HorseracingFLA Staff Report
Speed Seeker, Jose Ferrer and Dennis Ward were among last weekend’s stars at Tampa Bay Downs.
This weekend, Speed Seeker will add Sundays to its schedule. It will have racing Wednesdays and on Fridays through Sundays.
Speed Seeker, a 4-year-old filly, won Saturday’s third and feature race, setting herself up for possible runs in the track’s 2016 distaff turf stakes.
The win, in a high-end allowance, was the first in ten starts this year for Speed Seeker. She had spent 2015 in what her trainer Joan Scott calls “some pretty deep company,” including stakes races at Tampa Bay Downs, Saratoga and Belmont Park.
Speed Seeker, a graded stakes winner in 2014 in Canada, won Saturday at one mile on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. It was a $62,500 allowance/optional claimer with a $25,000 purse.
Speed Seeker took an early lead and held on to beat Innovative Idea by a half length. Distorted Type finished third in the six-horse field.
Ronald Allen Jr. rode Speed Seeker, who won in 1:36.24 on the course listed as firm.
“I was really pleased with how she finished up today,” Scott said. “The fractions weren’t walking (24.52 seconds for the quarter-mile, 49.00 for the half), but they were nice, soft fractions for her.”
Scott complimented Allen, saying that he “rode confident. He didn’t send her out there, but he didn’t strangle her trying to get slower fractions. He just let her roll out there.”
The victory was the first for Speed Seeker since Dec. 20, 2014 at Tampa Bay when she led gate to wire and won a 1 1/16 mile turf allowance/optional claimer.
In 2014, Speed Seeker won the Ontario Colleen Stakes (Grade 3) at Woodbine in Etobicoke, Ont.
She finished third, at 60-1, in this year’s Hillsborough Stakes in March at Tampa Bay Downs. That race was won by Stephanie’s Kitten, later the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (Grade 1).
The Hillsborough, at 1 1/8 miles on turf, was Grade 3 this year. For next year, the American Graded Stake Committee has raised it to Grade 2.
Owned in partnership by Bob Johnson, Frank Coniglio, Frank Ferrogine, Richard Rendina and Sid Ritman, Speed Seeker is now 4-for-16 lifetime with career earnings of $215,188.
Scott said a return in the $200,000 Hillsborough on March 12 is a possibility for Speed Seeker. She did not rule out the $150,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes (Grade 3) which will be 1 1/16 miles on turf at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 13.
Jockey and Trainer Standings
Ferrer rode three winners on Saturday. That gave him seven for the meet and places him second behind two-time defending jockey champion Antonio Gallardo who has seven wins.
Ronald Allen Jr., Fernando De La Cruz and Ademar Santos are tied for third with five wins each.
Ferrer rode two of his winners for trainer Dennis Ward. Through Saturday, Ward has a meet-leading five wins. Dale Bennett is second with four.
— Photo on home page by Barry Unterbrink