OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 18, 2009) Derek Ryan was born on September 22, 1966 in Tipperary, Ireland and got interested in horse s. “I began riding ponies as a little kid, and things just progressed from there.” Ryan moved to the United States in 20 years ago this month and began training on his own in 1996; he has since enjoyed success in Florida, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 2002, he scored his first big stakes win when Emergency Status took the Grade III Jersey Derby in front running fashion at odds of 55-1. Ryan says that he enjoys spending his winters at the Oldsmar oval because, “The track’s very good, especially the turf course. It’s great getting to the beaches and the weather is wonderful. ”
Ryan took home one of the biggest wins of his career here at Tampa Bat Downs on Festival Day, March 14 when his trainee Musket Man captured the 29th edition of the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The three-year-old Sky Mesa colt won the 1 1/16 miles race after winning the $75,000 Pasco Stakes here in January and running third in the Grade III $225,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes held on February 14’s Festival Preview Day.
Derek Ryan said of Musket Man’s future, “We’ll take him back to the barn and see how he comes out. He’s nominated for the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, but the owners are all form New York, so we might have to look at the Wood Memorial, too. We just have to see how he comes out of it and go from there. His Tampa Bay Derby jockey Daniel Centeno had been working him in the mornings, and he never worked as well for anyone else. The last two times, when Daniel pulled up he told me, ‘This horse works like a freak for me.’ Usually when he works when he hits the eighth pole he waits; I told Daniel that he had to get into him to teach him that he has to go on.”
Racing resumes Friday, March 20 with an eleven race card; there is a Pick 6 carryover of $3,433.56. The Silks Poker Room is open daily 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.