By Monique Welch
Tampa Bay Downs returns to its rich stakes schedule on Saturday with not just one, but three big races.
Those stakes races are the $100,000 Pasco, the $50,000 Wayward Lass and the $100,000 Gasparilla. They are part of an eleven-race card with first post at 12:12 p.m.
Proven Tampa Bay star Chance of Luck and the speedy newcomer Field Trip are top contenders in the Pasco, at seven furlongs on dirt for three-year-old males. It is the third race with scheduled post of 1:12 p.m.
Chance of Luck. the Kentucky-bred colt under trainer Gerald Bennett and jockey Erick Rodriguez, won the six-furlong Inaugural Stakes on Dec. 16.
He took the lead after a half mile and held on to win by a neck over Don’t Come Knockin, who is not in today’s race.
Chance of Luck is ranked first in the Brisnet Prime Power, but is second at 7-2 in the morning line.
Field Trip, the 3-1 favorite, has shipped into Oldsmar off a fast win and several impressive workouts at Gulfstream Park. The Florida-bred colt is owned by Four Horsemen Racing Stable and Lady Lindsay Racing Stables and trained by Henry Collazo.
On Dec. 10 at Gulfstream, Field Trip led at every call and won by 3 ½ lengths at six furlongs on a sloppy track. Jose Alvarez rode Field Trip and has the mount in the Pasco.
Field Trip earned a 101 Brisnet speed figure, highest of any of the seven entrants in the Pasco. The second best is 89, by Chance of Luck in the Inaugural.
Collazo said that Field Trip “does not need a sloppy track to run his best. He is a big horse with a great attitude.”
On Jan. 14 at Gulfstream, Field Trip had a four furlong (half mile) workout in 47,0 seconds—fastest of 99 at that distance that day.
“He made it look effortless,” Collazo said. “You don’t think he’s going that fast, then you look at the stopwatch and say ‘oh, my goodness.’”
It is no question that Field Trip will bring the speed and could possibly be leading down the stretch, and the race could come down to whether Chance of Luck can catch him.
Another possible contender is Union Blues. a colt under the care of the duo of jockey Daniel Centeno and trainer Arnaud Delacour.
This horse is ranked third in the Prime Power and sits at 9-2 odds for the morning line, but has not ran a single race longer than 5½ furlongs.
Next up is the seventh race, the Wayward Lass Stakes for fillies and mares four-years-old and up. The race will be 1 1/16 mile on the dirt.
The morning-line favorite at 5-2 is No Fault of Mine, ridden by Centeno and trained by Chris Block. The five-year-old mare is second in the Prime Power, familiar with this distance and had a strong bullet workout on Jan. 14.
Alto Belle, the 4-year old filly trained by the legendary Todd Pletcher is right behind him at 3-1 for the morning-line odds. This filly fought gamely in its last race, finishing first by the nose Nov. 10 at Gulfstream Park West, and will definitely challenge its opponents.
The Gasparilla is the ninth race. It is seven furlongs on dirt for three-year-old fillies.
The 5-2 morning line favorite is R Angel Katelyn, who wowed the fans on Dec. 16 in the six-furlong Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa Bay.
She won by 3 ½ lengths over Jumby Bay, trained by Pletcher. Rashette, trained by Kathleen O’Connell, finished third by another 1 1/4 lengths.
Jumby Bay and Rashette are back for the Gasparilla.
Gerald Bennett trains R Angel Katelyn and has given the return mount to Edwin Gonzalez.
R Angel Katelyn is first in Prime Power and is coming off a great bullet workout. With three wins and one second place finish in four career races, this fearless filly looks to dominate right out of the gate.
The third, seventh, and ninth will be the highlights of the day, but other good races to see will be the eighth and tenth.
The eighth is an optional claiming race that will be 1 1/16 mile on the turf for fillies and mares four-years-old and up, and has a purse of $23,500. At 5-2, Dyna’s Recoleta is the favorite for the race.
The tenth is an allowance race the same distance on the turf, and has a combined purse of $22,500. Earring the 4-year old Kentucky-bred filly and Vagabond another 4-year old Kentucky-bred filly are the favorites at 3-2 and 9-5 respectively.
Our team will be on site at Tampa Bay Downs and at Gulfstream Park today as both tracks have big stakes days. So be sure to stay updated throughout the day via our blog and later on this Web site.