OLDSMAR, FL. – Tampa Bay Downs will offer a full plate of simulcast wagering Monday and Tuesday to ring out 2012 and welcome 2013 before live racing resumes Wednesday with a 10-race card.
At Gulfstream Park on Tuesday – New Year’s Day – Cor Cor, who won the $75,000 Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 1, will compete in the Grade III, $100,000 Old Hat Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs.
All Thoroughbred race horses celebrate their birthdays on Jan. 1, regardless of their foaling date. For many horsemen, a new year also signals a renewal of optimism and purpose, with spring less than three months away and traditional 3-year-old stakes – including Tampa Bay Downs’ Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 2 and the Grade II, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 – leading to the fabled Kentucky Derby on May 4.
But let’s get back to the here and now, for the present time. Cor Cor, who is owned by Tarpon Springs resident Steve Ballou and Harriet Waldron and trained by Joan Scott, enters the Old Hat 2-for-2, and her potential has her connections brimming with high hopes for a lucrative sophomore campaign.
Scott Spieth, who was aboard Cor Cor for her Sandpiper score, will travel to Hallandale for the New Year’s Day assignment.
The entire Gulfstream New Year’s Day card will be simulcast at Tampa Bay Downs, along with racing from Aqueduct, Laurel, Parx Racing, Turfway Park, Santa Anita and other tracks.
Cor Cor set a stakes record of 1:10.02 for the six-furlong distance in the Sandpiper. She is second choice on the morning line for the Old Hat at 3-1 behind Kauai Katie, a Todd Pletcher-trained filly whose resume includes victories in the Grade II Adirondack and Grade II Matron Stakes and a fourth-place effort in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The Old Hat, which has attracted only five entries, will be the fifth race on the New Year’s Day card. Approximate post time is 2:37 p.m.
The Florida-bred Cor Cor breezed four furlongs in 47 2/5 seconds on Dec. 23, the best of 40 workouts at that distance that day at Tampa Bay Downs. Trainer Joan Scott says Cor Cor couldn’t be doing much better approaching 2013.
“I think she fits,” Scott said. “Any time you run in a graded stakes, you’re going to go up against heavy hitters. They don’t give stakes wins and placings away – you have to earn them – but she has done nothing wrong so far and is doing super, which is what I’m concerned about.”
Purple Egg, a 3-year-old gelding who won the $75,000 Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 1, is doubtful for Tuesday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby after spiking a fever over the weekend.
Also on Tuesday, three horses that made their previous starts at Tampa Bay Downs comprise half the field for Gulfstream’s $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs.
Grade III winner Brave Dave finished second to Purple Egg by a length in the Inaugural. City of Weston broke his maiden here Dec. 1 and finished third in an allowance/optional claiming event here Dec. 22, while Rockyshomerun won an allowance/optional claiming race Dec. 1.
The Spectacular Bid is the third race on the Gulfstream Tuesday card, with post time of 1:41 p.m.
Trainer Jason DaCosta won with both of his starters Sunday at Tampa Bay Downs, giving him seven wins from 14 starts for the meet. Fernando De La Cruz won both races for DaCosta and is the meet’s third-leading jockey with 12 victories.
DaCosta and De La Cruz won the second race with the DaCosta-owned 4-year-old colt Follow the Rhythm and the sixth with 3-year-old filly Zennin Girl.
Leading jockey Daniel Centeno won two races Sunday, giving him 19 through the first 15 days of racing. Centeno won the fourth with 2-year-old filly Wild About Irene for owner Ocean Breeze Stable and trainer Gerald Bennett and the fifth with 4-year-old gelding K Run for owner Swifty Farms, Inc. and trainer Thomas Proctor.
Tampa Bay Downs trainer Jamie Ness will finish 2012 as the leading trainer in North America. With a single New Year’s Eve starter at Aqueduct, Ness has 396 victories, 112 more than Steven Asmussen, who topped the standings every year from 2007-11.
Ness’ sole client, Rich Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., leads the North American owner standings with 542 victories for its third consecutive wins title and is a leading contender for an Eclipse Award in the Owners category. Midwest horses have earned more than $10 million this year.
Tampa Bay Downs jockey Deshawn Parker is fourth in North America in 2012 with 306 victories, behind only Russell Baze, Ramon Dominguez and Javier Castellano. Parker led North America the past two years with a combined 777 victories and has ridden 4,209 winners in his career.
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.