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Saturday, April 07 2012


SPIETH HITS 4,000, WASTES NO TIME TO GET NO. 4,001


Scott Spieth isn’t the type of person to get overly emotional. So it was difficult to gauge his feelings when most of his fellow riders joined the winner’s-circle celebration after he notched career victory No. 4,000 Friday at Tampa Bay Downs.

The 45-year-old Spieth, a consummate professional, eloquently put into words how he felt following his 5 ¼-length victory aboard Reid Nagle’s 4-year-old filly Ula in the seventh race, a $20,500 maiden special weight at five furlongs for fillies and mares.





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LAST DAY FOR GONCALVES; FLORIDA CUP PROGRAM SET


When Leandro Goncalves leaves Tampa Bay Downs after Saturday’s lucrative Florida Cup Day card, the race for leading jockey will be out of his control.

The 29-year-old Brazilian is heading to Kentucky to ride at Keeneland and will also compete at Indiana Downs, where he has been leading jockey the past two seasons, when that meet starts April 16.





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Thursday, April 05 2012


STAKES WINNERS GALORE FOR FLORIDA CUP; SPIETH ON VERGE OF 4,000


Roman Tiger, who won the Grade III, $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on Feb. 25, and sprint sensation It’s Me Mom highlight the entries for Saturday’s 10th annual Florida Cup Day at Tampa Bay Downs.

The slate of six Florida Cup Day stakes for registered Florida-breds includes three on dirt and three on the turf course, with three races for 3-year-olds and three for horses 4-and-up. Each race offers purse money of $75,000. Tampa Bay Downs will distribute more than $500,000 in purses over the 12-race card.





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Monday, April 02 2012


NESS SETS NEW TRAINING MARK IN STYLE; CENTENO WINS FOUR AGAIN


When it came time for trainer Jamie Ness to break his own record for victories in a season at Tampa Bay Downs, it seemed appropriate Daniel Centeno would be in the saddle.

“He has probably won more races for me than any jockey,” Ness said after Centeno powered 6-year-old gelding Tapis Magique to a ¾-length victory from Fleeter in Sunday’s eighth race, a six-furlong allowance optional claiming event for older horses. “He is a really strong rider for finishing. Every time you think he is beat, he comes to finishing.”





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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.





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Thursday, March 29 2012


GRIFFITH’S TRAINER OF THE MONTH HONOR A GOOD SIGN


If you’re Greg Griffith’s age, you might remember the 1971 hit single Signs by the Canadian rock group Five Man Electrical Band.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind





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Monday, March 26 2012


FLORIDA CUP DAY NOMINATIONS LIST PROMISES MEMORABLE 10TH RENEWAL


Nominations for the 10th annual Florida Cup Day, a celebration of the state’s excellence in breeding and raising Thoroughbreds, closed Saturday with 118 registered Florida-breds eligible for six stakes races on April 7 at Tampa Bay Downs.

The slate of Florida Cup Day races includes three on dirt and three on the turf course, with three events for 3-year-olds and three for horses 4-and-up. Each race offers purse money of $75,000 for a total in stakes purses that day of $450,000.





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Sunday, March 25 2012


GOLD BREW, ANOTHER SMOKEY CAPTURE TAMPA TURF TESTS


Wayne Scanlan’s 8-year-old gelding Gold Brew, last of the 10 runners for the first mile, charged past the leaders in the stretch and rolled to a 1 ¾-length victory under jockey Dean Butler in Saturday’s $27,000 Tampa Turf Test Male Division, his fourth consecutive victory at the current Tampa Bay Downs meeting.

In the $27,000 Filly and Mare Division of the Tampa Turf Test, 5-year-old gray mare Another Smokey rallied from mid-pack under Daniel Centeno to score an emotional victory for owner-trainer Joyce Kielty, whose late husband Donald picked out the Florida-bred at an Ocala yearling sale in 2008. The couple paid $2,500 for her.





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Friday, March 23 2012


MARTINEZ HEADED TO DUBAI; TAMPA TURF TEST ON TAP TODAY


Tampa Bay Downs jockey Willie Martinez leaves Tuesday for the United Arab Emirates, where he will prepare to ride 6-year-old sprinter Giant Ryan in the $2-million Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup card March 31 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

The Golden Shaheen will be contested at a distance of 1,200 meters, or about six furlongs, on the synthetic Tapeta surface. It is one of nine races worth more than $27 million on a spectacular program that culminates with the $10-million Dubai World Cup.





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Monday, March 19 2012


SMOCK’S MARE PROVES YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN MANNERS – AND WIN


Tuesday marks the official start of spring, with an increased emphasis on 3-year-olds and the buildup to the Kentucky Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Only a select few make it to Louisville. In fact, many Thoroughbreds never get to the races by the spring of their sophomore seasons, due to physical setbacks or immaturity or their connections’ belief in bringing a horse along slowly in hopes of a long career.

Rarely, though, do horses wait until their 6-year-old seasons to make their debut. Fewer still win their first race at that advanced age, but Tampa Bay Downs owner-trainer Lori Smock has gotten to the winner’s circle twice this meeting with her gray mare, Down the Roof.





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Sunday, March 18 2012


ARENA ELVIRA’S FIFTH STRAIGHT STAKES VICTORY A VIRTUAL HEART-STOPPER


Carolyn Wilson admitted feeling queasy Saturday after her 5-year-old mare Arena Elvira hit the wire together with 4-year-old filly R Gypsy Gold in the 28th running of the Wayward Lass Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Fortunately for the Tampa resident, Arena Elvira’s abundance of ability and determination made her well in a hurry.





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Friday, March 16 2012


JOCKEYS’ WELFARE IN GOOD HANDS WITH GUILD MANAGER RIVERA


Two-time leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Heriberto Rivera, Jr. considers himself one of the lucky ones.

Rivera rode full-time from 1977-99, winning 3,183 races with purse earnings of more than $24 million. He won riding titles at Tampa Bay Downs in both the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.

Although he managed to stay injury-free for most of his career, Rivera knew he had something to fall back on in the form of his Jockeys’ Guild membership should he become disabled.





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