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Tampa resident Carolyn Wilson sends her 5-year-old mare Arena Elvira in search of her fifth consecutive stakes victory Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs in the $50,000 Wayward Lass Stakes for older fillies and mares.
The mile-and-a-sixteenth Wayward Lass marks the 2012 debut of the Kentucky-bred daughter of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, out of multiple-Grade II winner Two Item Limit. Arena Elvira will face seven rivals, including the Todd Pletcher-trained 4-year-old filly R Gypsy Gold; the Martin Wolfson-trained entry of Dash Dot Dash and Canadian Mistress; and Manatee Stakes winner Taylors Irish.
Under the care of Hall of Fame trainer William Mott, Arena Elvira has been training forwardly at Payson Park Thoroughbred Training Center in Indiantown for her return to competition. She went four furlongs in 50 seconds Sunday, 10 days after working five furlongs in 1:01.3.
Arena Elvira was purchased by Wilson for $210,000 at the 2009 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March sale of 2-year-olds in training. She boasts seven lifetime victories and has never finished out of the money in 12 career starts while amassing career earnings of $391,436.
Arena Elvira began her current winning streak last summer at Saratoga, capturing the Aug. 5 Madame Jumel Stakes and the Sept. 4 Sightseek Stakes. On Nov. 4, Mott tried her in a graded event for the first time in the Grade III, mile-and-an-eighth Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Aqueduct, and she responded with a 6 ¾-length victory.
Three weeks later at Churchill Downs, Arena Elvira rallied for a neck victory from Afleeting Lady in the Grade II, mile-and-an-eighth Falls City Handicap, earning herself a well-deserved vacation.
Tampa Bay Downs leading jockey Leandro Goncalves will ride Arena Elvira, who will break from the No. 1 post position and has been established as a 3-2 morning-line favorite. The Wayward Lass is the ninth race on an 11-race card that begins with a 12:25 p.m. first-race post time.
R Gypsy Gold, owned by the prominent E. Paul Robsham Stables, last raced in the Grade I Gazelle at Aqueduct on Nov. 26, finishing sixth. Previously, she won the Real Prize Stakes at Belmont Oct. 27 and was third in the Grade I Mother Goose last summer. The 8-5 morning-line second choice, she will be ridden by Pedro Cotto, Jr.
Dash Dot Dash won three consecutive stakes races at Calder in Miami two years ago, then was idle until two weeks ago, when she finished seventh in an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream. Jermaine Bridgmohan has the riding assignment.
Taylors Irish, a 6-year-old Florida-bred mare from the Charles Harvatt barn, will seek to repeat her front-running Manatee success, this time going three-sixteenths of a mile farther. All six of her career victories have come at Tampa Bay Downs. Rosemary Homeister, Jr. has the riding assignment.
Another intriguing entrant is the Chad Stewart-trained 5-year-old Dundalk Dust, who won the 2010 Grade II Falls City Handicap and is 6-for-14 lifetime. She will be ridden by Danny Coa.
The Wayward Lass Stakes is named after the 1981 Eclipse Award Champion 3-Year-Old Filly, who was bred in Florida by Hall of Fame trainer Horatio Luro and trained by Jose Martin.
Racing for Flying Zee Stable, Wayward Lass won five stakes during her championship season, including the Grade I Mother Goose and the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks. She was second in the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan and Grade II Ashland Stakes and third in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks and Grade I Fantasy Stakes.
The Wayward Lass is the final stakes on the Tampa Bay Downs calendar prior to Florida Cup Day on April 7. That event, for Florida-bred horses, features six stakes races worth $450,000.
Also on Saturday, 3-year-old gelding Angelofdistinction, who won the Dec. 10 Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, faces six opponents in an allowance/$75,000 optional claiming race at seven furlongs, slated as the seventh race on the card. Angelofdistinction is trained by Daniel Pita and will be ridden by Daniel Centeno.
The morning-line favorite at 9-5 is the Thomas Proctor-trained colt Temeraine, who broke his maiden last month with an impressive stretch rally going five-and-a-half furlongs. Mark Guidry has the riding assignment.
Jockey Scott Spieth rode two winners Thursday to raise his career victory total to 3,994. Spieth, who is eighth in the Tampa Bay Downs standings with 23 triumphs, won the second race on 4-year-old gelding Wild Alley Cat for trainer Larry Allen. He scored in the fourth race on 5-year-old mare Pure Light for conditioner Frances Gogas.
Live racing at Tampa Bay Downs resumes Friday with a 10-race card. There is a Super High 5 carryover of $10,709.34 and a Pick 5 carryover of $10,041.51. Thursday’s late Pick 4 (1-2-7-3) paid $36,217.30.
Sunday is another Family Fiesta Day hosted by Univision Television, with Latin-themed entertainment and personalities, pony rides, games and more.
Tampa Bay Downs is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action in the Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at the Downs Golf Practice Facility.
The annual St. Patrick’s Tournament in The Silks Poker Room is a three-day affair that begins with Day 1A action Friday at 7 p.m. Day 1B is Saturday at 1 p.m., with the finals Sunday at 3 p.m. There is a $250 buy-in.
Information on The Silks Poker Room can now be found on Bravo Poker Live at http://www.bravopokerlive.com, as well as a mobile app on Android phones and iPhones. Bravo Poker Live enables players to check out the current live action and tournaments in local poker rooms, as well as promotions, utilizing the Bravo poker room management and player tracking system.
The listing distance is configurable as well as your current location.  Use the search function to find the nearest poker room playing your favorite live game or tournament.

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