By Monique Welch
Tampa Bay Downs is taking a break from its stakes schedule this Saturday, with a 10-race card and first post at 12:25 p.m.
The co-feature races are the fourth and sixth, which are both at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf course.
The first race will be on the dirt at 6 ½ furlongs for three-year-olds and up. There is a $17,200 purse and a claiming price of $12,500.
It will be a battle between father and son, as trainers Gerald and Dale Bennett both have entries in the six-horse race.
Gerald Bennett has Roundupthelute and Inaswagger. His son has Media Time.
Gerald Bennett led Tampa Bay Downs trainers in wins in 2015-2016. He is building a commanding lead this season with eleven wins in 22 starts. Chad Stewart and Kathleen Demasi are tied for second with three wins each.
Dale Bennett has two wins and one second place finish in three starts at the Oldsmar track.
They also will have a trainer match-up in today’s fifth race—Gerald with Gadsby Tavern and Dale with Tiz Samurai.
The fourth race, for males three-year-olds and upward, has an optional claiming price of $32,00 and a purse of $23,500.
Lewis Vale, the morning-line 2-1 favorite, stands a good shot if he holds his pace and remains strong until the end.
In his last five races, at tracks in Illinois, he took the early lead. He had one win, two second place and two fifth place finishes in races at levels similar to today’s race.
The 5-year-old gelding is trained by Larry Rivelli who has been the leading trainer several seasons at Arlington Park near Chicago. He will be ridden by Jesus L, Castanon.
Call Will, trained by Demasi, also has early speed and also will be among the favorites.
The field also has three horses that ran at Tampa Bay on Nov. 26 in the first leg of the annual four-race Tampa Turf Test series.
Lighthouse Sound finished sixth on Nov. 26. But he has three wins in six turf starts at Tampa Bay and the highest Brisnet prime power rating in the race. He will be ridden by Daniel Centeno, who leads Tampa Bay jockeys with nine wins, and is trained by Darien Rodriguez.
Tribal Message finished second and Cherokee Colours finished eighth in the Nov. 26 race.
The sixth race will be an allowance for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, with a purse of $22,500. Morning- line odds of 3-1 favor Conscription. Angel Cruz will ride her and she is trained by H. Graham Motion.
For this race, there a few other potential contenders such as Tyrannical who has been third or better in all four of her career starts and will be ridden by Centeno.
Two others to keep an eye on are Sumfloridasunfun and Yahtzee Queen. Sumfloridasunfun has been strong lately with two wins, one second, and one third place finish in her last five starts.
Yahtzee Queen has shown mild improvement, as well. Ranked first in the prime power, she generally races from back in the pack and has a win and a second place finish in four career starts.
The next Tampa Bay Downs stakes will be the $100,000 Lightning City on Dec. 17. It will be five furlongs on turf for fillies and mares three-years-old and up.
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