OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 6, 2009) Apprentice jockey Mike Straight got his first win from his first career ride today in the sixth race aboard Ready Ruler for trainer Michael Thomas and owner Leighton Evans. Straight, who is a graduate of Chris McCarron’s North American Racing Academy, is the twin brother of Maryland jockey Matthew Straight. Born and raised outside of Saratoga Springs, New York, Straight was exposed to horse racing at an early age and said that his parents encouraged his love of horses and riding since his childhood. “I’ve always been interested in riding; I’ve always gone to the races and I’ve always wanted to be a jockey. My parents were all for it - when I was about nine, they bought my brother and me an Equicizer to practice on. It’s taken years of dedication and practice and watching races to get here, and I really have to thank Chris McCarron and the school (the North American Racing Academy) and my parents and brother for helping me out.”

Mike Straight’s victory aboard Ready Ruler yielded a record Daily Double payout for Tampa Bay Downs. The selection of Proud Aly in the fifth race and Ready Ruler produced a Daily Double payout of $6,638.60 for a $2 wager, shattering the old record of $3,320 set on January 17, 1950.

Finish Lines… Holiday Inn Express Jockey of the Month Ronnie Allen, Jr. booted home four winners today, giving him 54 wins for the current meet. Allen took his first trip to the Winner’s Circle aboard Wild Adventure. The four-year-old Harlan’s Holiday filly is owned by Web’s Gems Stable and trained by leading conditioner Jamie Ness. Allen scored again with Truly Broadway; the Florida-bred daughter of Yes It’s True is owned by Winning Stables, Inc. and Ray Rech and is trained by Gerald Bennett. Allen teamed up with Jamie Ness again to take home his third victory with Tricks of Glory, this time for owner Midwest Thoroughbreds. Allen teamed up with connections Winning Stables, Inc., Ray Rech and trainer Gerald Bennett to get his fourth win on the program with Azura. The four-year-old Came Home filly was bred in Florida by Vesgo Racing Stable and has now finished in the money in five of her six lifetime starts.

Please note that Tampa Bay Downs will switch its dark days from Wednesdays to Thursdays mid-month beginning on March 19th; Mondays at the Oldsmar oval will also be open for only poker, golf and simulcast racing throughout the month.