Finish Lines… Daniel Centeno, who has led the riders’ standings here for the past two seasons, scored three victories on today’s 11 race card. The reinsman first found victory aboard Faraway Kingdom, a three-year-old Indy King filly under the care of trainer Rick Slomkowski for owner Frank Calabrese. Centeno’s next trip to the Winner’s Circle came aboard Dynaquake, this time for owner John Carlesimo and conditioner Gerald Bennett. No Inflation, a three-year-old homebred from Glen Hill Farm, gave Centeno his third win. Trainer Tom Proctor saddled the gelding to his second lifetime win in four starts.
Conditioner Charles Fontana saddled two winners today; the veteran conditioner took his first trip to the Winner’s Circle with his gelding Tigerglider. Apprentice jockey Michele Dehn, who will be tomorrow’s Morning Glory guest, had the call to ride the three-year-old Florida-bred son of Honor Glide. Fontana also took home a win with African Angel, this time with jockey Mike Allen in the irons. African Angel is a three-year-old gelded son of Cape Town owned by Marilyn Kaufman.
The Tampa Bay Downs trainers’ standings are neck and neck through the first 47 days of the Oldsmar oval’s 83rd season of racing, with past leading trainer Jamie Ness one victory in front of conditioner Kirk Ziadie with 30 trips to the winners’ circle. Greg Griffith is currently the third leading trainer with 17 victories to his credit; Dale Bennett has 13 wins for fourth while his father Gerald Bennett has had 12 trips to the Winner’s Circle.
Daniel Centeno, who has led the jockey standings here for the past two years, has taken a commanding early lead in the riders’ ranks with 66 wins to his credit. Rosemary Homeister, Jr. has reined in 46 victories thus far, while Ronald Allen, Jr. has 41. Carlos Montalvo has booted 33 of his mounts home first, and Luis Antonio Gonzalez rounds out the top five jockeys with 25 victories through Thursday.
Tampa Bay Downs has reached the halfway point of its 94 days of racing in the 2008-2009 season, and the Oldsmar oval has posted increases in the live export out-of-state handle as well as the total all-sources handle through Thursday, February 19.
Peter Berube, Vice President and General Manager of Tampa Bay Downs, said of the first half of the meet, “While the current economic situation and the colder than usual temperatures have certainly affected our on-track handle and attendance, the implementation of Advanced Deposit Wagering prior to the start of the current racing season has been paramount in increasing the co-mingled all-source handle at Tampa Bay Downs. I’m confident that as we move into the warmer months, attendance will pick up and that we will continue to see support from fans across the country.”
Racing resumes tomorrow, February 21 with an eleven race card; the Pick 6 carryover is $2,495.40, and the High 5 carryover is $2,873.33. 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.