bury the handle, any racing secretary would welcome a call from a trainer asking about a field for a certain race. And I'll bet that Linda has been far from alone in what she has done.  

    Linda has announced that she will appeal this decision by the E's, and a good lawyer should be able to destroy each and every commissioner on the witness stand, especially via the "stakes races are the exception" clause.

    By the way, the dictionary definition of "corrupt" is: immoral, perverted; marked by venality; decaying, putrid. Unlike the commission's band of E's, her actions were N's (NONE OF THE ABOVE).    

 

   

Thursday, May 20, 2021
15-year veteran will begin on June 30 . . .

    OLDSMAR - Jason Beem, who has called races at numerous tracks since 2006, has been hired as the announcer at Tampa Bay Downs. He will begin on June 30, the first day of the track’s two-day Summer Festival of Racing.

    The 41-year-old University of Washington graduate currently announces at Grants Pass Downs in Oregon and will begin his third season at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., on July 19. At Tampa Bay Downs, he replaces Richard Grunder, who retired on May 2 after 37 years and more than 37,000 races at the Oldsmar oval.

    Beem was chosen from among dozens of applicants after a nationwide search. A lifelong fan of racing with a strong social media following, Beem is excited to bring his enthusiastic style to a track that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 20 years.

    “I love the racing there and am excited to become a part of it,” said Beem, who hosts an hour-long podcast each Monday through Friday – the Jason Beem Horse Racing Podcast sponsored by Twinspires – on which he interviews many of the sport’s leading figures. 

    “From calling races at Colonial Downs and Monmouth Park (in 2019), I got to know a lot of the horses and horsemen who compete at Tampa, and it really appeals to me as a fan. It’s good, quality racing, the turf races are outstanding and it’s a very horseplayer-friendly track.”

    Margo Flynn, the Vice President of Marketing and Publicity at Tampa Bay Downs, believes Beem will be embraced by listeners accustomed to Grunder’s energetic, fan-friendly style, while attracting new followers through his social-media platforms. In addition to his podcast, Beem is active on Twitter ( @BeemieAwards ) and Instagram ( @jasonbeemracing ) and has a YouTube channel.

    “Jason hit all the checkpoints we were looking for,” Flynn said. “He sees racing through a fan’s eyes and understands the need to cultivate new fans and develop ways to target them. He has a big pair of shoes to fill, but he has the experience and love of the sport to make his own mark at Tampa Bay Downs. We are excited to have him on board and to introduce him to our fans on June 30 and July 1.”

    Beem, who started his announcing career in 2006 at River Downs (now Belterra Park), describes his race-calling style as high-energy and information-driven. “I have a quick delivery, I try to get as much information as I can to the horse player and I’m very descriptive. Accuracy, obviously, is the most paramount thing for me. It’s funny because I still get nervous before every race, even a $2,500 claiming event,” he said. “I’m surprised that I always have that adrenaline rush when they’re entering the gate, but I’m glad that hasn’t stopped after 15 years.”

    Beem knows it is a difficult task replacing Grunder, who is a jockey’s agent at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn. In an almost-eerie coincidence, both called races at since-closed Portland Meadows in Oregon at similar stages of their careers, with Beem working there from 2006-2014.

    “I don’t look at it as trying to replace him, because he is a legend,” Beem said. “I just want to be a great member of the Tampa Bay Downs team, get to know the horse-playing community and get a lot of people excited about horse racing.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Thursday's pool surpasses $562,000 . . .
    BALTIMORE - After going unsolved during an all-stakes sequence May 15 capped by Rombauer’s upset victory in the 146th Preakness, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a Maryland state record jackpot carryover of $562,931 when live racing returns to Pimlico Race Course on Thursday.

    The jackpot carryover was introduced in Maryland on April 2, 2015, opening day of Pimlico’s spring meet. The previous record carryover reached $345,898 spanning 31 racing programs before being solved by one lucky bettor for a life-changing $399,545 payout on April 15, 2018 at Laurel Park. The winning ticket was purchased through Maine off-track betting.

     Multiple tickets with all six winners in the Preakness Day Rainbow 6 each returned $5,940. The sequence began with the $100,000 James W. Murphy and was followed by the $100,000 Runhappy Skipat, $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint, $150,000 Maryland Sprint, $250,000 Dinner Party and Preakness.

    Thursday’s sequence spans Races 3-8 and includes the featured Race 7, a six-furlong entry-level allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up led by Mark B. Grier’s Sosua, the even-money program favorite. Purchased for $260,000 as a yearling in September of 2018 and trained by Arnaud Delacour, the 4-year-old Speightstown filly won her March 31 unveiling at Tampa Bay Downs by 12 ¾ lengths under Hector Diaz Jr., who returns to ride from Post 1 in the field of six.

      Pimlico will present nine races on Friday, and its finale – a five-furlong turf sprint allowance for 3-year-olds and up – kicks off the weekly national Stronach 5 wager that continues with Race 9 from Gulfstream Park, Race 3 from Santa Anita and Race 3 from Golden Gate Fields before wrapping up with Santa Anita’s Race 4. The minimum wager is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.

 

            
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Recent 2-year-old sales may help combat short fields . . .

    (1) -The current 2-year-old sale at Timonium has turned out to be a blockbuster like the OBS sale before it, and hopefully that will help the nation's race tracks begin to fill out their cards. Short fields have devastated fields all season at all tracks, and what used to be nine or 10-race programs at most of them, has seriously declined.

    On one recent day, Belmont Park carded nine races, as did Indiana Grand, but they were the only two venues around the country to do so. Churchill Downs, Gulfstream, Pimlico, Lone Star, Belterra, Charles Town and Evangeline all had eight, and Golden Gate just seven. Remington Park carded 11 races, but 10 were for quarter horses and one was mixed. Sam Houston had nine for quarter horses and one mixed. 

    The major reason for a decline in handle is (a) less races, and (b) less runners competing in those races. It's simple math. And owners and trainers who are flouting the stupid "bounce" theory and entering their horses more frequently than normal, are taking advantage of the situation.      

   (2) - Journeyman Stud's Khozan, Arindel Farm's Brethren and Double Diamond Farm's First Dude battled all through 2020 in the race to see which Florida stallion would wind up with the most winners for the year. The Dude won the battle with 64 winners, Brethren was second with 53 and Florida's leading stallion, Khozan, had 52.

    So far this year, it has been just Khozan and First Dude, with Khozan leading for several months until earlier this week when First Dude went berserk with four winners on Monday to go up by one, 33-32. However, Khozan moved back into a tie yesterday with a first-time winner who turned in a very sharp performance. Khozan's Success broke his maiden in his second start and the track where he enjoyed his success probably would stump most racing fans who don't live in Illinois. 

    The 3-year-old colt won at FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing and it's a good bet few know that it's the old Fairmount Park.

    Khozan's Success was bred by Ocala's Phillip and Karen Matthews and sold for $37,000 to William Stiritz at the OBS October sale as a yearling. In his first start, he finished fifth at Oaklawn Park before his second try in Illinois in which he went off at 1/5 and paid $2.40, winning by 12 1/2 lengths.

    When Gulfstream Park and NYRA added casinos, purses skyrocketed proportionately, especially in New York. It didn't happen at FanDuel, and the purse for this maiden special was $18,000, but much of it was for Illinois-breds. The final value of the race was $13,388 and Khozan's Success collected $7,200. Not much of a deal for the race track. 

(3) - The problem of major odds changes in races after the field leaves the gate has not abated by one iota. I bet on a horse last week who was 6-1 for much of the wagering, went to 5-1 when the field was approaching the gate, and when it won, the tote board read 8/5. It's always nice to win, but the feeling one gets when the odds have taken a late dive is unique, and very disappointing. 

    

    

            

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Win 5 stakes at Pimlico, one at Gulfstream . . .

    OBS graduates scored five stakes victories at Pimlico over the weekend, including a pair of graded wins on Friday and a third on Saturday by trainer Mike Maker.

    Three Diamonds Farm’s Army Wife moved to the leaders leaving the backstretch in Friday’s $250,000 Gr. II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, took command a furlong from home and drew off late to score by 2 3/4 lengths. It’s the first stakes win for the 3-year-old daughter of Declaration of War, trained by Maker, now 8-3-1-2 with $288,972 in earnings. She turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5 before she was purchased for $190,000 out of the Grassroots Training & Sales consignment at the 2020 OBS Spring Sale.  

    Michael Dubb, Steve Hornstock, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Nice Guys Stables’ Last Judgment went right to the front in the $250,000, Gr. III Pimlico Special Stakes on Friday and never looked back en route to a 1 3/4 length victory. It’s the second graded stakes win for the 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Congrats, who was purchased for $300,000 out of the Bobby Dodd consignment at the 2018 OBS Spring Sale after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat. Also trained by Maker, the win left him with an 18-8-1-1 career record and earnings of $490,465. 

    Maker posted his third weekend graded stakes win with an OBS graduate when Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Special Reserve took charge of Saturday’s $150,000, Gr. III Maryland Sprint Match Series Stakes after turning for home and scored by a length and three quarters. It’s the first stakes win for the 5-year-old son of Midshipman, now 19-6-1-7 with $358,647 in earnings. Consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, to the 2018 OBS March Sale, he sped an Under Tack quarter in :21 2/5 before he was sold for $140,000. 

    Madaket Stables LLC, Wonder Stable, Paul Farr and Team Hanley’s lightly raced T D Dance was taken back early in Saturday’s $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes, came after the leaders in the stretch, took over inside the eighth pole and drew off late to beat fellow OBS graduate Arzak (April ’20) by 3 3/4 lengths. The 3-year-old colt by Can the Man was purchased for $75,000 out of the Eddie Woods consignment at the 2020 OBS Spring Sale after turning in an Under Tack quarter in :20 4/5. Now 5-3-1-0 for trainer Brad Cox, he has earned $122,300 to date

    Morris E. Kernan, Jr. and Jagger Inc.’s The King Cheek took the lead at the start of the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes, was headed in mid-stretch, then came again late and was best at the wire by a head. It’s the first stakes score for the 3-year-old son of Laoban, trained by Jamie Ness, now 9-4-2-0 with earnings of $132,575. A two-time OBS graduate, he was sold by Stuart Morris, Agent, at the 2019 October Yearling Sale and was then consigned by Nice and Easy Thoroughbreds to the 2020 OBS June Sale, where he went through the ring after an Under Tack in :21 4/5. 

    Sonata Stable’s Moonlite Strike tracked the early leader in Saturday’s $75,000 Roar Stakes at Gulfstream on Saturday, took over after turning for home and drew away late to win by 3 1/4 lengths. It’s the first stakes victory for the 3-year-old graded stakes placed colt by Liam’s Map, a two-time OBS graduate, consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, to the 2020 OBS March Sale where he went through the ring after an Under Tack quarter in :21 2/5. Consigned again by de Meric Sales to the June Sale, he turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5. Now 7-3-0-1 for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., he has earned $141,150 to date
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Midnight Bourbon finishes second after shadowing Median Spirit . . .
    BALTIMORE - John and Diane Fradkin’s Rombauer staged a powerful rally through the stretch of Pimlico Race Course to register an 11-1 upset victory in Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes.

    The $1 million Preakness, renewed under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70's, highlighted a 14-race program with 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.25 million.


     Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit, who led throughout the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, faded to third after setting the pace in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

     Rombauer ($25.60), who was withheld from the Derby by his owners in favor of waiting for the Preakness, provided trainer Michael McCarthy with his first success in the Triple Crown series with his first starter.


     Rombauer scored a 3 ½-length decision over Midnight Bourbon while racing the 1 3/16-mile distance in 1:53.62. He had earned a fees-paid berth into the Preakness by winning the Feb 13 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, a ‘Win & In’ event.

     Ridden by Flavien Prat, Rombauer raced between horses in sixth place in the 10-horse field, led by Medina Spirit around the first turn. The pace-setting 2-1 favorite set fractions of :23.77 and :46.93 for the first half-mile, closely shadowed to his outside by Midnight Bourbon along the backstretch and into the far turn.  Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon showed the way into the stretch as Rombauer began to launch a strong bid. Midnight Bourbon edged past the pace-setter in mid-stretch, but Rombauer loomed boldly on the far outside and continued on to register a decisive victory.

    Rombauer, who finished third in the April 3 Blue Grass at Keeneland in his previous start, claimed his third victory in six career starts, which include a close second-place finish in the American Pharoah at Santa Anita last year. Midnight Bourbon, the 3-1 second choice ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., finished two lengths ahead of tiring Medina Spirit, who was ridden by John Velazquez. Keepmeinmind closed well to finish fourth, four more lengths back, followed by Crowded Trade, Unbridled Honor, France Go de Ina, Risk Taking, Concert Tour and Ram.

    McCarthy, a former long-time assistant to Todd Pletcher, was enthusiastically congratulated by his former boss, the Hall of Fame trainer-elect who saddled Unbridled Honor in a quest to saddle his first Preakness winner.

    Although they bypassed the Derby, the Fradkins, who bred the Preakness winner, and McCarthy indicated their intentions to run Rombauer in the June 5 Belmont Stakes, the 1 ½-mile third jewel of the Triple Crown.
Friday, May 14, 2021
Results in gains of more than 20 percent . . .
    OLDSMAR - When Richard Grunder called the 37,587th and final race of his marvelous 37-year Tampa Bay Downs career on May 2, it was as if a giant balloon floated into another dimension, never to be recaptured.

    While 21st-century technology permits fans to revisit Grunder’s greatest calls, such as the riveting Street Sense-Any Given Saturday duel in the 2007 Tampa Bay Derby, the Fan Appreciation Day card earlier this month was fraught with the reminder that change is inevitable in all avenues of life.

    That truism had been reinforced when the 2020-2021 meeting resumed on Nov. 25, slightly more than eight months after the COVID-19 pandemic turned everyone’s world upside down. No one was certain how thoroughbred racing fans would respond to temperature checks, mandatory face coverings and strict social distancing. Attendance was limited to about 30 percent of capacity, resulting in a combined 20.22-percent decrease in on-track and in-state handle on Tampa Bay Downs racing from the 2018-2019 (non-pandemic) meeting.

    But that was more than offset by a 20.87-percent jump in out-of-state handle, from $303,474,481 to $366,794,971. The Oldsmar oval’s deserved reputation as a winter hot spot that attracts runners from many of the top stables along the East Coast, enabled the track to post a 16.62-percent increase in total commingled handle from 2018-2019, with the 2020-2021 season total of $394,698,371 more than $56 million above the figure from two seasons ago
.

    Average wagering handle per race jumped 18.62 percent, to $482,516, and average handle per entry rose 16.24 percent, to $58,370. Horsemen did their part, as the average field size increased about 2 percent, from 8.1 per race in 2018-2019 to 8.27.

    The increase in wagering revenue was passed along to the horsemen. Tampa Bay Downs raised purses by 10 percent on four occasions, resulting in a 40-percent increase from Nov. 25 to the May 2 closing day card.

    “Higher purses enable us to attract better horses, which in turn produces more fan interest and more wagering activity,” said Margo Flynn, the track’s Vice President of Marketing and Publicity. “We are optimistic those trends will continue next season and beyond. Our main track and our turf course are regarded as being among the most consistent and safest surfaces in the country, which serves as another enticement for owners and trainers to bring their top horses to Tampa Bay Downs.”

    And, over time, the fans started coming back as attendance restrictions were gradually relaxed and people became more comfortable following the mask-wearing and social-distancing protocols. Tampa Bay Downs remains a popular destination for regular customers, first-time visitors and vacationers hoping to make a few bucks while basking in Florida sunshine and savoring thoroughbred competition.

    “As this season progressed, we seemed to notice more new faces throughout the facility than in past years,” Flynn said. “It’s an encouraging sign that people are choosing an afternoon at the track as a fun activity to begin returning to some kind of normal lifestyle.

    The track’s biggest day of racing, the March 6 Festival Day card Presented by Lambholm South, lived up to its reputation for world-class racing. In the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, lightly raced 3-year-old colt Helium turned back all challengers, springing a 15-1 upset under 56-year-old jockey Jose Ferrer, a Tampa resident.

    That same afternoon, fellow 3-year-olds Domain Expertise and Winfromwithin set records in the Gr. III Florida Oaks and the Columbia Stakes, respectively. Such excellence was not overlooked by bettors, who wagered an all-time Tampa Bay Downs record of $15,229,366 on the day’s action.

    The season climaxed on another high note, with a crowd of 4,872 – roughly half of what would be expected in “normal” years, but limited by COVID-19 – attending the May 1 card highlighted by the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby.

    The gains in wagering and purse increases are positive signs for the 2021-2022 meeting, which begins on July 1 (the second day of the track’s two-day Summer Festival of Racing) before resuming in late November.

    The competition to be leading jockey was tight throughout the meeting, with Samy Camacho and Antonio Gallardo trading the lead several times. Camacho, who had won the title in 2018-2019, overcame a 2-for-43 slump in the meeting’s second half to overcome his rival, riding four winners on May 2 to turn back Gallardo, himself a five-time track champion, by a 107-103 margin.

    The trainer’s race, by contrast, was over almost before it had begun. Gerald Bennett possessed the numbers, the skill and the touch to send out 56 winners, 22 more than his closest pursuer, Jose H. Delgado. The title was the sixth in a row for Bennett, who along the way passed the late Frank H. Merrill as the No. 1 Canadian-born trainer in racing history with 3,975 victories.


    Track officials acknowledge it will take fans some time to get used to a new announcer (Grunder remains active in the sport as a jockey’s agent at Canterbury Park in Minnesota). “Richard’s departure will be keenly felt,” Flynn said. “Many fans and simulcast bettors associate his voice with Tampa Bay Downs, and the next announcer will have some big shoes to fill.”

    For Tampa Bay Downs, which will celebrate its 96th anniversary season eager to build on past successes, Grunder’s trademark calls and vast knowledge are legacies to build on.
Friday, May 14, 2021
Medina Spirit and Concert Tour will go in Preakness . . .
    BALTIMORE - After undergoing three rounds of out-of-competition blood sample testing as part of the condition of entry agreement into Preakness 146 between the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) and trainer Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit, Concert Tour and Beautiful Gift have been reported clear and are eligible to race this weekend at Pimlico Race Course.

    Two samples were drawn on May 6 and May 10 by the Maryland Racing Commission and were screened by Industrial Laboratories in Colorado. A third sample was drawn on May 11 by 1/ST RACING and MJC and screened by the University of California at Davis Maddy Laboratory.

    Beautiful Gift raced in today's Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are entered in the 146th Preakness Stakes.

    Consistent with the fair procedures and practices established by 1/ST RACING and MJC, the additional tests and monitoring were conducted as part of the rigorous condition of entry agreement to ensure the fairness and integrity of the races with horses entered by Baffert.
Friday, May 14, 2021
Puerto Rican rider wins five . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Edwin Gonzalez continued to make his presence felt in the South Florida jockey colony, riding the winners of five races Thursday at Gulfstream Park. The native of Puerto Rico, who won at a better-than-30-percent clip the previous two years at Penn National, has ridden 33 winners at the Spring/Summer Meet since moving his tack to South Florida.

    Gonzalez won aboard Laurel Canyon in Thursday’s second race, K’s Running Free in the third, Karen’s Cove in the fourth, Vow Me Now in the fifth and Panarea in the eighth and final race on the program.

     A multiple group stakes-winner in his native Puerto Rico, where he won 443 races before coming to the U.S. in 2013, Gonzalez is closing in on 1,500 career wins. He ranked 14th overall in North American wins in 2020 with 177 and 11th in 2019 with 236.

     “We’ve been north here the last two years and it’s been good,” Gonzalez said at the start of the meet in explaining his decision to ride at Gulfstream. “But we only race two days a week and I’d like to ride at a better track with some better horses. I’m looking forward to riding here during the summer. I’ll keep working hard to win some races.”

    He is represented by agent Kevin Meyocks
Thursday, May 13, 2021
His rider, Gustavo Avila, lives in Miami and is 83 . . .

    BALTIMORE - Although 50 years have passed, Gustavo Avila can readily recall his ride of a lifetime aboard Canonero II in the 1971 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, just two weeks after the Venezuelan visitors shocked the world by pulling off an unimaginable upset victory in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

    The retired 83-year-old jockey, who resides in Miami with his family, came to Pimlico “a bit uncomfortable” and preparing for a race that would test Canonero II’s speed as well as his stamina.

    “One thing was certain,” the Venezuelan Hall of Fame jockey said, “this was going to be a violent race because of how fast it would be.”

    Avila and his Kentucky-bred Venezuelan invader, who had rallied from 18th to win the Kentucky Derby by 3 ¾ lengths, proved to be well-prepared to withstand a thrilling speed duel that developed with Eastern Fleet, winning by 1 ½ lengths and proving that his monumental upset victory at Churchill Downs was hardly the fluke so many had written it off to be.

    Canonero II, bred by Edward B. Benjamin, was born with a crooked foreleg and sold for a mere $1,200 at Keeneland. Between the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, he incurred a foot infection and wasn't 100 percent for the final leg of the Triple Crown, and he finished fourth in front of a record crowd, due to a large latino presence. He was still named Champion 3-year-old male of '71. 

    Canonero II was sold to King Ranch and in 1972, set a track record at Belmont in the Stymie Handicap. He retired with a record of 9-3-4 in 23 starts and earnings of $360,804, which would have been close to $3 million at today's prices.   

          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

 ‘All Systems Good’ for Kentucky Derby Hero Medina Spirit      

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It also gave Kentucky breeders apoplexy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    

    

    

    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed 

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

1. Known Agenda - Irad Ortiz  (6-1)

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

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

4. Keepmeinmind - David Cohen (20-1)

5. Sainthood - Corey Lanerie (50-1)

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

7. Mandaloun - Florent Geroux (12-1)

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

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

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

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

12. Helium - Julien Leparoux (50-1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20. Bourbonic - Kendrick Carmouche (30-1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pino Nearing Career Milestone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Talk about Highway 27 robbery.      

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

 AMOUNT WAGERED (Credits In)

---------------------------------------

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

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

3. Hialeah Park - $619,181,779. 

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

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

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

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

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

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

NET SLOT REVENUE (with payout percentage & takeout)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rainbow 6 Pool Guarantee Growing 

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

OAKLAWN:

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

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

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

KEENELAND:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed:

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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


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

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

CHANTAL RETURNS


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



RICHARD GRUNDER’S JOBS IN HORSE RACING THROUGH THE YEARS

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

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

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

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

1975—Announcer, Assiniboia Downs, Winnipeg, Manitoba

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

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

1980-82—Announcer, Assiniboia Downs (summer)

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

1984—Announcer, Arapahoe Park, Colo.

1984—present—Announcer, Tampa Bay Downs

1990—Announcer, Canterbury Park, Minn.

1991-92—Announcer, Ak-Sar-Ben

1993—Announcer, Prairie Meadows, Iowa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    




 

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

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

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


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

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

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

Gonzalez Gets Acquainted with Gulfstream Winner’s Circle

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

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

Championship Meet Titlists Honored 

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


                   





       

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

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


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

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

 EQUISTAFF SOPHOMORE TURF

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


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

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

OCALA BREEDERS’ SALES SOPHOMORE

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


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

GREY GOOSE TURF CLASSIC

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


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

 NYRABETS SPRINT

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

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

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

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

PLEASANT ACRES STALLIONS DISTAFF TURF

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

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

STONEHEDGE FARM SOUTH SOPHOMORE FILLIES


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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








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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



        



       




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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








.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

    First race post is 1:10 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

       

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soup and Sandwich impressive in second start.

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

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

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

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

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






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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   Pletcher named Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride Prime Factor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rainbow 6 Bomber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OBS AT GULFSTREAM - 

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

PAIR OF STAKES SCORES AT TAMPA BAY DOWNS -

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

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

ADD AQUEDUCT SCORE TO OBS LIST - 

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

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

Benoit photo

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

Lauren King photo

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

 

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

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

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

Adam Coglianese photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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








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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



 
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Irad rides six winners, Nicoletti picks 10 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Two-time defending Championship Meet titlist Irad Ortiz Jr. rode six winners on Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park.

    After notching a consecutive triple with victories aboard Hard Game ($8) in Race 2, Noble Empire ($3) in Race 3 and Bourbon in May ($7.60) in Race 4, Ortiz scored aboard Great Island ($2.60) in Race 6, the $100,000 Suwannee River, Democracy ($15.60) in Race 7, and R Mercedes Boy ($5.60) in Race 9.

    Ortiz has ridden a meet-leading 76 winners, 16 more than Luis Saez.

    “You never think that you’re going to win that many races, but you come here positive,” Ortiz said. “You try to win every race. I ride all my horses with the same mind. I try to win, no matter what. I think that helps. I got the right horses, too. My agent does a great job and all the trainers support me. They give me a lot of good chances . . . and the owners. Right now, we’re in a good position. I’m glad. I feel great.

    “You don’t have too many days like this, so I just enjoy it. For me, honestly, I go home and it’s just another day. Tomorrow everybody will forget what happened today. I just move on. I celebrate the way I want to; I go home with my family. That’s it, and tomorrow is a new day.”

    The record for most wins on a Gulfstream program is seven, shared by Jerry Bailey (3/11/96), Tyler Gaffalione (7/4/17), Luis Saez (1/24/18 and 3/29/18) and Paco Lopez (3/21/20).

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $1.1 Million

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.1 million today. It went unsolved for the ninth straight day Saturday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $1,638.    

    The sequence will span Races 6-11, kicked off by a well-stocked maiden special weight race for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs. Red Hot and Blue, a Shug McGaughey-trained daughter of Candy Ride who cost $650,000 as a yearling, heads a group of well-bred fillies who will make their respective debuts, including daughters of Medaglia d’Oro, Pioneerof the Nile and Quality Road, as well as three daughters of leading sire Into Mischief.

    Todd Pletcher-trained Jouster, who won by nearly nine lengths in her auspicious turf debut, is 6-5 in the morning-line for Race 7, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Kelsey Danner-trained Gladys, a full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, is entered to make her turf debut.

    Race 8, a five-furlong turf sprint for $16,000 claimers, could prove to be a popular ‘spread’ race with bettors. Chad Brown-trained Precipitate, a Juddmonte Farms’ home-bred daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, is rated at 2-1 in the morning line for Race 9, a mile maiden special weight race for 3-year-old fillies. Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Born Again, a daughter of Not This Time who finished third in her recent debut; and Bill Mott-trained Obligatory, a daughter of Curlin who finished fourth in her debut after bumping at the start; are also likely to receive strong support.

    A 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance for older horses follows in Race 10. Michael Yates-trained Reservenotattained will seek his third straight victory after winning both of his last two by 6 ½ lengths. A mile turf race with a full field of $16,000 claimers in Race 11 figures to offer a strong challenge to bettors looking for a ‘single’ to complete their Rainbow 6 tickets.

Nicoletti Picks 10 Winners on Saturday’s Program

  Gulfstream's long-time host and analyst picked 10 winners on Saturday's 12-race program.  

    He started the day by selecting the winners of the first nine races. They were Girl Dad ($6.60), Hard Game ($8), Noble Empire ($3), Bourbon in May ($7.60), Augusta Melody ($3), Great Island ($2.60), Democracy ($15.60), Yodel E.A. Who ($4.60), and R Mercedes Boy ($5.60). Nicoletti scratched into Great Island when his top selection, La Signare, was withdrawn from the Suwannee River when the race was taken off the turf.

    After his 10th-race selection, Bourbon Highway, lost his rider, Nicoletti added the 11th-race winner in Lady’s Island ($4.40) in the Ladies’ Turf Sprint. His selection in the last race finished fourth.

Sunday, February 7, 2021
Daughter of Greatness has won 18 times . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple graded stakes-winner Lady’s Island made her last start for Averill Racing and Matties Racing a winning one Saturday at Gulfstream Park, notching her 18th career victory in the $100,000 Lady’s Turf Sprint.

    The race, scheduled for five furlongs on the grass, was transferred to the sloppy main track due to afternoon rain, as was the co-featured $100,000 Suwannee River.


    A winner on turf as well as dirt, Lady’s Island is entered in next week’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale.

    “She’s been so good to me, so good to the barn, so good to the connections," trainer Georgina Baxter said. "She’s been so beautifully campaigned by the owners, and we’re going to miss her not only as a racehorse but as a horse. She’s such a pleasure to be around. It’s bittersweet. I’m just so pleased that she went out on top, because she deserves it after all she’s done and achieved.”

    The 7-year-old daughter of Solera Farm's Greatness was the 6-5 favorite in a field of six. She broke a step slowly but quickly recovered to take the lead inside Hear My Prayer and never looked back on her way to a victory by three-quarters of a length under Emisael Jaramillo.

    “There’s always nervous moments," Baxter said. "I’m nervous from this morning. When she got the lead and looked relaxed, I wasn’t really worried. She always pulls through. She never lets us down.”

    Lady’s Island, who had made a successful title defense in the Gr. III Sugar Swirl in her previous start, ran five furlongs in :58.87 seconds. Miss Auramet closed under Jose Ortiz to finish second, a half-length ahead of Hear My Prayer.

    The mare bred by Bailey Bolen wound up her fabulous career with a record of 18-5-4 in 35 starts and earnings of $665,575. She won at Gulfstream, Tampa Bay Downs, Saratoga, Delaware Park and Gulfstream West, and included seven black-type stakes. In one span, from Jan. 4 of 2019 through May 16 of 2020, she raced 13 times, winning 11 and finishing second in the other two.