by Barry Unterbrink
The gelding All Call and the mare Daddy’s Boo, both trained by Larry Rivelli, are the likely favorites on Saturday in the Tampa Turf Test races at Tampa Bay Downs.
The races are at 1 3/8 miles with $26,000 purses and are restricted to horses that have raced at least once for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2015 or 2016. They are the fourth and final legs of the annual Turf Test series.
First post is 12:40 p.m. for the 11-race program.
We will have on-site coverage on our blog. The Turf Test race for males is the seventh, with scheduled post of 3:44 p.m. All Call, High Side and Ringold are top contenders among the nine entrants.
The Turf Test distaff race is the ninth at 4:44 p.m. EST. Daddy’s Boo comes in with a three-race win streak. Miss Giacamo and Babe’s Ruler loom as top challengers.
The 1-3/8 mile distances could prove challenging for some entrants, as not many horses are suited to the four distances that were run. The series started at one-mile on opening day Nov. 28 and have progressed through 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles.
All Call Faces High Side
Saturday’s race will be a rematch for High Side and All Call from the 1 1/8 mile Turf Test race on Jan. 30. High Side finished second by a neck over All Call, who was gaining ground at the end.
All Call has two wins in his last three races, all on turf. Rivelli is sending Daniel Centeno out on All Call, a 5-year-old, for the first time. Julien Leparoux rode All Call on the Feb. 15 President’s Day card at Gulfstream Park, winning the one mile $50,000 Little Magician Stakes.
High Side enters the race after seven Tampa Bay starts under jockey Ademar Santos, with one win and four second place finishes – all on the turf.
Caleb’s Comet bears consideration also, after his latest two wins on the Tampa dirt under jockey Ronald Dale Allen, Jr. Dean Butler has the mount for this race. Allen will ride All For Us for trainer Tom Proctor.
Can Caleb’s Comet adjust to the turf and make some noise? He has just one win in 13 career starts on turf. All For Us has logged three wins in eight turf starts.
We think a sleeper in this race, and a wildcard for a cover bet, is Barat at 20-1 in the morning line. He could try to take the lead and steal the race. Questions will be how well the 8-year-old gelding adjusts to turf, tougher competition and larger fields. Barat has raced just once on turf at Tampa, finishing eighth this past Feb. 13 in a one mile $16,000 claiming race.
Last year, he raced three times at 1 3/16 miles or longer in dirt races at Mountaineer Park in Chester, W.Va. He used a front running style for two wins and a second place finish. In those races, the largest field size was six and the largest purse was $14,000. Barat is trained by Randy Klopp and will be ridden by his regular jockey Thomas Pompell.
Ringold was claimed from Rivelli last month and is making a first start under trainer Jamie Ness. Top Tampa meet jockey Antonio Gallardo has the mount.
Daddy’s Boo On a Roll
The morning line favorites for the distaff race are Daddy’s Boo at 2-1 and Babe’s Ruler at 3-1. Daddy’s Boo is Rivelli-trained and has notched a three-peat of wins on turf at Tampa and Gulfstream. With Centeno on board, this team could score big with a sweep in both races (with a win by All Call in the 7th).
Babe’s Ruler, in the one post, is Ness- trained and comes off today with three wins in her last four starts. That includes a win on Jan. 31 at 1 1/8 miles in a Turf Test race that was shifted to dirt because of wet conditions.
Brian Pedroza has the mount and could make a charge for a trio duel with Daddy’s Boo and Miss Giacomo. The 7 post, Miss Giacomo, is a Ness trainee that could be in-the-money with her nice showings recently under Gallardo’s saddle. She won and placed this year in two Tampa turf outings in large fields of 12 and 10 respectively. Her impressive stats (6 wins on 17 turf starts) shows she’s ready.
Brewmistress, at 10:1, logged two turf wins in as many starts at Tampa this year, both in 10 horse fields. Manoel Cruz rides her for trainer Karen Yanez. She may be a longshot here, but we like the outside post position, and the 1-3/8 mile course can cover some early mis-steps for all runners today.