By Bob Bauer
Cotillion Festival Day on Saturday featured four non-graded events to start off the Tampa Bay Downs2 017-2018 stakes
There were some minor upsets, but no major shocks. One favorite, Tricks to Doo, won a stakes race.
We did see some runners who should be prominent in Florida racing in the future.
The first running of the $125K City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes at 7 panels in race 2 saw the popular favorite falter. R ANGEL KATELYN, the even-money choice, could do no better than third.
She tired in the stretch after setting an early pace that was pressed by STORMY EMBRACE.
They both were passed by Surprise Wedding, who got a handy stalking trip and went on to score by 2 ¼ lengths. Jesus Rios was up for David Fawkes.
Race 3 was the premier call to the post for the $125K Marion County Florida Sire Stakes, 7 furlongs for sophomores. Once again the favorite lost, but all three top choices were together on the board. MO CASH (photo on home page) got even with THREE RULES for a neck defeat last July at Gulfstream in the Carry Back Handicap. They chased a loose-on-the lead longshot close together,
MO CASH made a move at the 5/16 marker and got first run on the tiring pacesetter, under a heady ride by Antonio Gallardo. Ron Spatz trains the winner, who is now 2 for 2 in Tampa.
The 39th edition on the $100K Sandpiper Stakes for two-year-old fillies was really not a contest at all. ALMOND ROCA, trained by Graham Motion, romped by 9 1/4 lengths under Pablo Morales and appears to be a filly with a future.
She set a new stakes record of 1:10.01 for the six furlongs. Three to two chalk TONI ANN’S MIRACLE checked in second ending a three race win streak.
Two-year-olds with differing levels of ability gathered for the 33rd renewal of the $100K Inaugural Stakes. The winner TRICKS to DOO, like the Sandpiper queen should have better things and bigger questions on the horizon.
We may see more from this one next year, possibly the Pasco Stakes at 7 furlongs. The Delacour-Centeno team are hot now and so is their racer as his 7 ¼ length victory proves.