Returning Tampa Bay Downs riding champion Ronnie Allen, Jr. rode two winners on Saturday’s card, moving into a tie atop the jockey standings with Leandro Goncalves through seven days of the 2011-12 meeting.
Allen and Goncalves, who rode one winner, have each amassed seven victories, one more than Ricardo Feliciano.
Allen, who rode 109 winners last season for his fourth TBD title, captured the first race, a $5,000 claiming affair, aboard Barbara McBride’s 7-year-old gelding Gandolf. Allen returned to the winner’s circle in the eighth race, riding the 4-year-old filly Mindy Michelle to her second victory of the meeting for trainer Gerald Bennett in the $6,250 claimer.
Mindy Michelle, who is 2-for-2 at the meeting, was claimed for the second time at the meeting. Bennett had claimed her from the stable of Jamie Ness after her previous victory and trainer Daniel Pita claimed her Saturday in a three-way shake for new owner Juan Francisco Landaeta.
Goncalves’ victory came in the fifth race on the maiden 2-year-old filly Bremusa for trainer Leigh Delacour. Bremusa, a daughter of the turf champion Theatrical, completed the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance on the grass in 1:42.3.
Other jockeys hitting paydirt twice on Saturday’s card were Huber Villa-Gomez and Alex Cintron.
Trainer Dennis Ward enjoyed a successful afternoon, posting two victories and a second from three starters. Ward won the ninth race, a mile-and-40-yard contest featuring a $21,200 purse, with 3-year-old gelding Blameshifter for owners Susy Cant and Tom Clark. Feliciano was the rider.
Ward – the father of past Eclipse Award champion apprentice jockey and current trainer Wesley Ward -- came back in the 10th race, another allowance optional claiming race worth $21,200, with Daverick for owner Sante Cigana. Cintron rode Daverick in the five-furlong turf affair.
Joan Scott continues to lead the trainer standings with five victories, one more than Ness.
Live racing resumes Wednesday with a 12:27 p.m. first-race post time and will also be held Thursday and Friday. Tampa Bay Downs will be open every day next week except Dec. 25 for simulcast wagering from tracks across the country, no-limit card games and tournaments in the Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at the Downs Golf Practice Facility. After Friday’s card, live racing will pick up Dec. 28-31 as the track heralds the approach of 2012.