The 2009/10 Tropical Meet again showcased the Florida Thoroughbred breeding industry with its renewal of the Florida Million on Nov. 14. The event, first held in 2002, features eight stakes races worth $1.2 million for registered Florida-breds and is held in conjunction with the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.
Jockey Eibar Coa was the leading rider of the Tropical Meet. He rode 61 winners at the session, with Manoel Cruz in second place with 57 winners. Apprentice rider Luis Saezz was third in the standings with 52 winners. Coa had previously won the leading jockey title at the Tropical Meet for three consecutive years in 1996-98.
The leading trainer of the Tropical Meet was Kathleen O’Connell. It marks O’Connell’s first training title at Calder, where she has been training since the mid-1980s, and the first time that a woman has led the trainer standings at Calder in its 39-year history. A little over a decade ago, O’Connell was the leading trainer at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fla. at the 1998/99 season. Horses trained by O’Connell won 17 races at the Tropical Meet, including Fly by Phil, winner of the Tropical Park Derby on New Year’s Day, which clinched the title for her.
“Being the leading trainer at Calder is definitely something I had hoped to accomplish and it was exciting because it came right down to the wire,” said O’Connell on Saturday. “It’s a team effort getting this done, because so many things have to fall into place and so many people are involved that contribute to that effort. It’s great to get the support from fellow horsemen like Steve Dwoskin and Stanley Gold who came by the barn and called to congratulate me.”
Steven Dwoskin sent out 15 winners to finish second in the trainer standings, while Bill White and Marty Wolfson tied for third place with 14 winners each.
The Tropical Meet leading owner’s trophy went to Steven Dwoskin, whose own horses won 11 races. Dwoskin was also the leading owner of the 2009 Calder Meet with 21 winners. Rose Family Stable took second place in the owner standings with 9 winners; Farnworth Stables and Andrea’s Farm tied for third with 6.
While the final day of the 2009/10 Tropical Meet was Jan. 2, Calder remains open seven days a week for simulcasting and live poker action in Studz Poker Club. The full line-up of tracks includes Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn Park and more. Studz Poker Club, conveniently located on the first floor of the grandstand, is open from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. and 24 hours on weekends. Studz features a variety of promotions in January, including the horseracing-themed "Racing for Quads" promo. Admission and parking are free and valet parking is also available.
Groundbreaking on Calder’s new 104,000-square foot slots casino took place on June 3, 2009 and is scheduled to open later this month. A schedule of exciting casino promotions is being developed for slots enthusiasts, and gamers are encouraged to join Calder's player-reward program, the Twin Spires Club. More info on the slots rewards program can be found at http://www.calderracecourse.com/loyalty.