By Mike Henry —-
OLDSMAR, FL. – Outstanding sprinters of both sexes highlight Saturday’s Thoroughbred action, with the $100,000 Pelican Stakes for males and the $50,000 Minaret Stakes for fillies and mares, both at a distance of 6 furlongs, on tap. The 11-race card begins at 12:44 p.m.
The 34th edition of the Pelican has attracted a field of nine, headed by 6-year-old Florida-bred gelding X Y Jet. In his most recent start on Jan. 20, the Jorge Navarro-trained speedster won the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream by five-and-a-half lengths. In December, X Y Jet won the Grade III Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream in gate-to-wire fashion, getting the 6-furlong distance in 1:09.45.
X Y Jet, who will be ridden by his regular pilot, Emisael Jaramillo, is 8-for-19 in his career with earnings of $920,813.
Likely top challengers include Recruiting Ready, a multiple stakes-winning 4-year-old from the barn of Horacio DePaz; 6-year-old gelding First Growth, trained by Odin Londono, Jr.; and 5-year-old gelding Jaguar Poz, second in the Turf Dash here on Dec. 30, trained by Ron G. Potts.
The Pelican will be contested as the eighth race.
The Minaret, which is the 10th race, has drawn a field of 11 fillies and mares. Heading the lineup is 4-year-old Florida-bred R Angel Katelyn, who won three stakes at Tampa Bay Downs last season: the Sandpiper, the Gasparilla and the Florida Cup Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies.
Antonio Gallardo is slated to ride R Angel Katelyn for trainer Gerald Bennett.
Expected challengers include 4-year-old Florida-bred Stormy Embrace, from the barn of leading Oldsmar trainer Kathleen O’Connell; Just Be Kind, a 4-year-old owned and trained by Reade Baker; and sprint specialist Grand Prix, conditioned by Keith Nations.
Around the oval. Pablo Morales rode three winners today. He won the third race on the turf on Outrank, a 3-year-old filly owned by Casner Racing and Eoin Harty and trained by Harty. Morales added the eighth race aboard first-time starter Final Form, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Bernard Schaeffer and trained by William Connelly. Final Form paid $43 to win.
Morales completed his three-bagger in the ninth race on the turf, scoring on Fast Flying Fred, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Krown Racing Stable and trained by James Tsirigotis, Jr.
Samy Camacho rode two winners. He captured the fourth race aboard Warranted, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Mighty White Stallion and trained by Alfredo Ronso.
Camacho added the fifth race on Pink Mama, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare owned by Juan Cacho Castro and trained by Gerald Bennett. Pink Mama improved to 12-for-24 for her career.
Leading Tampa Bay Downs trainer Kathleen O’Connell had two winners. She won the sixth race with Lawless Lady, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Double T Racing and Keith Philip O’Neill and ridden by Jesus Castanon. O’Connell won the seventh race on the turf with Game Lad, a 5-year-old Florida-bred horse she owns in partnership with Dennis Holman. Antonio Gallardo was the rider.
Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs continues Thursday with an eight-race card beginning at 12:44 p.m. The feature is the seventh race, a $27,500 allowance/optional claiming event for 3-year-olds at a distance of a mile-and-40-yards.
Top contenders in the eight-horse field include Magnum Moon, a Todd Pletcher-trained colt who broke his maiden in his career debut on Jan. 13 at Gulfstream, and Vouch, trainer Arnaud Delacour’s charge who finished third in the Grade II Remsen Stakes on Dec. 2 at Aqueduct.
Luis Saez, who rode seven winners on a single card at Gulfstream last month, is scheduled to be in town to ride Magnum Moon. Pablo Morales has the riding assignment on Vouch.
Pletcher will also send out Hyndford in the race and Delacour will saddle Talon.
Tampa Bay Downs will race Wednesday through Sunday each of the next two weeks, then return to its Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule beginning Feb. 28. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.
“Hearts Reaching Out” golf event, dinner and auction is March 5. Long-time racing fans and newcomers to the sport have an opportunity to get up close and personal with jockeys, trainers and track officials by participating in the 26th annual “Hearts Reaching Out” golf tournament and fundraiser hosted by the Race Track Chaplaincy of America-Tampa Bay Downs Division.
The event will be held on Monday, March 5. The golf tournament, which utilizes a four-person scramble format, will be played at East Lake Woodlands Country Club in Oldsmar beginning at 11 a.m. A dinner and charity auction, along with an awards ceremony, begins at 5:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Tampa Bay Downs grandstand.
Among its many objectives, the RTCA-Tampa Bay Downs Division strives to improve the lives of backstretch workers – often described as horse racing’s “unsung heroes and heroines” – and their families.
Under the leadership of the Chaplain, Donny Christopher, and Chaplaincy President Sharyn Wasiluk, the Tampa Bay Downs Division of the RTCA holds weekly church services, conducts English classes two days a week, and sponsors a Catholic Charities Medical Trailer on Wednesday.
Plans are in the works for a fishing trip, an Easter party and volleyball, soccer and softball outings.
The cost to play golf and enjoy an excellent meal is $100, with proceeds going to the Chaplaincy. The fee for the dinner and auction only is $20. Individuals are also encouraged to donate horse racing and other sports memorabilia, gift certificates and the like for the auction, and/or to sponsor a hole in the tournament for $125, which entitles you to signage with your company’s name and logo.
For details, call (813) 494-1870 or (813) 854-1313.