No matter the surface, Two Wonders almost always seems to fire her best effort; $106 winner in ninth sparks huge payouts.
Jockey Ronnie Allen, Jr., and 7-year-old mare Two Wonders have had a thing going since springtime.
The four-time Tampa Bay Downs leading jockey and the dependable Florida-bred have combined for five victories in seven starts since being united at Presque Isle Downs in May, including a three-race winning streak on the Erie, Pa.’s Tapeta all-weather surface this past summer.
Two Wonders was equal to the task again in today’s seventh race, a 1-mile starter allowance on the turf for fillies and mares. Rated mid-pack early, she was angled inside by Allen at the eighth pole and drew clear to win the $21,200 feature by a length from Cuppy Cake, the winner of this year’s Florida Cup Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf via disqualification.
Two Wonders paid $8 as the favorite in the nine-horse field. A winner of 17 of her 50 career starts, she is owned by Jamie and Mandy Ness’ Jagger, Inc., and trained by Jamie Ness. She is now 3-for-3 lifetime on the Tampa Bay Downs turf course.
The victory was one of three on the card for Allen.
The tote board lit up like a Christmas tree after the ninth race on the turf, won by 52-1 shot Three Timer, a 3-year-old filly owned and trained by M.C. Reardon who had finished fourth in her first four career starts.
Ridden by apprentice jockey Janelle Campbell, Three Timer paid $106 to win. The $1 Pick-5 combination (2-8-8-10-4) paid $23,200.50 and the 50-cent Pick-4 (8-8-10-4) paid $31,456.10. The 4-2 exacta, with 17-1 shot Imperial Cut second, paid $1,363.20 and the $1 4-2-6-5 superfecta paid $7,506.30.
No bettor hit the Super High-5 and Friday’s carryover jackpot will be $5,806.61.
Back to Two Wonders, a smallish sort who puts her mind to business when the gate opens. “She might be little, but she has a big heart,” said Allen, who finished second and third on Two Wonders in her other Presque Isle races. “She liked Presque Isle and she really likes the turf, but I think she would run on anything. She just likes to run.”
Despite taking six tries to break her maiden and running only in claiming and allowance company in her career, Two Wonders has career earnings of $477,510.
“I knew there was a little speed in the race and the leaders went out there wing-dinging it, so I just settled her back four or five lengths behind. Then I gave her a little smooch down the backside. I knew I had a lot of horse, so I was just waiting for them to stop up front.
“(Jockey) Rosie (Rosemary Homeister, Jr., aboard Cuppy Cake) came up outside of me and put a little pressure on, but I knew the rail was wide open,” Allen said. “I just dropped inside, gave her a couple of taps and she took off.”
Allen won two races back-to-back earlier on the card. In the second race, a six-furlong, maiden-claiming event for horses 3-and-older, Allen and 3-year-old gelding Silver Crusader overcame a slow start to win at odds of 12-1 by almost three lengths from 7-10 favorite High Side. Silver Crusader is owned by Pamela and Don Mattox and trained by Chad Stewart.
Allen added the third race in wire-to-wire fashion on 5-year-old gelding Thunder Harbor, who staved off Aloha Daddy by two-and-a-quarter lengths going six furlongs. Thunder Harbor is owned by Winning Stables, Inc., and La Marca Stable and trained by Gerald Bennett.
Current leading jockey Antonio Gallardo won two races on the card. Gallardo won the fourth on the turf on 3-year-old filly Likeuasafriend for owner Hallmarc Racing, LLC and trainer Joseph Arboritanza. He added the sixth on 3-year-old gelding Wedding Savior for owner Tommy G. Ligon and trainer Anthony Granitz.
All Children’s Hospital jockey visit. A contingent of jockeys from Tampa Bay Downs will visit patients at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on Monday, Dec. 15. All Children’s is a leader in pediatric care and cancer research for children and families.
The visit will begin at 1 p.m. Media members desiring to attend should contact Tampa Bay Downs Vice President of Marketing & Publicity Margo Flynn or Publicity Assistant Mike Henry.
Thoroughbred racing resumes Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:25 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs is open every day except Christmas, Dec. 25. Simulcast wagering will not be offered Dec. 24. Additionally, on Christmas Eve, The Silks Poker Room will be open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and The Downs Golf Practice Facility will close at 4:30 p.m.