Thursday, January 01, 2009


OLDSMAR, Fla. (December 31, 2008) Daniel Centeno has enjoyed tremendous success at the Oldsmar oval, and has begun Tampa Bay Downs’s 83rd racing season with a bang, scoring 13 wins, 6 second place finishes and 7 thirds from 43 attempts for $175,368 in purses earned in just 9 days of racing. Among these wins is a victory in December 27’s Sandpiper Stakes, a $65,000 event for two-year-old fillies; additionally, Centeno piloted three horses to the Winner’s Circle on December 30. Centeno is ranked as the 17th leading jockey in the nation by wins for 2008, ahead of such nationally recognizable names as Edgar Prado and John Velazquez.

Centeno, a 37-year-old native of Caracas, Venezuela, is no novice to the racetrack or to Tampa Bay Downs: in the 2007-2008 season, Centeno won the Tampa Bay Downs Jockey Title, booting home a record-setting 144 winners. This includes six stakes wins over the course of Tampa’s 82nd season. He amassed $2,145,528 purses, setting another Oldsmar oval record for purse money won in one meet by a jockey.

Centeno started his career with horses at a very early age: his father was a jockey’s agent in Venezuela, and Centeno grew up in the racing world, spending time at the barn and building a deep relationship with horses. Centeno began race riding in Venezuela in 1990, assembling a successful career that eventually took him to the United States in 2003. Once stateside, Centeno began riding at Calder Race Course. Arriving at Tampa Bay Downs in 2004, Centeno established himself by finishing tenth overall in the final jockey standings for that meet; the next year, Centeno was second leading rider at Tampa Bay Downs. Centeno cites Cool Spell as the most notable horse he has ridden so far; and indeed, he rode the filly to a stakes-record-setting time in the Gasparilla Stakes. The Gasparilla was the first American stakes win for Centeno, whose major influences in the racing world are Eibar Coa and Ramon Dominguez, with whom he grew up in Venezuela. Both have gone on to become highly successful jockeys, and Centeno is quickly following in their hoof prints.

Finish Lines… Andrew Ramgeet took three trips to the Winner’s Circle today, beginning with a victory on Roaring River in the day’s opener. Roaring River is a two-year-old Florida-bred son of Montbrook owned by Move Horses, Inc. and trained by Mark Passley. Ramgeet got his second win of the day aboard Juicy Point, a Dale Bennett trainee owned by Montesano Racing. Bennett and Ramgeet scored again in the ninth race with Dee’s Rose; the three-year-old daughter of Straight Man was bred in Florida by Jean White and carries the colors of Dyedra E. Kademoglou.

Racing resumes Friday, January 2 with a ten race card; the Pick 6 carryover is $1096.91. The Silks Poker room is open daily from 12:30 PM through 12:30 AM, and The Downs Golf Practice Facility is open on Mondays from 10:00 AM through 10:00 PM and on Tuesdays through Sundays from 8:30 AM through 10:00 PM.

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