Tuesday, April 28 2009
FAITH SCHORR RIDES HER FIRST WINNER
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 28, 2009) Apprentice jockey Faith Schorr guided Jackie B Good to victory for owner/trainer Michael Thomas in today’s third race at Tampa Bay Downs, giving the rider her first career victory. Schorr, an eighteen-year-old native of Ohio, says that she knew that she wanted to be a jockey since her childhood. Schorr cites her mother as her greatest influence, saying, “Everything she’s done, she did to help our family. So this is the way I’m going to help my family. My mother was a pony girl at Mountaineer, and then she became a trainer. I’d been hanging out at Mountaineer since I was 14, and I began galloping horses for my mom when I was 16. I’ve wanted to ride ever since I was little.”
Monday, April 27 2009
LUIS GONZALEZ HALTERS THREE VICTORIES
OLDMSAR, Fla. (April 26, 2009) Jockey Luis Antonio Gonzalez booted home three winners on this Sunday afternoon’s program, giving him 46 victories for the current Tampa meet. Gonzalez got his first win on the program with Demagoguery, a seven-year-old Demaloot Demashoot gelding under the care of trainer Dale Bennett for owner Mary A. Mazur.
Gonzalez took his second trip to the Winner’s Circle aboard Bea Precise; the three-year-old daughter of Pure Precision was bred in Florida by Frank Hopewell, is owned by Rick Totora and was conditioned to victory by Monte R. Thomas. Luis Gonzalez rounded out his hat trick with Welcome Back in the evening’s nightcap, this time for owner/trainer Christos Gatis.
Sunday, April 26 2009
CENTENO RIDES THREE WINNERS, RICE TRAINS TWO TO VICTORY
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 25, 2009) Tampa Bay Downs’s leading rider Daniel Centeno added three more wins to his tally today, giving the journeyman 998 career victories. Centeno, who will win the jockey title for the third straight season at the Oldsmar oval, has captured 131 victories in 90 days of racing at Tampa Bay Downs.
Centeno got his first trip to the Winner’s Circle today aboard Omega Cat; the three-year-old Omega Code filly was bred in Florida by owner Charles Patton and was conditioned to victory by trainer Thomas Proctor. Centeno struck again with What a Trouper, this time for trainer Christophe Clement and owner Silver Springs Stud Farm. Centeno rounded out his hat trick aboard Tahoe Warrior, a six-year-old son of Carson City saddled by Linda Rice for owner New Suffolk Racing.
Tuesday, April 21 2009
JOSE VELEZ NAMED HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS JOCKEY OF THE MONTH
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 21, 2009) Currently in his second year in the Tampa Bay Downs jockey colony, Jose Velez is having a banner season at the Oldsmar oval. Velez is currently the fourteenth leading rider here with 20 wins to his credit through April 21; in the week of April 14 – 19 Velez has booted home three winners and one second place finisher from 8 starters at average odds of 5.86-1.
Jose Velez was born on March 23, 1963 in San Turce, Puerto Rico. He gained an interest in horses through his father, who was also a jockey. Velez began riding in 1980 at Atlantic City Race Course, and in that year rode his first winner at New Jersey’s Meadowlands. In 1982, Velez was named as the leading apprentice at Hialeah Park and was also the leading rider at Gulfstream Park in that year.
Monday, April 20 2009
21 HORSES NOMINATED TO 9TH RUNNING OF THE CHRIS THOMAS TURF CLASSIC
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 19, 2009) The ninth edition of the $75,000 Chris Thomas Turf Classic, a 1 1/8 miles grass test for three-year-olds and upward to be run on May 2, has drawn 21 nominations. Among them is Fearless Eagle, winner of the $85,000 Kinsman Stable Turf Classic at the 1 1/8 miles distance on Florida Cup Day, April 4. Fearless Eagle is a multiple stakes winning five-year-old son of Invisible Ink who has never finished out of the money at Tampa Bay Downs and as scored four of his six lifetime wins running on the grass for conditioner Edward Plesa and owner Isaac Muhtar.
Sunday, April 19 2009
GONZALEZ WINS THREE, CAPLE GETS TWO VICTORIES
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 18, 2009) Reinsman Louis Gonzalez booted home three winners on today’s twelve race program, two of which came for trainer Gary Caple. Gonzalez took home his first victory of the day aboard Bello Pappa, a five-year-old gelded son of Snow Ridge bred in Florida by Kathie Haines and Wendy Christ, owned by Jean Griffin and trained by Donald Pittman. Gonzalez got his second victory with Maxime, this time for conditioner Gary Caple and owner/breeder Bonnie Heath Farm. Gonzalez and Caple teamed up again to capture the evening’s nightcap with Real Fortunate, a five-year-old Real Quiet mare bred in Florida by Martin Stables and owned by Billy Johnson and Josue Medina.
Thursday, April 16 2009
DALE BENNETT NAMED COURTSIDE GRILLE II TRAINER OF THE MONTH
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 15, 2009) The Courtside Grille II Trainer of the Month for April is Dale Bennett, who in the week of April 4 through April 11 has conditioned four winners and one third place finisher form ten starters at average odds of 4-1.
Dale Bennett, whose father is Tampa Bay Downs trainer Gerald Bennett, was born in Toronto in 1972 and grew up on a farm in Campbellville, Ontario, Canada. He was raised around horses, and began working with them at a very early age. As time went by, Bennett began to progress through the ranks of the backside, starting out hot-walking for his father, then as a groom and an exercise rider, all the while finding time to graduate from Geulph Collegiate in 1991. In 1998, Bennett earned his trainer’s license and began his career with three horses in his barn; one of whom, Spirit of Austin, gave him his first win at Detroit Race Course. Since then, Dale Bennett has excelled at any track where he keeps a stable.
Sunday, April 12 2009
HILTON GARDEN INN JOCKEY OF THE MONTH MIKE STRAIGHT BOOTS HOME THREE WINNERS
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 11, 2009) Hilton Garden Inn Jockey of the Month Mike Straight escorted three of his mounts to the Winner’s Circle today; the apprentice rider got his first career victory here in his first attempt on March 6, 2009.
Straight took home his first victory of the afternoon aboard R True Lady, a Florida-bred daughter of Yes It’s True under the care of trainer Kirk Ziadie for Tampa’s leading owner Richard Averill. Straight scored again with My Friend Rossario, this time for conditioner Arlene Edelkraut and owners Siesta Sun Stable, Laura Trabulsi and Nacca Racing Stable. Straight rounded out his hat trick aboard Taxicab, a five-year-old Mutakddim gelding owned by Robert Fridley and Tom Schafer and trained by Brenda McCarthy.
Thursday, April 09 2009
MIKE STRAIGHT NAMED HILTON GARDEN INN JOCKEY OF THE MONTH
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 8, 2009) Apprentice jockey Mike Straight has only been in the irons for a little over one month, but he has already made a big impression at Tampa Bay Downs. Straight has booted home seven winners in 25 days of racing at the Oldsmar oval, making him the leading apprentice rider at Tampa Bay Downs.
Straight got his first win from his first career ride on March 6, 2009 in the sixth race aboard Ready Ruler for trainer Michael Thomas and owner Leighton Evans. Straight, who is a graduate of Chris McCarron’s North American Racing Academy, is the twin brother of Maryland jockey Matthew Straight.
Monday, April 06 2009
AVERILL SETS RECORD FOR OWNER’S WINS IN A TAMPA SEASON
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 5, 2009) Tampa Bay Downs’s leading owner Richard Averill has set a new single season record for number of wins, besting Balkrisna Sukharan’s 19 wins last meet. Averill currently has 22 victories to his credit, the most in Tampa Bay Downs’s recorded history.
Finish Lines… Trainer Jamie Ness escorted two of his charges to the Winner’s Circle today, giving him 56 victories for the meet; Ness set a new track record last year when he haltered 68 wins in a single meet. Ness scored his first victory with Master Speak.
Saturday, April 04 2009
RECORDS BROKEN IN SEVENTH FLORIDA CUP DAY
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 5, 2008) The seventh running of Florida Cup Day was comprised of six $85,000 stakes races for Florida-breds of all ages at a variety of distances on both turf and dirt. A crowd of 6,577 contributed to a record co-mingled Florida Cup Day handle of $7,034,856 besting the old record by $709,214.
The Kinsman Farm Turf Classic –1 1/8 miles: Stakes winner Fearless Eagle notched his sixth career victory with his win in the seventh edition of the Kinsman Farm Turf Classic. The five-year-old son of Invisible Ink was bred in Florida by owner Isaac Muhtar, is conditioned by Edward Plesa and was ridden to victory by Elvis Trujillo. Marquet Cat was second by a neck and Ruff and Ready rounded out the trifecta, which yielded $390.00 for a $2 wager.
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.