The Jamie Ness, Leandro Goncalves and Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. express trains picked up steam Thursday, as the current leading trainer, jockey and owner each claimed four victories at Tampa Bay Downs.
The dominant threesome had a chance for five victories in the 10th race, with Goncalves riding the 4-year-old gelding Levy for Ness and Midwest Thoroughbreds, but the maiden was unplaced after challenging briefly on the far turn.
The four-bagger by Midwest is believed to be a new owner’s record for a single card at Tampa Bay Downs, while the four wins by Ness tied the Tampa Bay Downs record established by Kathleen O’Connell in 2003 and equaled by Ness three seasons ago. The first two victories Thursday for Midwest and Ness came with Goncalves in the saddle.
In the third race, Goncalves piloted 1-5 favorite Pot of Gold to a seven-length victory in a six-furlong claiming race. It was the seventh triumph in 37 lifetime starts for the 6-year-old son of Touch Gold, who was claimed out of the race by trainer Jeffrey Greenhill.
Ness, Midwest and Goncalves won the fourth race with another 6-year-old gelding, Repenter, in equally convincing fashion. The 3-10 favorite, Repenter is 9-for-32 lifetime and three-for-four since being claimed by Ness and Midwest.
Subsequent victories by Ness and Midwest came in the sixth race with 9-10 favorite Jaggermonster and jockey Huber Villa-Gomez and in the eighth with second betting choice Reign of Kings and jockey Angel Serpa.
Through Thursday, Ness leads all Tampa Bay Downs trainers with 24 victories from 51 starters. Thursday’s card marked the fourth time during the current meeting Ness has won three or more races.
Ness trains exclusively for Midwest, the 2011 Eclipse Award finalist headed by Richard Papiese. Their four victories on a single card is believed to be a track record for an owner-trainer combination (statistics before the mid-1960s are incomplete).
Goncalves , meanwhile, won the first race Thursday on 4-year-old gelding and race favorite Zip Zone for owner Horseshoe Farm and trainer James Kirk (Zip Zone was claimed by M. Anthony Ferraro). Goncalves’ fourth victory came in the seventh race on 6-year-old mare Seeking Reason, the 7-5 favorite, for owner Louis F. Stevens and trainer James McMullen.
Goncalves – who also rode four winners Sunday – enters action Friday with 32 victories from 130 starters.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes Friday with a first-race post time of 12:25 p.m. Saturday’s stakes feature is the $50,000, seven-furlong Manatee Stakes for older fillies and mares, with a nine-horse field headed by Harold Queen’s multiple-Grade III stakes winner Hot Summer.
Tampa Bay Downs currently conducts live racing Wednesday through Sunday, and the track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker in the Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at the Downs Golf Practice Facility.