OLDSMAR, Fla. (January 16, 2009) Tomorrow’s Skyway Festival Day is Tampa’s premiere day of three-year-old racing in January, featuring the $75,000 Pasco Stakes for three-year-olds covering 7/8 of a mile over the main track and the $65,000 Gasparilla Stakes for three-year-old fillies also running seven furlongs on the dirt.

The $75,000 Pasco Stakes has attracted seven entrants; among them is Musket Man, a Yonaguska colt who has posted bullet workouts in his last two breezes over the Tampa Bay Downs surface. The colt, who is co-owned by Vic Carlson, carries the colors of Eric Fein, who owns last year’s Tampa Bay Derby Winner Big Truck. The three-year-old is undefeated in his two lifetime starts, capturing a maiden special weight at Belmont as well as a $44,000 allowance event at Philadelphia Park in the fall.
General Quarters made his previous start in December’s Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, finishing a fast-closing second despite going to his knees out of the starting gate. The Sky Mesa colt will retain the services of jockey Jose Lopez for trainer Mark Miller and owner Thomas McCarthy. Miles and Miles also makes his first start back from the Inaugural Stakes here, in which he finished third. Miles and Miles, a son of Candy Ride, has not finished worse than third in four starts for owners BNB Racing Stable, et al and trainer Edward Plesa; the colt will once again be ridden by his Inaugural Stakes jockey Paco Lopez in the Pasco Stakes.

Among the nine fillies scheduled to start in the $65,000 Gasparilla Stakes is Hooh Why, who was third here in Cotillion Festival Day’s Sandpiper Stakes in December. The Florida-bred daughter of Cloud Hopping is the high money earner of the Gasparilla field with an existing bankroll of $107,335 for owners Derby Daze Farm and Mark Hoffman and trainer Kathy Guciardo; the filly has finished second once and third twice in her three stakes attempts.

Rock Candy comes into the Gasparilla after a win in maiden special weight company over the Oldsmar oval going 6 ½ furlongs. The Mineshaft filly, who was bred in Kentucky by owners William S. Farish and Mrs. William S. Kilroy, has posted bullet works in two trips over the Tampa surface for conditioner Mike Zwiesler. Glacken Queen, a $140,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales graduate, broke her maiden at Churchill Downs this fall after two near misses at Saratoga and Belmont. The daughter of Smoke Glacken will have the services of current leading rider Daniel Centeno to make her first start off of a layoff for trainer Dale Romans and owners Blue Star Stable and Bryanne Moore.

Finish Lines… Fierce Wind, who captured last year’s rendition of the Sam F. Davis Stakes, returned to form today an after a 9 ½ month layoff in the featured overnight handicap. Under jockey Daniel Centeno, Fierce Wind rebuffed a challenge from second-place finisher Wayzata Bay mid-stretch to win the 1 1/16 miles main track event for owner Halsey Minor. Fierce Wind is trained by William Phipps, who is now three-for-three at the Tampa Bay Downs meet after conditioning Dream Rush to victories here in an allowance race as well as the Minaret Stakes.

Jockey Ron Allen, Jr. and trainer Jamie Ness teamed up to win two races today. The duo’s first victory came in the opening race when Allen booted home Madonna Blue for last year’s leading owner Balkrisna Sukharan. Madonna Blue is a three-year-old Snow Ridge filly who was bred in Florida by Padua Stables. Ness and Allen struck again with Touch Em All, this time for owner Caliber Racing Stable. Touch Em All is an eight-year-old son of Grand Slam who scored his 9th victory and 30th in-the-money finish from 59 lifetime starts.

Please note that there will be live racing at Tampa Bay Downs on Wednesday, January 21.