OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 1, 2009) Tampa Bay Downs’s 7th annual Florida Cup Day, to be held April 4, 2009, has attracted entries from 61 top Florida-breds battling in six stakes races on the afternoon’s twelve race program. Florida Cup Day is comprised of six $85,000 stakes races restricted to Florida-breds, including the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore for three-year-olds running 7/8 of a mile over the main track; the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies for three-year-old females running seven furlongs on the dirt; the Dayton Andrews Dodge Sophomore Turf, an about 1 1/16 miles test over the lawn for three-year-olds; the Hilton Garden Inn Sprint for four-year-olds and upward racing six furlongs over the main track; the L & D Farm Turf Distaff for fillies and mares four years old and upward travelling about 1 1/16 miles on the turf; and the Kinsman Farm Turf Classic, an about 1 1/8 miles turf test for four-year-olds and upward.

The Kinsman Farm Turf Classic will showcase a field of eleven older horses; among them is Silver Tree, a nine-year-old Hennessy gelding who has won $1,763,009 in his career. Silver Tree is a turf specialist who has posted 14 wins, 10 seconds and 4 third-place finishes in his 42 starts over the lawn. He finished first and second in his two starts over the Oldsmar oval and most recently missed out on the Grade III Tropical Turf Handicap by only four lengths. Joining Silver Tree in the Kinsman is Fearless Eagle. The multiple stakes-winning five-year-old son of Invisible Ink was sixth by two lengths in his last start in the Tallahassee Stakes at Gulfstream and missed last year’s Turf Classic here by only 1 ½ lengths. Ruff and Ready also comes out of the Tallahassee field where he finished third; the More Than Ready horse has finished in the money in six of ten turf starts and looks to get his second stakes win for trainer Todd Pletcher and owners James T. Scatuorchio and Mark Hassenberg.

Headlining the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore is Bunker Hill, a three-year-old son of Trippi who enters the OBS Sophomore after missing the $75,000 Dover Stakes in his last start by only a nose last October. That was Bunker Hill’s only loss in a four race career for owner Flying Dutchman Stable and conditioner Derek Ryan. Bee Cee Cee has raced in exclusively in stakes company since breaking his maiden in April of 2008; the Songandaprayer colt has finished in the money in five of his career nine starts and counts a victory in the B L’s Sweep Stakes among his accomplishments. Anythingyouwant has been showing good form, winning in his last three starts in Starter Allowance company at Gulfstream Park. The Three Wonders colt has finished out of the money only once in his eight race career and has never lost at the seven furlong distance.

The L & D Farm Turf Distaff, a 1 1/16 miles test for fillies three years old running on the lawn, has attracted entries from 9 three-year-old fillies including Scolara, who two starts ago won the $75,000 Marion County Stakes at Gulfstream. The Quiet American filly has run exclusively in stakes company in her last six starts, finishing in the money four times for conditioner Bill Mott. Azura joins the list of nominees to the L & D Farm Turf Distaff having never finished worse than second in four starts at Tampa Bay Downs; the Came Home filly is under the care of trainer Gerald Bennett and won in her last attempt going one mile on the turf here. Allnightdance captured the Summer Final Handicap in September of last year at Mountaineer and has amassed lifetime earnings of $196,243 for owner Robert Slack and trainer Derek Ryan. She’s six-for-eight for in-the-money finishes at Tampa Bay Downs and has come in the top three finishers in twelve of her seventeen turf starts.

The Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies, a seven furlong main track event for fillies three years old, includes in its field Snow Lass, an undefeated daughter of Stormy Atlantic under the care of past leading Tampa trainer Lynne Scace. Joining her is Brinca, who in her last start was fourth in the Grade III Florida Oaks. The Mach Uno filly posted a bullet work on February 28, travelling five furlongs in 1:04.4. Golden Mystery comes into the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore after a near miss in the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sprint Stakes at the Ocala Training Center in February; prior top that, the Awesome Again filly carried the colors of owners Wayne Dacosta and Jose Pinchin to the Winner’s Circle in her first start at Gulfstream Park.

The Dayton Andrews Dodge Sophomore Turf has attracted 13 three-year-olds to contest the 1 1/16 miles turf test. Included in the entries is Adari, a Lightnin N Thunder gelding who has been competing in stakes company at Gulfstream Park in two of his last three starts, missing the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes by only ¾ of a length and the $150,000 Hallandale Beach Handicap by 4 ¼ lengths. Sweetlandofliberty is an 8 ½ furlong specialist, having finished in the money at the distance in three of his five attempts. The Anasheed colt is coming out of the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream and has hit the board in half of his 12 lifetime starts. Tamborim, a Belong To Me colt, won the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf two starts back and ran fifth by 4 ¼ lengths in the $125,000 Hallandale Beach Handicap in his last attempt. He’s won two of three starts at the 1 1/16 miles distance and has finished out of the money only once when racing on the lawn.

The Hilton Garden Inn Sprint field of 11 has attracted such top older sprinters as Repenting, who captured the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore Stakes on last year’s Florida Cup Day. The Repent gelding is under the care of Tampa’s leading trainer Jamie Ness and has won three of his five starts at the Oldsmar oval. Roman Candles was the victor in last year’s edition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sprint and has amassed $201,309 in his lifetime for owner C. Robert Valeri and trainer Kathleen O’Connell. Ruby’s Red Socks was second by a neck in this year’s Pelican Stakes on January 10 and has never finished worse than second in his three starts in 2009; the Reparations gelding has further finished in the money in twelve of twenty of his starts at the ¾ miles distance.

Finish Lines… Trainers Gerald Bennett and Kathleen O’Connell saddled two winners each on today’s eleven race card; Bennett got his first victory in the afternoon’s opener with Flyingpalm. The West Palm gelding is owned by Winning Stables, Inc and was ridden to victory by Federico Mata. Bennett got his second win with Ellie’s Buddah, this time for owner Raymond Rech with Tampa’s leading rider Daniel Centeno in the irons.

Kathleen O’Connell teamed up with jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr. for both of her wins today. The duo’s first win came with Fergie’s Folly, a six-year-old Down the Isle mare carrying the colors of Charles H. Deters. O’Connell and Homeister struck again with Elegant Kindness; the Out of Place filly was bred in Florida by Sandra McKinney and is owned by Richie Rich Racing Stable.

Brooks Star, a four-year-old Montbrook gelding bred in Florida by Vesgo Racing Stable, set a new track record by running 6 ½ panels over the main track in 1:16.09, besting the old track record of 1:16.20 set by Tytus in 2007. Brooks Star owned by Equiforce, Inc., is conditioned by Dale Bennett and was ridden to victory by Andrew Ramgeet.

Tampa Bay Downs will switch over to its new schedule in the second week of April; please note that the track will be closed on Sunday, April 12 in observance of Easter.