HorseracingFLA Staff Report
Here’s the handicapping challenge for this afternoon’s $100,000 Turf Dash at Tampa Bay Downs.
Do you go with Power Alert, making his Tampa Bay Downs debut after a stellar 2015 season that was highlighted by a win in a Grade 3 turf sprint stakes at Churchill Downs?
Or do you take one of the horses for which you can make a strong “horse for the course” case in the Turf Dash, at five furlongs for 4-year-olds and up.
They are Fast Flying Rumor, Ancil and the mare Richies Sweetheart. All three have won a major five-furlong turf race at Tampa Bay Downs.
Those horses are among the ten entrants for the Turf Dash. It is the third race with scheduled post of 1:37 p.m. First post is 1:28 p.m. for the ten-race card.
Power Alert’s Record
The Australian-bred Power Alert, a 6-year-old gelding, has excelled since winning his first U.S. start on Dec. 21, 2014 at Gulfstream Park.
Power Alert, by the Argentine sire Alert and out of Australian mare Gold Locket, has won three times in six starts in the United States. That includes a victory in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (Grade 3) at Churchill Downs on May 1 on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.
His only losses last year were a trio of fourth place finishes in Grade 3 turf sprints at Keeneland, Belmont Park and Parx Racing.
Owned and trained by Brian Lynch, Power Alert will be ridden by Tampa Bay Downs’ leading jockey Antonio Gallardo while breaking from the number two post.
Richies Sweetheart, a 5-year-old mare, won the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes on the Tampa Bay Downs turf on Dec. 19 at five furlongs on turf. She won in 56.18 seconds. That race was restricted to fillies and mares.
Trained by co-owner Larry Rivelli, the Illinois-bred will be ridden by Dean Butler while breaking from the number six post position.
Ancil, the 2014 Turf Dash winner in then-course record time of 54.88 seconds, will break from the number one post under jockey Manoel Cruz.
Trained by Joan Scott for owners Scott Farmer and Kathy Thompson, the 7-year-old gelding finished second in the My Frenchman Stakes at Laurel in Laurel, Md., last August. He was winless in five starts last year.
The Florida-bred 4-year-old gelding Fast Flying Rumor appears to be approaching the Turf Dash in excellent form after winning the Turf Dash Preview in 55.72 on Dec. 11.
The Gerald Bennett trainee won the Select Stakes on the turf against fellow 3-year-olds last June at Monmouth Park in Oceanport N.J.
Fast Flying Rumor will break from the number three post under jockey Ronnie Allen Jr.
The 8-year-old gelding Night Officer will break from the number nine post under jockey Daniel Centeno. Thomas Albertrani is the trainer.
Centeno has won five of the 11 previous editions of the Turf Dash. His first two victories came in 2007 and 2009 aboard Lookinforthesecret, trained by Jamie Ness. The duo of Centeno and Ness teamed to win the 2009 edition with Castles in the Sky.
Centeno appeared to have mastered the Turf Dash the last two seasons, riding back-to-back winners in course-record times.
Bold Thunder won the 2015 Turf Dash in 54.63, which remains the course record. He is not in today’s race.
Two other good prospects to at least hit the trifecta in the Turf Dash are Beantown Saint and Successful Native.
Normandy Crossing, Gallery and Hashtag Giddy Up round out the field.