Sunday, April 01, 2012
SLUGGERS HIGHLIGHT BUSY SATURDAY CARD AT TAMPA BAY DOWNS
With baseball season about to begin, it made sense that doubles were the order of the day at Tampa Bay Downs.
Trainer Ian Wilkes actually gets credited with a triple. Not only did he send out two winners at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, Wilkes saddled 12-1 shot Fort Larned to win the Grade III Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park on the Florida Derby card.
Wilkes’ assistant Peggy Dunleavy saddled the outfit’s pair of Tampa Bay Downs winners. Iamtheone, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Robert T. Manfuso and ridden by Ronnie Allen, Jr., won the first race, a mile-and-a-sixteenth maiden claiming contest.
Dunleavy visited the winner’s circle again after the sixth race with Dixiana Stables’ 3-year-old colt N.B.A. Money, who won the mile maiden special weight turf affair under Angel Serpa. The sixth was the Lambholm South Race of the Week.
Dunleavy was so wrapped up in her work, she did not know Fort Larned, who she saddled for the Challenger, had won until informed by a bystander.
Trainer Tom Proctor and jockey Mark Guidry also recorded doubles, combining to post back-to-back victories Saturday in the third and fourth races.
Guidry, a native of Lafayette, La. who won the 2006 George Woolf Award, rallied 5-1 shot Service Duty Honor from mid-pack to win the third – a claiming contest for 3-year-olds – by three-quarters of a length from 11-10 favorite Smokin Surprise. The winner, a 3-year-old gelding owned by John Elliot, completed the 5 ½-furlong distance in 1:05.19.
In the fourth race, Guidry raised his career victory total to 5,083 by piloting 4-year-old filly Piton to an authoritative 4 ¼-length victory from Stripe E in the seven-furlong maiden claiming event for older fillies and mares.
Piton, owned by Ben P. Walden, Jr. and Pat Madden, sped the distance in 1:26.45.
Guidry is seventh in the Tampa Bay Downs jockey standings with 29 victories. Proctor has 16 victories from 70 starters at the meeting, good for eighth in the trainer standings.
Jockeys Huber Villa-Gomez, who has been warming up of late, and veteran rider Jorge Vargas also notched doubles on the Saturday card. Villa-Gomez was aboard the 5-year-old mare Zippin Along in the second race, a six-furlong claiming event, for owner Antonio Alvarez and Manuel Criollo.
Villa-Gomez also captured the eighth race, a mile claiming event on the turf, with 5-year-old gelding Family Foundation for owner Midwest Thoroughbreds and trainer Jamie Ness.
Vargas won both ends of the late daily double. In the 10th race, he won aboard 4-year-old filly Honey Brew, owned by Steven Parrish and trained by Robert G. Smith, in a mile maiden claiming event on the turf.
Vargas, who has more than 3,000 career victories, won the finale with his patented whirlwind finish on 7-year-old gelding Shilah for owner-trainer M. Anthony Ferraro at seven furlongs. Shilah has won seven of 40 lifetime starts.
Saturday, April 7 is Florida Cup Day at Tampa Bay Downs, with six stakes races for registered Florida-breds worth $75,000 each and total purse distribution of more than $500,000.
Tampa Bay Downs, the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders Association invite breeders, owners and trainers to attend a luncheon from noon-3 p.m. on Florida Cup Day under the tent adjacent to the paddock. The event is free of charge with proper identification.
Live racing at Tampa Bay Downs resumes Sunday at 12:25 p.m. The track is open every day except Easter Sunday, April 8 for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at the Downs Golf Practice Facility.
Tampa Bay Downs fans can download races on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch device through HorseRacesNow.com, which provides an innovative mobile application that allows users to access racing from numerous tracks.
Features include entries for upcoming races; streaming live video and audio of races; results and payoffs; and race replays as far as two years back, all delivered via push notifications.
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