OLDSMAR, Fla. (January 3, 2009) The 28th renewal of the $65,000 Minaret Stakes was captured today by Dream Rush, a five-year-old daughter of Wild Rush who ran the six furlongs over the main track in 1:10.73 before a crowd of 4,245 fans. Dream Rush is under the care of trainer William Phipps, is owned by Minor Stables and was bred in Kentucky by James H. Petrey. Jockey Daniel Centeno had the return call to ride Dream Rush, giving the mare her eighth lifetime victory from fifteen starts. Dream Rush has won such noted stakes as the Grade I Test Stakes at Saratoga and the Grade I Prioress Stakes at Belmont Park, and has now earned more that $750,000.

Dream Rush came out of the gate alertly, stalked the pace set by Salty Wave, and held off Rising Fever (BRZ) to win by a neck. Star Operator completed the trifecta, which paid $47.60 for a $2 wager.

Trainer William Phipps said of his charge’s win in the Minaret Stakes, “Well, you never know until you get over here, that’s for sure, but she’s been training really well at Payson Park. I think Payson Park, of any training track around here, is the most similar to the Tampa Bay Downs surface, and she was training well on it.” When asked if her victory in an allowance race on Opening Day at Tampa Bay Downs helped convince Phipps to run Dream Rush in the Minaret, he replied, “Absolutely. She’s coming back and we’re just trying to build some confidence and find some good spots for her. I think that this was really great for her mentally, and it gets her to the place I want her to be physically.”

Susan Minor, mother of Dream Rush’s owner Halsey Minor, was on hand to watch her son’s mare win the Minaret. She said of the victory, “I was here last month for the Opening Day allowance race, and that was her comeback race. I felt pretty good about that win, but you never know how the next race will go. This gave her one more race that she really needed; now we’ll talk about it and see how it goes day-to-day. I feel good about her.”

Reinsman Daniel Centeno added, “This is a special horse. She broke real well and wanted to get into it, but I just tugged on her and she settled and waited for me. When I asked her in the turn, she went by the leaders in a couple of jumps. We were just cruising in the stretch but I heard the crowd getting into it and I looked over and was surprised to see them running at us late. I was happy that the wire was right there.”

Finish Lines… The Lambholm South Race of the Week was won by Rocklane; the four-year-old son of Littleexpectations was guided to his fourth lifetime victory by jockey Dean Butler, who overcame a spill in the race prior to boot Rockland home in first place. Rockland was saddled by conditioner Michael Passer for owner G. Ray Trisler to pay $71.00 for a $2 win wager.

The trio of owner Richard Averill, trainer Kirk Ziadie and rider Rosemary Homeister, Jr. won two races on today’s eleven race program. The team took home their first victory in the opener with Expect Validity, a six-year-old Florida-bred Valid Expectations gelding. The last race of the day gave Homeister, Ziadie and Averill their other win with Shea Stadium, a three-year-old Dehere filly bred in Florida by Joseph H. Pierce, Jr. Rosemary Homeister, Jr. took home a third win with D Day, this time for owner/trainer Samuel Cronk.

Racing resumes tomorrow, January 4 with a ten race card; the Pick 6 carryover is $4,705.90. 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.