Tampa Bay Downs’s Opening Day Recap

Tampa Bay: Everything Lovely Rolls in
Feature, for one of Centeno’s Three
Opening Day Wins

By Bob Bauer

Daniel Centeno, who led Tampa Bay jockeys in wins last season, rode three more winners on
Saturday’s ten-race card. The highlight came with Everything Lovely in the
finale — the $26,500 Lightning City Prep at five furlongs on turf for fillies and
mares 3-years- old and up.

Everything Lovely was the even money
favorite in a nine-horse field. She
led at every call and held off a bid
by Just Talkin’ to win by a length in
the respectable time of 56.18
seconds on the course listed as

The race was a prep for the $100,000
Lighting City Stakes, to be run at Tampa
Bay Downs on Dec. 30. It will be five
furlongs on turf for fillies and mares 3-YO
and up.
Everything Lovely will be pointed toward
the Dec. 30 race, said her trainer and part-
owner Kathleen DeMasi.
Last year, Everything Lovely won the
Lightning City Prep and finished third in he
Lightning City Stakes.

Centeno was the only jockey with more
than one win on Saturday. Antonio
Gallardo and Ronald Allen, Jr., two former
winners of Tampa Bay jockey crowns,
were among riders with one win each.

Many fans were expecting a big afternoon
from Gerald Bennett, Tampa’s top trainer ln
victories for the past two seasons. He got to
the winner’s circle once, from five attempts.

A Day for Speed
Both racing surfaces (fast & firm)
appeared to be kind to early speed.
Although, at this early point it is too early
to put a label on them, it seems that it
can be very helpful to be up close early.

This has been the case in past seasons.
We should watch them carefully over
the next few race days.

Having said that, Saturday’s charts
reveal that every dirt race (all sprints) were won by a speed merchant on a gate to wire trip. We should keep this in
mind in the near future.
Speed was a good commodity on the
grass also, as 2 of 3 events went to the
early leader. In the first Tampa turf test
for fillies and mares at 8 furlongs, the
winner Mast Cove, a confirmed front-
running sprinter, was able to get loose
on the lead and hold on for the win.

The other wire job was in a 5 furlong sprint
prep for the upcoming Lighting City
stakes, won by Everything Lovely, who
won this event last season. She will be
one of the favorites on stakes day.
In the remaining turf test race, for the
boys also at a mile, winner Bird Humor
overcame being steadied on the first
turn and saved ground to close in upper
stretch and draw away late. He was the
only off-the pace winner all day. Veteran
rider Ron Allen Jr. was on the mount for trainer Reid

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