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March 11, 2015

“AVERAGE” DAY KEEPS GALLARDO ON PACE FOR RECORD MEETING

by Mike Henry
Top jockey now has 101 victories for the current meeting; Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes winner Lochte entered on Friday's card.

Antonio Gallardo reached the 100 mark in victories today and kept going, continuing his relentless march toward the record 144 total established by five-time leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Daniel Centeno during the 2007-2008 meeting.

Gallardo, a 27-year-old native of Cadiz, Spain, split a narrow opening in deep stretch in the third race to win by a length-and-a-quarter aboard 7-10 favorite Zeven. Fiesta Rose finished second.

Owned by Joseph W. Sutton and trained by Eddie Kenneally, the 3-year-old filly Zeven is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Lookin At Lucky, a two-time Eclipse Award champion and the 2010 Preakness and Izod Haskell Invitational winner.

Four races later, Gallardo gave 4-5 favorite Ghost Hunter a textbook front-running ride, pulling away through the stretch for a nine-length victory from Seal Six. The winning 5-year-old gelding, a son of 2004 Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic Powered by Dodge winner Ghostzapper, is owned by Jagger, Inc., and trained by Jamie Ness, who shares the Oldsmar conditioners’ lead with Gerald Bennett with 26 victories each.

Ghost Hunter’s time for the mile-and-40-yards was 1:39.18, .11 seconds off the track record. Ghost Hunter and Seal Six were both scratched from Saturday’s $60,000 Challenger Stakes.

With 101 victories, Gallardo is on pace to ride 153 winners. The defending track jockey champion has 68 winners for the 2015 calendar year, behind only reigning Eclipse champion Javier Castellano’s total of 81.

Gallardo has booted home 22 winners over the last nine racing days, a stretch that includes back-to-back four-victory performances last week.

In today’s second race, 6-year-old mare Jazillion Smiles sprang one of the biggest surprises of the meeting, edging away late for a half-length victory from Chippette. Jazillion Smiles delivered nearly that many happy faces in addition to her $130 win mutuel payoff.

Bred and owned by Bathen Thoroughbreds, LLC and trained by Manuel Criollo, Jazillion Smiles was ridden by Olaf Hernandez.

Looking ahead. Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs resumes Friday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:40 p.m. The feature is the third race, an allowance/$100,000 optional claiming event for older horses at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf.

The six-horse field is headed by 5-year-old gelding Lochte, who is trained by Marcus Vitali and will be ridden by Antonio Gallardo. In his last trip to Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 24, the Kentucky-bred Lochte won the Grade III, $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on the turf in a driving three-horse blanket photo from Old Time Hockey and Sky Flight.

Lochte, who is owned by Crossed Sabres Farm, won the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap as a 4-year-old.

Tampa Bay Downs will conduct racing action on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule through May 3, with the exception of Easter Sunday, April 5, when the track is closed.

Otherwise, Tampa Bay Downs is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action and Three Card Poker in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.

 

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1.800.GAMBLER (1.800.426.2537).