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Sunday, February 15, 2009


GENERAL QUARTERS COMMANDS IN GRADE III SAM F. DAVIS STAKES


OLDSMAR, Fla. (February 14, 2009) A crowd of 6,673 fans arrived at Tampa Bay Downs for Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South, in which General Quarters proved the best of a field of eleven in today’s Grade III $225,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes. General Quarters is a son of Sky Mesa bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. R. David Randal, is owned by Thomas McCarthy and was conditioned to victory by Mark L. Miller with James Lopez in the irons.

General Quarters stalked the field throughout the 1 1/16 miles race, moving to the lead mid-stretch to win by 3 ½ lengths. Sumo was second and Musket Man completed the trifecta, which paid $6,783.60 for a $2 wager.


General Quarters’ pilot James Lopez said of his ride in the Sam F. Davis, “We had a dream run; I sat in behind the leader and just stayed there until it was time to go and he went! He had stopped on me sprinting in the last two races but I probably had him on the lead too soon. So I learned something and he learned something. He was just reaching out at the end, and yes, I am sure he can get the next sixteenth. This guy has a big future!”

Trainer Mark Miller earned his first career stakes win with his victory in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes. He said of his win, “I’m just real proud of him. He proved a lot today. I’m looking at the Tampa Bay Derby, as long as everything’s OK. That’s the next step. Mr. McCarthy claimed him in Kentucky, and I was stabled next to him - that’s how we met. He sent the horse down here to me, and General Quarters just loves it here. He loves the track; this is the best place to be in the winter time. The track surface, the people, the atmosphere… the horse just loves it. And that’s all we’re trying to do: keep him happy. He seems to be on the improve.”

Owner McCarthy said he is very hands-on with his colt. “I’m the groom- I’m out here every day, and we (Miller and McCarthy) work as a team. I sent General Quarters down to Mark, and we correspond, and when I got down here, I just started rubbing him.” Miller interjected, “He’s the best groom I’ve got!”

McCarthy added, “The next step will possible be the Tampa Bay Derby, then the Bluegrass, and then hopefully to the (Kentucky) Derby. “

The Grade III $125,000 Endeavour Stakes was captured by Ballymore Lady, a six-year-old daughter of War Chant owned by Ron McCauley and Colin Purcell, trained by Eddie Kenneally and ridden to victory by jockey Jose Lezcano. Ballymore Lady stalked the pace throughout the 1 1/16 miles turf test, emerging to the lead just before the wire to win by a neck. Elusive Lady was second and Sousaphone was third.

“This is a really hard trying mare,” said jockey Jose Lezcano of his mount’s win in the Endeavour. “She runs he race no matter where she races. I think being in that rough race here in December may have helped her. I did want her to be close but we got bounced around in the back stretch and I was forced to try her off the pace. But it didn't bother her; I took her outside in the upper stretch and let her do her thing. I was pretty sure we were going to win it inside the eighth pole.

Trainer Eddie Kenneally’s assistant Brendan Walsh remarked of Ballymore Lady’s race, “The horse was training really well coming into the race; she like the track here and ran really well here last time. She ran a very good race at Gulfstream last time out. We thought she had a good shot for this one. We’ll see how she comes out of this and we’ll go on from there.”

Rock Candy took home top honors in today’s $75,000 Suncoast Stakes for fillies three years old; the daughter of Mineshaft had the services of Hilton Garden Inn Jockey of the Month Carlos Montalvo for owner William Farish and Mrs. William S. Kilroy and trainer Michael Zwiesler. Ameribelle was second and Don’t Forget Gil was third.

Jockey Carlos Montalvo remarked, “We got a nice clean trip just sitting behind the leader and when I asked she responded just like she did last time...real big! She gave me everything she had and she was still trying when she was tiring late.

Kent Desormeaux had a different kind of experience on the 6/5 favorite Don't Forget Gil. "It was just a nightmare trip. She broke through the gate when the filly next to us did and she bumped her nose hard. Then going into the first turn we got stopped and shuffled back. I waited on the inside as long as I could for room but I should have stayed there instead of going outside. What a same this is such a nice filly!"

Winning conditioner Michael Zwiesler said of his Rock Candy’s performance, “Carlos rode a great race. I think having a couple of trips over the race track definitely helped her. It was a very competitive field, and she’s just progressing. She showed her determination today. She ran hard. We’ll definitely nominate her for the Oaks. We’ll se how she comes out of this and I’ll talk to Mr. Farish. I’m really proud of her, and she’s really seemed to come around.”

Finish Lines… Journeyman Jose Lezcano celebrated three trips to the Winner’s Circle today; in addition to his victory aboard Ballymore Lady in the Endeavour, Lezcano also booted home Otis Ridge, a seven-year-old Florida-bred son of Quaker Ridge owned by leading owner Richard N. Averill and conditioned by current leading Tampa trainer Kirk Ziadie. Lezcano rounded out his hat trick on Teuten in the day’s closer. The winning owner was Jack D. Wall and was Tueten was trained to victory by Ron Behrens.

Racing resumes tomorrow, February 15 with a ten race card; there is a Pick 6 carryover of $53,819.22; the High 5 carryover is $1,791.39. 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.

SAM F. DAVIS QUOTES

Winning trainer Mark Miller “I’m just real proud of him. He proved a lot today. I’m looking at the Tampa Bay Derby, as long as everything’s OK. That’s the next step. Mr. McCarthy got him in Kentucky; I was stabled next to him in Kentucky, and that’s how we met. He sent the horse down here to me, and he just loves it here. He loves the track; this is the best place to be in the winter time. The track surface, the people, the atmosphere… the horse just loves it. And that’s all we’re trying to do: keep him happy. He seems to be on the improve.

Owner McCarthy: I’m the groom- I’m out here every day, and we (Miller and McCarthy) work as a tem. I sent General Quarters down to Mark, and we correspond, and when I got down here, I just started rubbing him, and… (Miller interjects) “He’s the best groom I’ve got!”

McCarthy: The next step will possible be the Tampa Bay Derby, then the Bluegrass, and then to the (Kentucky) Derby.


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