Tampa Bay: Turf Allowance Tops Saturday Card; Felt in Pocket Impresses in Friday Feature

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

Tampa Bay Downs has an 11-race program today, with first post card at 12:25 p.m.

The feature race is the fifth, a conditional allowance/ optional claimer with a $32,000 claiming price and a $24,000 purse. It is one mile on turf for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up.

We will be on site and will have coverage on our blog.

Trainers Michele Boyce and Robert Raymond each have two horses entered in the race.  All are running as separate betting interests, and none are in for a tag.

Boyce spends the May-November period training mostly in Illinois.

Her two entrants in Saturday’s feature are both 6-year-olds bred in Illinois.

They are Showersofblessings, to be ridden by Fernando De La Cruz, and Jennifer J., with Willie Martinez on board.

Both have been consistent money winners.  They have a combined 22 first or second-place finishes from 42 starts. But winning has proven a challenge. Showersofblessings is 3-for-25, with two victories last season at Tampa Bay Downs, and Jennifer J. is 2-for-17.

Raymond, who trains most of the year in Canada, has a pair of 4-year-old Ontario-bred fillies in Saturday’s feature.

Wanna Win, will be ridden by Geovany Garcia, and Reserved, will be ridden by Gary Boulanger.

Felt in Pocket Scores

Owner-trainer Eoin Harty had considered running Felt in Pocket in last Saturday’s $200,000 Florida Oaks (Grade 3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

But when the 1 1/16 mile turf stakes attracted a full field of 3-year-old fillies, Harty decided to seek another race based on Felt in Pocket’s relatively low career earnings.

He found it in Friday’s eighth race at Tampa Bay Downs–a conditional allowance/$75,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on turf with a $23,000 purse.

Felt in Pocket, not in for the tag, won it in 1:42.07. That was faster than the 1:42.20 time posted by Florida Oaks winner Baciami Piccola.

Felt in Pocket rallied for a two-and-a-half length margin over the Bill Mott-trained Insta Erma. Hitting Spree finished third in the 10-horse field.

Daniel Centeno rode Felt in Pocket, who paid $6.60 to win as the betting favorite. She is now 2-for-6 with a second and a third. Friday’s winning purse share raised her career earnings to $31,200.

Jockey Daniel Centano

Jockey Daniel Centano

“I’m not saying she would have won the (Florida Oaks), but I feel she would have given a good account of herself,” Harty said via telephone from California.

In her previous on Feb. 17 at a mile on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs, Felt in Pocket finished second to Florida Oaks runner-up Enjoy Yourself.

Felt in Pocket is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Hat Trick. Her dam Yes Honey is a daughter of Royal Academy.

“The farther she goes, the better,” Harty said.  “She is just getting warmed up at a mile-and-an-eighth. Being out of a Royal Academy mare, she is bred to run a mile-and-a-half.”

Harty purchased Felt in Pocket at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $20,000. The filly was bred in Kentucky by Jim Squires in partnership with H. Smoot Fahlgren.

Squires was the breeder of Monarchos, the winner of the Florida Derby (Grade 1) and Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) in 2001.

“When you get to the Keeneland September sale, everybody wants the hot horse, but when you don’t have the biggest budget you have to go for the athlete,” Harty said. “She doesn’t have the most fashionable pedigree, but Hat Trick is a son of Sunday Silence, which not only was a tremendous racehorse but one of the greatest sires we’ve seen.”

Jockey Notes

Centeno also rode the winner of Friday’s sixth race,  scoring with 3-year-old filly Sleeting in a one-mile turf race.

Sleeting, a first-time starter, won in 1:36.29. Sleeting is owned by Audley Farm Stable and trained by Arnaud Delacour, who has sent out seven winners from 17 first-time starters at the meeting.

Scott Spieth is named on five horses Saturday as he continues his quest for career victory No. 4,500. Currently two wins shy, Spieth finished second on three horses from four starters on Friday.

His mounts today are in the first, fourth, sixth, ninth and tenth races.

* Photo on home page by Barry Unterbrink

  • Photo of Daniel Centeno by Steven Buckner