As a daughter of Thoroughbred racing’s 1997 Eclipse Award Champion Sprinter, Smoke Glacken, and a granddaughter of 1986 Champion 2-Year-Old Male, Capote, 4-year-old filly Cor Cor was bred to run like a whirlwind.
That’s why her trainer, Joan Scott, guards against working her too fast in the morning. Scott was delighted with Cor Cor’s four-furlong breeze of 48.20 seconds on Dec. 29 in preparation for Saturday’s $50,000, six-furlong Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, even though it was the second-fastest of 40 workouts that day at the distance.
“She is a really, really fast horse, so we try to get her to slow down in the morning and get her to stretch out and gallop out more at the end of her works,” Scott said. “She did that (Dec. 29), and I’m very happy with how she is doing.”
Getting Cor Cor to slow down early has been a challenge. Her five previous workouts at Tampa Bay Downs were all the fastest for that day at the distance, including a pair of 46-flat breezes on Nov. 12 and Nov. 24 and a 46.20 on Dec. 1.
Cor Cor – who set a stakes record as a 2-year-old in winning the then-$75,000 Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in 1:10.02 for six furlongs – is set to face six foes in the Minaret. Owned by Steve Ballou and Harriet Waldron, she will be ridden by Scott Spieth, her pilot in the Sandpiper and in her winning effort last March in the Filly Division of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sprint Stakes.
Cor Cor, who has won stakes on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces, will break from the No. 6 post.
Other top Minaret contenders should include 7-year-old mare Risky Rachel, a multiple stakes-winning New York-bred mare who has almost $400,000 in career earnings but has not raced since October of 2012; Cookie, a 4-year-old filly who has been first or second in her last five starts; 6-year-old Magic Mesa, beaten just a half-length last month in an optional claiming race at Gulfstream; and 4-year-old Ambusher, whose pronounced come-from-behind style could suit the race to the letter. Lea’s Exchange and Sunny Forest are the morning-line long shots.
First, though, they may have to run down Cor Cor, who will wear blinkers after bearing out in her most recent race, a sixth-place finish in a Keeneland turf allowance on Oct. 25.
“Even when she won at Fair Grounds (in the Battle of New Orleans Stakes on the turf last February), she drifted out, so that might be her thing on tight turns,” Scott said. “The wider turn here on the dirt should help us, so hopefully she can redeem herself.”
The Florida-bred Cor Cor is 4-for-7 lifetime, including a second in the Grade III Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream last year, while competing at six different tracks. She sustained a bone chip while running third last May in Presque Isle Downs’ Inaugural Stakes, necessitating successful surgery.
DaCOSTA TO APPEAR
The 33rd edition of the Minaret is the seventh race on Saturday’s 10-race card, which begins at 12:25 p.m. Track announcer Richard Grunder will welcome trainer Jason DaCosta to his Morning Glory Club Show at 10 a.m. on the first floor of the grandstand. Attendees receive free grandstand admission, donuts and coffee and are encouraged to arrive early to watch morning workouts.
Another race certain to garner considerable interest from bettors is the ninth, an allowance/$62,500 optional claiming event at five furlongs on the turf. The morning-line favorites are the Jason DaCosta-trained stakes winner Silver Cloud and the Jamie Ness-trained Guam Typhoon, winner of eight consecutive races – including three stakes – in 2012.
NAFZGER MAKES SCENE
Racing legend Carl Nafzger, who trained Kentucky Derby winners Unbridled in 1990 and Street Sense in 2007, made an appearance at the Oldsmar oval today, saddling Jim Tafel, LLC’s 4-year-old filly Defoe Street to win today’s third race. Ronnie Allen, Jr., rode the Kentucky-bred daughter of Street Sense-Kris Pit, who rallied from just off the pace to win the six-furlong maiden special weight race by two-and-a-half lengths from Pink Spun Rose.
It was the first victory in 15 career starts for Defoe Street, who also has five seconds, including a runner-up effort here on Dec. 11. Defoe Street paid $2.80 to win after completing the distance in 1:12.72.
Nafzger is a member of the sport’s National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
CENTENO HAT TRICK, BIG PAYOFFS HIGHLIGHT ACTION
Jockey Daniel Centeno won three races today. Centeno captured the fifth race on the turf on 3-year-old filly Wonderfully Wild for owner Metro Thoroughbreds, LLC and trainer Derek Ryan, and he swept the late daily double. Centeno won the eighth race on 5-year-old mare Sixspeedoverdrive for owner Guillermo Banegas and trainer Manuel Carrasco and the ninth race on 6-year-old gelding Mister Pippit for owner Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., and trainer Jamie Ness. Mister Pippit was claimed from the race for $32,000 by owner-trainer William Bradley.
Ness and jockey Antonio Gallardo each won a pair, combining to take the fourth race with Conecuh, an 8-year-old gelding owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. Gallardo returned to the winner’s circle after the seventh on the turf aboard 5-year-old mare Thecushmaker for owner Richard Perkins and trainer David Hinsley.
Long shots lit up the tote board Friday, with back-to-back trifecta payouts in the sixth and seventh races of $4,123 and $3,942.20. The $1 superfecta in the seventh, a 7-4-1-5 combination, paid $5,285.16 to six lucky bettors for their 10-cent investments.
REGISTER ONLINE FOR “LIVE IT UP CHALLENGE”
Registration is underway for the “Live It Up Challenge” handicapping contest, an online competition beginning on Festival Preview Day, Saturday, Feb. 1. The grand-prize winner receives $1,000 and a seat at the 2015 Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship (date and site to be determined). Second place receives $1,000, third place receives $500 and a $500 prize will be awarded to the handicapper selecting the most overall winners.
There is no fee for entering the contest. Complete rules are available at the online site. Registration may be accessed through a link on the track website at www.tampabaydowns.com
or by visiting the contest website directly at www.liveitupchallenge.com
The registration deadline is 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1, which is the first day of the contest and also Festival Preview Day, highlighted by the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a traditional Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands stepping stone.
The contest runs every day through Saturday, April 5. Players make a mythical $2 win-place-show wager on a single horse in one of each day’s two challenge races, and their bankroll accrues throughout based on official pari-mutuel payoffs, with strikes being assessed for an out-of-the-money finish (three strikes is goodbye, although the player remains eligible for the most wins prize).
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.