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Friday, January 30, 2009


LUIS ANTONIO GONZALEZ NAMED HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS JOCKEY OF THE MONTH


OLDSMAR, Fla. (January 29, 2009) Jockey Luis Antonio Gonzalez has had much to celebrate in the month of January, including a win in the Pasco Stakes aboard Musket Man. Gonzalez piloted the three-year-old to a 2 1/4 length victory in the seven furlong test, and Musket Man is expected to make his next start in Festival Preview Day’s Grade III $225,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes here on February 14. Along with his victory in the Pasco, Gonzalez has booted home 21 winners, 20 second place finishers and 18 thirds for $279,872 in purses through 28 days of riding in the current meet, making him the fourth leading rider overall.


Gonzalez came to the United States in 1984 from Panama. In 2004, Gonzalez received the inaugural Michael F. Rowland award at Turfway Park, which honors the jockey who best exemplifies Rowland’s work ethic, professionalism, and perseverance. In 1999, Gonzalez was the second leading stakes rider at Tampa Bay Downs for that racing season. Gonzalez spends the summer months at Thistledown Race Course in Cleveland, Ohio, where he has earned seven jockey titles, including the 2008 Thistledown season, which he again finished as the leading rider.

Gonzalez began riding at the age of seventeen in his native Panama, attracting the notice of Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., who got him a job galloping horses. Gonzalez has other interests outside of race riding: he studied art at the Thomas Edison School in Panama for five and a half years, and still draws and paints recreationally. In the 2007-2008 meet, Gonzalez finished fifth in the jockey standings; his 57 wins included a victory in the Challenger Stakes. Gonzalez ended last year’s Tampa season as the fifth leading rider with $822,497 in purse money earned.

Finish Lines… Tampa Bay Downs is celebrating Sunday’s big game with Roll Back the Prices on Saturday, January 31. Roll Back the Prices includes $1 beer, Nathan’s Famous™ Hotdogs and $1 soda at concession stands from noon until 3 PM trackwide.

Racing resumes tomorrow, January 30 with a ten race card; the Pick 6 carryover is $814.65, and the High 5 carryover is $6,157.93. 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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