HorseracingFLA Staff Report
Tampa Bay Downs will resume racing on Wednesday with a ten-race card and first post of 12:40 p.m.
The feature fourth race is a $62,500 allowance optional claimer for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The purse is $25,500, with a six-horse field.
The 9-5 morning-line favorite is Triple K Stables and Jagger, Inc.’s 6-year-old gelding Ghost Hunter, who is 4-for-8 lifetime at Tampa Bay Downs. Antonio Gallardo will ride for trainer Jamie Ness, the owner of Jagger Inc.
Per its usual schedule, Tampa Bay will be dark on Thursday. It will have racing on Friday through Sunday. First post is 12:40 p.m. unless otherwise specified.
Saturday will be the 14th annual Florida Cup day with six stakes, all restricted to Florida-breds.
Entries will be out late Wednesday. We will have previews, followed by on-site coverage on Saturday.
With five weeks remaining in the 2015-2016 Tampa Bay Downs meeting, plus the June 30 card first day of the Summer Festival of Racing, the competition for the leading owner title is up for grabs.
The team of Billy, Donna and Justin Hays (husband-wife and son) is tied for the top spot with Jagger, Inc., with 12 victories apiece. Midwest Thoroughbreds is next with 10 victories, followed by owner-trainer Jason DaCosta with nine and Savoy Stable with eight.
Jagger, Inc., is the stable name of Ness, who is likely to be dethroned for leading trainer after an unprecedented nine-year stay on top. Ness has sent out 34 winners as trainer this season, 14 behind Gerald Bennett.
Midwest Thoroughbreds, which has won six consecutive Tampa Bay Downs owner titles (tying last season with Amaty Racing Stables, each with 23), is owned by Rich and Karen Papiese. Ness previously trained for Midwest, which has dispersed its horses to various other tracks and trainers.
Last season’s owner race was not decided until June 30, when Amaty’s Bennie Y Benny reached the winner’s circle to forge the tie at the top.
Both the leading jockey and leading apprentice jockey titles are virtually locked up.
Gallardo has ridden 112 winners in his bid for a third consecutive crown. Daniel Centeno is second with 76 wins. Centeno has won five Tampa Bay riding titles.
Chad Lindsay is a virtual lock for leading apprentice jockey honors. He rode 11 winners before departing several weeks ago for Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. No other apprentice has more than one victory at Tampa Bay.
— Photos by Barry Unterbrink