Monday, January 30 2012


BENNETT HAS CHOICES, AND THAT’S WHAT MATTERS


Tampa Bay Downs trainer Gerald Bennett could face a pleasant dilemma approaching the $75,000 Turf Dash Stakes on Feb. 18.

Three days after Bennett’s 6-year-old gelding Jr’s Exchange established a Tampa Bay Downs turf track record of 54.92 seconds for five furlongs, his 4-year-old gelding Gibson nearly lowered the standard Sunday, winning the third race by a nose in 55.35 seconds at five furlongs on the grass.

Gibson earned $15,900 from the $24,500 allowance purse.





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Monday, January 23 2012


ECLIPSE WINNER HANSEN HEADS SAM F. DAVIS NOMINATIONS


Undefeated Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old Hansen is among 33 horses nominated for the 32nd running of the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, the centerpiece of the Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South racing card Feb. 4 at Tampa Bay Downs.

The Sam F. Davis, considered a major stepping stone for 3-year-old Triple Crown candidates and a precursor to the Grade II, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 10, is run at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has saddled four of the past six Davis winners for WinStar Farm – including Brethren in 2011 and Rule in 2010 – has nominated six to this year’s Davis.





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Sunday, January 22 2012


TAYLORS IRISH UPSET WINNER OF THE MANATEE STAKES AT TAMPA


Taylors Irish surrendered the lead momentarily in the stretch, then found an extra burst of energy to surge past Island Bound and win Saturday’s $50,000-guaranteed, seven-furlong Manatee Stakes for older fillies and mares at Tampa Bay Downs by a neck from Island Bound.

The victory was the first stakes triumph for the 6-year-old mare, who was claimed by owner Michael Newman and trainer Charles R. Harvatt two years ago at Tampa Bay Downs for $10,000. Taylors Irish has won six of 38 lifetime starts, with 12 seconds, but all her victories have come at Tampa Bay Downs, where she has finished out of the money only three times in 16 races.





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Thursday, January 19 2012


THREE-WAY JOCKEY RACE LOOMS; GUAM TYPHOON BEATS THE STORM


Jockeys Leandro Goncalves, Ronnie Allen, Jr. and Rosemary Homeister, Jr., have put some distance between themselves and their pursuers in the Tampa Bay Downs jockey standings through the first quarter of the 2011-12 Thoroughbred meeting.

Goncalves, who rode four winners on Sunday’s card, added one Wednesday in the fourth race aboard the Robert O’Connor II-trained colt Adaro to increase his meet-leading total to 28.





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Monday, January 16 2012


MIDWEST SEEKS ECLIPSE AWARD MONDAY; GONCALVES BAGS FOUR


With two victories Sunday raising its total to 19 through the first 22 days of the 2011-12 Thoroughbred meeting, Midwest Thoroughbreds is well on its way to a third consecutive title as leading owner at Tampa Bay Downs.

But the outfit spearheaded by Midwest Store Fixtures founder Richard Papiese and trainer Jamie Ness is in search of much greater recognition at Monday night’s 41st annual Eclipse Awards dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.





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Sunday, January 15 2012


PROSPECTIVE, SALAD GIRL VICTORIOUS IN $100,000 FEATURES


Trainer Mark Casse says he was baffled by Prospective’s 13th-place finish in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

But he was feeling a lot better about the Kentucky-bred colt’s long-term prospects after his stirring half-length victory from Wildcat Creek in Saturday’s $100,000, seven-furlong Pasco Stakes for 3-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs.





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Saturday, January 14 2012


Adirondack King Headlines Pasco


Thoroughbred trainer John Servis knows Triple Crown contenders aren’t made in January.

But based on what he’s seen thus far from his 3-year-old colt Adirondack King, Servis wants to give him every opportunity to prove he belongs in Louisville, Ky. on the first Saturday in May.

The Kentucky-bred son of Lawyer Ron-Jostle, a winner of his previous three races at Parx Racing in Philadelphia, will be challenged by nine other sophomores in Saturday’s $100,000 Pasco Stakes, the co-feature on the 11-race Skyway Festival Day card.





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Thursday, January 12 2012


AGE IS JUST A NUMBER FOR ALLEN


After winning Wednesday’s second race at Tampa Bay Downs aboard 4-year-old gelding Dazzle Me Danny, veteran jockey Ronnie Allen, Jr. stressed the importance of experience when competing against riders roughly half his age.

That know-how proved essential in Allen’s third victory on the 10-race card, aboard the Ian Wilkes-trained 5-year-old mare Island Bound in the ninth race, a $21,200, seven-furlong allowance.





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Monday, January 09 2012


PASCO, GASPARILLA ATTRACT POTENTIAL-LADEN NOMINEES


Promising 3-year-olds from the barns of such top-level conditioners as Kentucky Derby-winning trainers H. Graham Motion and Todd Pletcher, as well as Mark Casse, Derek Ryan, Edward Plesa Jr. and Wayne Catalano, are among a group of 47 horses nominated to Saturday’s $100,000 Pasco Stakes and $100,000 Gasparilla Stakes for fillies at Tampa Bay Downs.

Entries and post positions will be drawn Wednesday.





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Sunday, January 08 2012


ACTION ANDY JUSTIFIES CONNECTIONS’ FAITH IN PELICAN STAKES


When Action Andy was 2, owner Robert Gerczak and trainer Carlos Garcia worried they might lose him because of Wobbler’s Syndrome.

“We almost put him down, he was so bad off,” said Gerczak after Action Andy’s dominant 3 ½-length victory in Saturday’s $60,000-guaranteed Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. “Dr. (Allison) Faber did a bunch of chiropractic work and acupuncture treatments on him.”





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Saturday, January 07 2012


Past Triple Crown Competitor Tries Tampa Turf


Tim Girten thinks 2012 could mark a new beginning in the racing career of 2008 Pennsylvania Derby winner Anak Nakal.

The 7-year-old son of 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop – who dead-heated for third himself in the 2008 Belmont under trainer Nick Zito – is scheduled to make his first start on the turf in Saturday’s fifth race at Tampa Bay Downs.

The $30,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth handicap for horses 4-years-old and up is one of 11 races on Saturday’s card, which includes the $60,000-guaranteed Pelican Stakes at six furlongs for 4-year-olds and up. Post time for the first race is 12:25 p.m.





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Thursday, January 05 2012


PELICAN STAKES DRAWS ATTRACTIVE FIELD OF NINE OLDER RUNNERS


Tampa Bay Downs trainer Gerald Bennett has entered a dangerous one-two punch for Saturday’s $60,000-guaranteed Pelican Stakes, to be run at a distance of six furlongs on the main track. The 28th renewal of the Pelican is the eighth race on an 11-race card that begins at 12:27 a.m.

The uncoupled entry from the Bennett barn is headed by 4-year-old Gibson, a Florida-bred son of Gibson County owned by Sundance Thoroughbreds. Ronnie Allen, Jr. has the riding assignment. The confirmed front-runner Gibson won his previous start at Tampa Bay Downs on the grass, following his 6 ½-length score Nov. 12 in the $125,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap at Calder at odds of 34-1.





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