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Thursday, March 05, 2009


ASHLEE BRNJAS NAMED COURTSIDE GRILLE II TRAINER OF THE MONTH


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 5, 2009) Trainer Ashlee Brnjas only began training three years ago in Toronto, Ontario, but has become one of Woodbine’s premiere trainers in that short time. The Toronto, Ontario native moved her string to Tampa Bay Downs for the first time this year and has found great success at the Oldsmar oval. “I’m having a great time here,” says Brnjas. “The horses are loving it. They love the racetrack. It’s minus thirty-two in Canada now!”


Brnjas grew up on her father John’s breeding and training farm, and was actively involved in the horse show world throughout her youth and competed in the Hunter Jumper ring at such venues as Wellington and Jacksonville, FL. “A few years ago, we decided to make a trainer change. I was actually working as an event planner, and I decided that because my dad had built up a huge empire of horses, somebody in the family should be interested in taking it over. And now I’m his trainer.” After taking the reins from her father, Brnjas has gone on to score top 20 finishes at Woodbine’s meetings and has lengthened her stride at Tampa Bay Downs, notching three wins from nine starts in the week of February 18 – February 26.

Through Thursday, March 7, Brnjas has captured six wins, seven seconds and three third place finishes from 35 starters, giving her an impressive 46% in-the-money finishes from 57 days of racing.

Finish Lines… Conditioner Jane Cibelli saddled two winners on today’s program, both in the co-featured turf races. Cibelli’s first victory of the day came with Canadian Jade, a three-year-old Jade Hunter gelding carrying the colors of Steve Gilmour and ridden by Jose Velez, Jr. Cibelli took her second trip to the Tampa Bay Downs Winner’s Circle with Chirac; the four-year-old son of Sligo Bay was bred in Florida by owner Pia M. Kirkham and had the services of reinsman James Lopez.

Tampa’s leading trainer Jamie Ness teamed up with owner Midwest Thoroughbreds to win two races on today’s card. The pair got their first win with Just for Kicks, a six-year-old Crafty Prospector mare ridden to victory by leading Oldsmar jockey Daniel Centeno. Midwest Thoroughbreds and Ness stuck again with Crimson View; the Distant View gelding was booted to victory by Carlos M. Cruz.

Please note that Tampa Bay Downs will switch its dark days from Wednesdays to Thursdays mid-month beginning on March 19th; Mondays at the Oldsmar oval will also be open for only poker, golf and simulcast racing throughout the month.


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