OLDSMAR, Fla. (May 3, 2009) Tampa Bay Downs concluded its 83rd live race meeting today by handing out honors to the leading trainer, jockey, owner and apprentice jockey.

The title of Leading Trainer went to conditioner Jamie Ness for the third year in a row. Ness saddled 62 winners from 223 starters this year with purse earnings approaching $650,000.

Daniel Centeno, who has also captured the jockey title for three years in a row, was named as top rider for the current season. The reinsman haltered 138 victories this year, just short of his record 144 wins during the 2007-2008 meet; this year, Centeno’s horses have earned nearly $2 million in purses. Centeno will take his tack to Monmouth Park over the summer, and plans to return to ride at Tampa when racing resumes here again in December.

Richard Averill was named as Tampa Bay Downs’s leading owner for the track’s 83rd meet. Averill, who was the leading owner here in the 2005-2006 season, set an owner’s record this year with 24 trips to the Winner’s Circle from 64 starts and earnings of over a quarter million dollars. Averill counts R Vicarious Girl, who captured 4 wins in 5 starts over the Tampa meet and is tied for the leading horse of the Tampa season, among his stable.

Mike Straight, who took the honors of leading apprentice jockey at the Oldsmar oval this year, broke his maiden on February 12 with style: it was the reinsman’s first ride as a jockey, and his win yielded a record Daily Double payout of $6,638.60. Straight, who captured 16 wins at Tampa Bay Downs, will spend his summer months at Arlington Park in Chicago.

One new track record was posted at Tampa Bay Downs this season: Brooks Star raised the bar for the 6 ½ furlong main track distance by covering the ground in 1:16.09 on April 4, 2009.

Finish Lines… Trainer Kathleen O’Connell rounded out the Tampa Bay Downs meet by adding three wins to her tally today; the conditioner got her first victory on the card with Mac Speed, a three-year-old Untuttable filly bred in Florida by owner Gilbert Campbell and ridden by Daniel Centeno. O’Connell scored again with Gambles List, a three-year-old Omega Code filly owned by O’Connell and booted home by James S. Vail. O’Connell completed her hat trick with Atsatsuki, this time for owner Lynne Martin-Boutte with Ronnie Allen, Jr. in the irons.

That win was one of three for Allen today; the journeyman also swept the late Daily Double to end the Tampa Bay Downs season as the third leading rider with 85 wins to his credit. Allen took home the tenth race aboard That’s My Man, a seven-year-old Straight Man gelding bred in Florida by Donna Colli and trained by Gillian Andreassen for owners Jack Jacobson and Alpala Farm. Allen closed out the Tampa meet with a victory aboard Sir Swervalot ; the Florida-bred Lycius gelding is under the care of Tampa’s leading trainer Jamie Ness and is owned by Slow Pay Stable and L. A. Inc.

The Silks Poker Room will remain open daily throughout the summer months from 12:30 PM through 12:30 AM, and the Downs Golf Practice Facility is open on Mondays from 10:00 AM through 10:00 PM and on Tuesdays through Sundays from 8:30 AM through 10:00 PM.