HorseracingFLA Staff Report
Tampa Bay Downs will resume racing on Wednesday with a ten-race card and first post of 12:25 p.m.
The featured third race is one mile on turf for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up. It is a $62,500 optional claimer with a $25,000 purse.
Greywalls is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the six-horse field.
She is coming off a win at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Tampa Bay in a $32,000 optional claimer on Feb. 27. Antonio Gallardo, who leads Tampa Bay jockeys in wins, has the return ride for trainer John Terranova.
Greywalls showed early speed in that race. She also has demonstrated an ability to rate off the pace, mostly in stakes and high-end allowances at major tracks in New York State.
Innovative Idea, 3-1 in the morning line, also has shown versatility in running style. In her only Tampa turf start, she finished second at 1 1/16 miles in a $62,500 optional claimer. Fernando De La Cruz will ride for trainer Eoin Harty.
Lavallee Twist can be expected to seek the lead. She was three wins in eight Tampa Bay turf starts, mostly in high-end optional claimers.
She is the only horse in for a tag in Wednesday’s race. Willie Martinez has the mount for trainer Kathleen Guciardo.
No Fault of Mine, making her turf debut, will be coming from off the pace. She has three wins and three second place finishes in seven career starts, mostly in stakes and high-end allowances. Ronald Allen Jr. will ride for trainer Chris Block.
Rounding out the tightly matched field are Maryanna Star and Factory of Faith, both with a win on the Tampa Bay turf.
Tampa Bay will be dark on Thursday and then have its regular Friday to Sunday live racing schedule.
Florida Cup Stakes Nominees
Nominations closed on Saturday for the six stakes that Tampa Bay Downs will hold on Saturday 9, its 14th annual Florida Cup Day.
All of those stakes have $75,000 purses and are six restricted to Florida-breds.
The races are;
* Sprint — 6 furlongs dirt, 4-YO and up
* Sophomore –7 furlongs dirt, 3-YO *Tampa Turf Classic — 1 1/8 miles, 4-YO and up
*Distaff Turf –1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares 3-YO and up
*Sophomore — 7 furlongs dirt, 3-YO
*Sophomore Fillies — 7 furlongs dirt, fillies 3-YO
*Sophomore Turf – 1 1/16 miles, 3-YO
Leading Tampa Bay Downs trainer Gerald Bennett has nominated 10 horses to the Florida Cup races
Perhaps foremost among Bennett’s nominees is 4-year-old gelding Fast Flying Rumor, a top candidate for the Sprint.
Fast Flying Rumor established a Tampa Bay Downs record (dirt or turf) by earning a 108 Beyer Speed Figure in his victory in the five-furlong Turf Dash Stakes on Jan. 9. He followed that by winning a starter/optional claiming race on the Tampa Bay Downs dirt on Feb. 5 in an excellent six-furlong time of 1:09.83.
Bennett has also nominated last year’s Sprint winner, 5-year-old Lake Drive South to that race. Kathleen O’Connell trained Lake Drive South when he won that race last year.
Bennett leads Tampa Bay trainers with 46 wins going into Wednesday’s card.
Another intriguing Sprint nominee is 4-year-old colt Catalina Red, trained by Chad Stewart. Catalina Red holds the Tampa Bay Downs track record of 1:21.40 for seven furlongs, set as a 2-year-old last season in the Pasco Stakes.
O’Connell has nominated eight horses to Florida Cup Day, with 3-year-old filly Crystal’s Cantata nominated to the Sophomore Fillies and the Sophomore Turf, where she would face males. O’Connell’s trainer Hey Girl Hay also is nominated to both races.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has been a staunch supporter of the Florida Cup, and this year appears no exception.
His nominees include 4-year-old filly Quality Rocks for the Distaff Turf. Quality Rocks won the 2015 Grade III Florida Oaks (Grade 3) at Tampa Bay.
Old Time Hockey, Glen Hill Farm’s Grade 2-winning 7-year-old gelding, has been nominated to the Tampa Turf Classic by trainer Tom Proctor.
Old Time Hockey would be seeking a third consecutive victory in the event. He could face Allie’s Event, breeder-owner-trainer Lori Smock’s popular 10-year-old gelding which is riding a three-race winning streak.
Glen Hill and Proctor have also nominated this year’s Florida Oaks third-place finisher, Family Meeting, to the Sophomore Turf and a possible meeting against males.
Lambholm Stable and trainer Roy Lerman may try to repeat in the Distaff Turf with 5-year-old mare Evidently.
==Photos by Barry Unterbrink