By Monique Welch
Everything Lovely took the early lead and coasted to a 4 1/4 length victory over Giddy Up in Saturday’s feature race on opening day at Tampa Bay Downs. A crowd of 4,010 witnessed the 5-furlong turf race on an unusually cloudy day in Oldsmar at about 76 degrees.
The 7-5 favorite Everything Lovely won with a time of 55.87 seconds, really setting the pace early off the rail and leaving no chance for Giddy Up to catch up. Come to Mischief finished third, 3/4 lengths ahead of Laur Net who finished in fourth place. The 4-year old filly Everything Lovely is trained by Kathleen DeMasi, and jockey Jose Ferrer rode her in this Lightning City Prep race. The purse was $27,500.
Everything Lovely has now won five of 17 races. She also has five seconds and three third place finishes, and this was her first stakes win.
Winning this race was not only special for the horse but also for DeMasi. It proved she is in the right direction in pointing Everything Lovely toward the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes on Dec. 17. That race also is five furlongs on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
This is DeMasi’s second horse to win the Lightning City Prep. Last year Joya Real won, but finished fourth in the Lightning City Stakes.
The two Tampa Turf Test races were among other highlights that caught everyone’s attention on Opening Day, especially the 6th race for the males with the biggest upset of the day.
Big Daddy B surprised just about everyone in the one mile turf race with a winning time of 1:36.08, just 1 1/2 lengths ahead of the runner up Tribal Message.
The 5-year Big Daddy B was ridden by Eddie Dominguez for trainer Pedro J. Sobarzo.
The Tampa Turf test race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, the eighth race, went to the 5-2 favorite Dreamofjean E. with a winning time of 1:36.49.
Dreamofjean E. kicked clear and held her pace winning by 3 lengths over Sequiota. Sweet Story finished third two lengths behind Sequiota.
The Tampa Turf Test has a four-race series for males and a four-race series for fillies and mares. The next races will be on Jan. 7, both at one mile.
*All-sources handle $3,578,062 for Saturday’s 11-race card That included $303,994 in live handle.
Last year’s all-sources opening day handle was $3,663,382 for ten races. Live handle was $350,174, and attendance was 4,194.
Last year’s opening day was Saturday Nov. 28, with weather and a race card similar to this past Saturday.
Tampa Bay Downs will resume thoroughbred racing on Wednesday with nine races and first post of 12:30 p.m.
It will have racing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout December, with the exception of Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.
The meet’s first stakes races will be Saturday Dec. 3, with a pair of $100,000 six-furlong dirt races for 2-year olds. The Inaugural is for males, and the Sandpiper is for fillies.