Florida Weekend Racing Preview
Here are the schedules for Florida’s two thoroughbred tracks.
We will have coverage each afternoon on our blog.
On Friday, there is a ten-race card with first post of 12:35 p.m.
The co-features are the fifth and seventh races. Both are allowance/optional claimers with $37,000 purses.
The seventh race is six furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares three-years-old and up, and has a $12,500 claiming price.
The ninth race is one mile on turf for Florida-breds three-years-old and up and has a $16,000 claiming price.
On Saturday, Gulfstream has an 11-race Juvenile Showcase card with first post of 12:00 p.m. All of the races are for 2-year-olds. That includes six stakes that have $75,000 purses.
Gulfstream anticipates that trainers will use this Saturday’s stakes as prep races for stakes on Jan. 7 for newly turned 3-year-olds, and with richer purses.
On Sunday, Gulfstream will have ten races with first post of 12:35 p.m.
Tampa Bay Downs
On Friday, Tampa Bay Downs will have nine races with first post of 12:25 p.m.
On Saturday, it will have ten races with first post of 12:25 p.m.
There are no stakes races scheduled either day.
Tampa Bay will be dark on Sundays until Jan. 1.
A big question at Tampa Bay this weekend is whether trainer Gerald Bennett can maintain his unprecedented hot streak.
Bennett led Tampa Bay trainers in wins last season. He is the runaway leader in 2016-2017 with ten wins in 17 starts. Through six racing days he also has two second place and two third place finishes.
At Tampa Bay, he has five horses entered on Friday and four on Saturday.
Bennett won four races in four starts on Wednesday. Tampa Bay Downs research indicates that Kathleen O’Connell is the only other trainer with a four-for-four day in the Oldsmar track’s history.
Chad Stewart is second in the Tampa Bay trainer standings with three wins. O’Connell is among eight trainers who have two wins and are tied for third place.