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Friday, April 03 2009


KATHLEEN O’CONNELL NAMED COURTSIDE GRILLE II TRAINER OF THE MONTH


OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 3, 2009) April’s Courtside Grille II Trainer of the Month is Kathleen O’Connell, who in the week of March 24 – March 29 has saddled 7 winners, 1 second and 2 third-place finishers from 19 starters. Additionally, O’Connell is as of April 1st the fifth leading trainer for the current Tampa meet with 24 wins.

Kathleen O’Connell is the daughter of a retired Detroit policeman. She rode show horses as a youth but had no racetrack experience when she took a howalker's job in 1970 at age 19 at the now-defunct Detroit Racecourse. A National Honor Society member in high school, O'Connell began working at the track "until I decided what I wanted to do with my life," she said. After having been turned down for veterinary school, O'Connell began her training career in her native Michigan, but has been competing in Florida since 1985. She established herself as one of the hardest working conditioners on the backstretch, and won the training title here in the 1998-1999 season.





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Wednesday, April 01 2009


FLORIDA CUP DAY DRAWS 61 ENTRIES TO 6 STAKES RACES


OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 1, 2009) Tampa Bay Downs’s 7th annual Florida Cup Day, to be held April 4, 2009, has attracted entries from 61 top Florida-breds battling in six stakes races on the afternoon’s twelve race program. Florida Cup Day is comprised of six $85,000 stakes races restricted to Florida-breds, including the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore for three-year-olds running 7/8 of a mile over the main track; the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies for three-year-old females running seven furlongs on the dirt; the Dayton Andrews Dodge Sophomore Turf, an about 1 1/16 miles test over the lawn for three-year-olds; the Hilton Garden Inn Sprint for four-year-olds and upward racing six furlongs over the main track; the L & D Farm Turf Distaff for fillies and mares four years old and upward travelling about 1 1/16 miles on the turf; and the Kinsman Farm Turf Classic, an about 1 1/8 miles turf test for four-year-olds and upward.





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AVERILL WINS TWO; ZIADIE NOTCHES THREE VICTORIES


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 31, 2009) Tampa Bay Downs’s leading owner Richard Averill teamed up with second-leading trainer Kirk Ziadie for two wins on the afternoon’s ten race program; those wins were two of three total for the conditioner today. Averill now has 20 wins for the 2008-2009 Tampa race meeting and Ziadie has 40 victories to his credit.

Averill and Ziadie got their first trip to the Winner’s Circle with Summer Party Girl; the four-year-old gelded son of Snuck In was bred in Florida by Reginald D. Methner and was booted home by Rosemary Homeister, Jr. Ziadie and Averill struck again with Fortunate Trail, this time with apprentice jockey Mike Straight in the irons. Fortunate Trail is an eight-year-old Fortunate Prospect gelding out of the Skip Trial mare Silver Trail and was bred in Florida by Becky Winemiller.





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Saturday, March 28 2009


STUMBLING BLOCK STRIDES TO VICTORY IN FINAL LEG OF TAMPA TURF TEST


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 28, 2009) Stumbling Block captured the final leg of the Tampa Turf Test today, besting nine other horses in the 1 3/8 miles contest over the lawn. Stumbling Block is trained by Tampa Bay Downs’s leading trainer Jamie Ness, is owned by Web’s Gem Stable and was ridden to victory by top Tampa jockey Daniel Centeno.

Stumbling Block, a six-year-old Illinois-bred son of Out of Place, settled behind early leaders to edge out second-place finisher Special Tiger by a neck; Onotheregoestokyo rounded out the trifecta, which yielded $1,881.20 for a $2 wager.





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FULL FIELD LINED UP FOR TAMPA TURF TEST


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 27, 2009) Saturday’s twelve race card at Tampa Bay Downs is highlighted by the final leg of the Tampa Turf Test, a $27,000 1 3/8 miles race on the lawn for four-year-olds and upward. A full field of ten, with four alternate entries, has subscribed to the Turf Test, which is scheduled as the 9th race at 4:09 PM.

Highlighting the Turf Test field is Otis Ridge, a seven-year-old Florida-bred son of Quaker Ridge who captured February 14’s Tampa Turf Test for owner Richard Averill and trainer Kirk Ziadie. Otis Ridge has yet to finish out of the money on the Tampa lawn and will have the services of Tampa Bay Downs’s second leading rider Rosemary Homeister, Jr.





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Wednesday, March 25 2009


JAMES LOPEZ NAMED HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS JOCKEY OF THE MONTH


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 25, 2009) James Lopez comes from a family of horsemen; his father J.R. “Joe” Lopez was the leading rider at Hawthorne in 1966 and at Sportsman’s Park in 1967 and 1968 before he retired in 1979. His brother Jeffery gallops horses, and his half-brother, Joe Lopez Jr. is a trainer in Texas. James’ wife Kelli also gallops horses and is attending nursing school in Louisville.

James began riding in 1996 at Retama Park in Texas and later that year moved his tack to Kentucky. Two years later he began riding first call for Cole Norman and then Joe Petalino at Oaklawn Park and finished as the meet’s third-leading rider. That summer he was the leading rider at Louisiana Downs where he won six stakes races. In 1999, he won four added-money events at Oaklawn, but perhaps the biggest victory of his career came at Ellis Park in 2000 when he won the Grade III, $200,000-guaranteed Gardenia Handicap aboard Silent Eskimo.





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LEADERS EMERGE AT THREE-QUARTER MARK FOR TAMPA BAY’S 83RD SEASON


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 24, 2009) As Tampa Bay Downs reaches the three-quarter mark of its 83rd race meet leaders are emerging in the trainers’ and jockeys’ standings.

Daniel Centeno, who set a record last year for number of wins in a singe season with 144 victories to his credit, currently leads the jockey colony with 108 trips to the Winner’s Circle in 71 days of racing; additionally, Centeno is ranked at the time of this writing as the fourth leading rider in the nation by wins. Rosemary Homeister, Jr. is in second place at Tampa Bay Downs with 71 wins, while Ronnie Allen, Jr. is in third with 65 victories. Carlos Montalvo has booted home 50 winners in the current meet to rank fourth in the riders’ standings, and Tampa newcomer James Lopez rounds out the top five riders with 28 wins to his credit.





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Monday, March 23 2009


110 HORSES NOMINATE TO APRIL 4’S FLORIDA CUP DAY


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 22, 2009) Nominations for April 4’s six-stake Florida Cup Day were released today with a total of 110 nominations. Florida Cup Day is comprised of the $85,000 Kinsman Farm Turf Classic, the $85,000 Hilton Garden Inn Sprint, the $85,000 Dayton Andrews Dodge Sophomore Turf, the $85,000 L & D Farm Turf Distaff, the $85,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore and the $85,000 Stonehedge Farm Sophomore Fillies; each race is to be contested by Florida-breds at a variety of distances on both turf and dirt.





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Sunday, March 22 2009


CIBELLI, PROCTOR TRAIN TWO WINNERS; CENTENO RIDES THREE TO VICTORY


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 21, 2009) Conditioners Jane Cibelli and Tom Proctor saddled two winners each on the afternoon’s card, while leading rider Daniel Centeno booted home three winners to round out the eleven race program.

Cibelli got her first trip to the Winner’s Circle of the day with A Curious Lady. The five-year-old Montbrook mare was bred in Florida by owner Laurence Foggle and was ridden by Tampa Bay Downs’s second leading rider Rosemary Homeister, Jr. Cibelli struck again with High on Candy; the High Yield gelding carries the colors of owner Sullimar Stables and had the services of jockey Jose Velez, Jr.





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Friday, March 20 2009


KAELIN WINS TWO, CRUZ BOOTS HOME THREE


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 20, 2009) Trainer Forrest Kaelin escorted two of his charges to the Winner’s Circle today, and Hilton Garden Inn Jockey of the Month Carlos M. Cruz rode three winners on the afternoon’s eleven race program. Kaelin got his first victory with Prince David, a three-year-old Crimson Classic gelding owned by Betty Kaelin and ridden to victory by Jesse Garcia. Kaelin teamed up with Carlos Cruz to notch his second win of the day; the duo scored with So Very Irish, a Stravinsky gelding carrying the colors of Davis V. Hall.





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Wednesday, March 18 2009


DEREK RYAN NAMED COURTSIDE GRILLE II TRAINER OF THE MONTH


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 18, 2009) Derek Ryan was born on September 22, 1966 in Tipperary, Ireland and got interested in horse s. “I began riding ponies as a little kid, and things just progressed from there.” Ryan moved to the United States in 20 years ago this month and began training on his own in 1996; he has since enjoyed success in Florida, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 2002, he scored his first big stakes win when Emergency Status took the Grade III Jersey Derby in front running fashion at odds of 55-1. Ryan says that he enjoys spending his winters at the Oldsmar oval because, “The track’s very good, especially the turf course. It’s great getting to the beaches and the weather is wonderful. ”

Ryan took home one of the biggest wins of his career here at Tampa Bat Downs on Festival Day, March 14 when his trainee Musket Man captured the 29th edition of the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The three-year-old Sky Mesa colt won the 1 1/16 miles race after winning the $75,000 Pasco Stakes here in January and running third in the Grade III $225,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes held on February 14’s Festival Preview Day.





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Saturday, March 14 2009


FESTIVAL DAY STAKES DRAW FOUR STONG FIELDS


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 13, 2009) Festival Day, which includes the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby, the Grade III $200,000 Florida Oaks, the Grade III $175,000 Hillsborough Stakes and the $75,000 Turf Dash, is the premiere day of racing in the Tampa Bay area; the four stakes card has drawn competitive fields for each race and offers a commemorative souvenir beach towel to the first 7,500 paid entries.

Headlining the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby, a 1 1/16 miles main track test for three-year-olds, is General Quarters, who captured last month’s Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes here. General Quarters has shown great aptitude for the Tampa surface and posted a bullet work here on March 7, going 5 furlongs in 1:01, the best of 12 horses training that morning. The son of Sky Mesa has never finished worse than second over the Oldsmar oval, and his victory in the Sam F. Davis Stakes was only 1/5 of a second off of the track record set here by Street Sense in 2007.





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