HorseracingFLA Staff Report
Tampa Bay Downs has 121 entrants, including also eligibles, for the ten-race opening day card it will have this Saturday.
First post time is 12:22 p.m. at the track in Oldsmar.
Three of the opening day’s races are scheduled for turf. There are no stakes races on the card.
The ninth and featured race, at five furlongs on turf, is a $100,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
The race has a $28,000 purse, with scheduled post of 4:24 p.m. Eight of the 11 entrants (maximum of 10 can start) have run in stakes races this year.
Tampa Bay Downs is calling the race the Lightning City Prep. Track officials expect that many of the horses also will run in the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes, also five furlongs on turf, on Dec. 19.
Large Fields, Again
Last year, Tampa Bay Downs also had large fields on opening day–also the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Three were ten races with 101 starters. The number of entrants was not readily available.
The majority of Saturday’s entrants are from the barns of trainers who have shipped down from northeastern and midwestern states–and obviously are ready to run their horses.
Most of the races also have horses that have been racing at the Gulfstream Park West meet, being held at Calder in Miami Gardens, Fla.
“We are delighted by the response from our returning horsemen and newcomers to Saturday’s program,” said Peter Berube, Tampa Bay Downs vice president-general manager. “The weather forecast is ideal, the main track and turf course are in pristine condition.”
He added: “As always, our primary focus is on the horses, and we believe the quality of racing keeps rising from year-to-year.”
The field for the Lightning City Prep includes the 1-2 finishers in last season’s Lightning City Stakes–4-year-old filly Double Secret and 5-year-old mare You Bought Her. Both are Florida-breds.
Double Secret, who won the Lightning City Stakes last January at odds of 30-1, is owned and trained by Adolfo J. Exposito and will be ridden Saturday by Erick Rodriguez. You Bought Her, who was 37-1 that day while runner-up, is owned by Richard Perkins and Hinsley Racing Stable and trained by David Hinsley and will be ridden by Brian Pedroza.
You Bought Her followed her second-place Lightning City effort with a victory here in the Minaret Stakes on the main track in February and also finished second in the Grade II Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream in March.
Tampa Bay Downs will be closed on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, and re-open Friday for simulcast wagering and no-limits poker.