With 12 racing days left in the 2013-14 meeting – including the season-ender on Monday, June 30, the start of the track’s two-day annual Summer Festival of Racing – Ronnie Allen, Jr., and Antonio Gallardo are showing no letup in their quest for the leading-jockey title.
Gallardo rode four winners on today’s card to narrow Allen’s lead to 100-98 entering the homestretch. He and Allen have each ridden four winners on five occasions during the meeting.
Gallardo saved his best for the final race, guiding 4-year-old filly Polomint to a maiden-breaking victory at a mile on the turf by hugging the rail and surging late for a neck victory from Summer Interlude. Polomint is owned by Fedai Kahraman and trained by Murat Sancal.
Gallardo’s big day started in the second race when he guided 3-year-old gelding Money Buy You, a first-time starter, to a six-furlong maiden claiming triumph for trainer Gerald Bennett and owner Laura Cazares.
Gallardo added the sixth race on 4-year-old gelding Liberty Wing for trainer Jamie Ness and owner Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., and the eighth at a mile on the turf on 4-year-old colt Mythical Man for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and owner Just for Fun Stable.
The eighth race was the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week.
Allen, a 49-year-old journeyman with more than 3,100 career victories, reached the 100-victory mark for the third time at Tampa Bay Downs in the ninth race aboard 6-year-old gelding Alisa’s Engineer for trainer Jamie Ness and owner Mark Hoffman. Allen also won the fifth race on the turf on 3-year-old colt Breakstone for trainer James A. Dodgen and owners J. David Richardson, Mike Chipman and Richard M. Knapp.
Tampa Bay Downs leading trainer Ness was 2-for-5 on the day, giving him 48 victories toward the formality of clinching his eighth consecutive track training title.
Allen won his first Tampa Bay Downs riding crown during the 1984-85 meeting and is bidding for his fifth local title, which would tie him for second place all-time at the Oldsmar oval with Daniel Centeno. Allen led the 1987-88 standings with a then-track record 102 victories and rode 109 winners in 2010-11.
Retired jockey Mike Manganello, who won the 1970 Kentucky Derby aboard Dust Commander, won a record seven titles when the track was known as Florida Downs.
Gallardo, a 26-year-old Spaniard who started his career in the United States 7-for-176, has developed into a strong, aggressive jockey with a keen sense of pace who should only keep getting better. About 60-percent of his 300-plus U.S. victories have come since the start of 2013.
Allen has combined with Zerillo’s Italian Grill Trainer of the Month Tom Proctor for a staggering 16 victories from 39 tries this meeting, a 41-percent strike rate.
Allen and Gallardo are both hard-working competitors and dedicated class individuals, and no matter who fans are rooting for, they can be assured to get 110 percent from both for the duration of the meeting.
Odds and ends. In today’s first race, 4-year-old filly Florida-bred filly Concerted Effort joined a logjam at the top of the season standings with her fourth victory of the meeting, a length-and-three-quarters triumph from Reynolds.
Concerted Effort won her first three tries locally before finishing third in a conditional allowance and off-the-board in her lone local turf try. Today’s victory came in a starter allowance/$12,500 optional claiming event at a mile-and-a-sixteenth. She was ridden by Daniel Centeno.
A homebred racing for Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, Inc., Geoff Roy and Tom Fitzgerald, Concerted Effort is trained by Jason DaCosta. She joins six other horses with four Oldsmar victories in 2013-14: 9-year-old mare Kitty City; 7-year-old gelding King Rock; 8-year-old gelding See I A; 7-year-old gelding Gimmeadrink; 5-year-old mare Chelsie’s Chapel; and 5-year-old gelding Favorite Patriot.
In today’s third race, the father-daughter combination of owner-trainer Lonnie Arterburn and jockey Brittany Rhone combined to win the seven-furlong claiming event with 5-year-old gelding Corinthian Spire. The 29-year-old Rhone was a rodeo star at Cal Poly State and handles the majority of training duties for their stable at the racetrack.
Tampa Bay Downs Kentucky Derby Party upcoming. Area horse racing fans who can’t make it to Louisville for the 140th renewal of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands can experience the next-best thing at The Trackside Pavilion adjacent to the walking ring on Saturday, May 3.
The annual Tampa Bay Downs Kentucky Derby Party brings together fun-loving souls, serious handicappers and anyone intrigued by the majesty, mystery and strength of the Thoroughbred, providing a full day to savor the excitement and tradition of the most exciting two minutes in sports.
The party begins with the simulcast of the first race from Churchill Downs that morning and lasts until a blanket of 554 red roses are draped across the Kentucky Derby winner’s withers. Adding to the fervor, Tampa Bay Downs will conduct a full card of racing as its 2013-14 meeting winds down to a precious few days.
And if the Derby winner happens to be Grade II Tampa Bay Derby winner Ring Weekend, Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Vinceremos or another 3-year-old that competed here, expect the tremors to reverberate throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Tampa Bay Downs has produced two of the last seven Kentucky Derby winners: 2007 Tampa Bay Derby winner Street Sense and 2010 Tampa Bay Derby third-place finisher Super Saver.
The cost to attend the Tampa Bay Downs Kentucky Derby Party is $45.95, which includes reserved seating; a full buffet luncheon; a Tampa Bay Downs racing program; a mint julep in a commemorative souvenir Kentucky Derby glass, with the names of all 139 winners; and entry into the Derby hat contest.
The gates open at 10:30 a.m. The buffet will be served from noon-2 p.m., with a deluxe menu featuring sliced roast beef with Kentucky bourbon and mushroom sauce, grilled chicken breast with Chive Mornay sauce, honey-glazed ham with pineapple mustard sauce and a selection of desserts including Kentucky Derby pie.
Fans will also have the opportunity to enjoy the entire simulcast programs from Churchill Downs and other major tracks across the country.
Simply put, the Tampa Bay Downs Kentucky Derby party is an annual highlight you won’t regret attending. For more details, call the Tampa Bay Downs Group Sales Department at (813) 855-4401, extension 1386.
Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs resumes Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:42 p.m. The feature is the ninth race, a $25,000, five-furlong turf allowance for older horses which has drawn an overflow field of 13 entries, including the graded-stakes placed 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding Red Rocket Express from the barn of co-breeder, co-owner and trainer Chad Stewart.
Tampa Bay Downs is open every day except Easter Sunday, April 20 for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.