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Friday’s Super High-5 Jackpot carryover at Tampa Bay Downs attracted nationwide attention after no one connected on the wager in the 10th race Wednesday and the fourth and ninth races Thursday.
By the time the fourth race began Friday with eight older fillies and mares competing, the pari-mutuel pool for the Super High-5 (which requires bettors to select the first five finishers in the race in exact order) had climbed to a record six-figure total.
The chance of one bettor collecting a gigantic payoff evaporated when the 4-5 favorite, Irish Acres Farm’s 5-year-old mare You Are Afleet, wore down 21-1 shot Miss Prim in the closing strides of the mile-and-40-yard maiden claiming event. All told, 72 winning tickets – including one at Tampa Bay Downs – were sold, with a total mutuel payout of $191,462.
The winning combination of 5-3-4-6-7 paid $2,662.90 for a successful $1 wager. Ronnie Allen, Jr., rode the winner, who is trained by P. Noel Hickey.
Rounding out the top five after You Are Afleet and Miss Prim were Motown Mambo, Meet Georgeanna and Teresa’s Kim.
Trainer Bernell Rhone and jockey Dean Butler combined to win two races on Friday’s card. They captured the second race with Cindy Rhone and Tom Heif’s 4-year-old filly Philippis and the 10th on the turf with Arindel Farm’s 3-year-old colt Gallico.
Saturday’s 11-race card begins at 12:38 p.m., with the featured ninth race the $75,000 Super Stakes for horses 4-and-upward at seven furlongs. Heading the nine-horse field are the past two winners of the race, 2-1 morning-line favorite Action Andy and 3-1 second choice Capt. Candyman Can.
Action Andy, the 2012 winner, is a 6-year-old gelding trained by Carlos Garcia and to be ridden by Danny Coa. The 7-year-old gelding Capt. Candyman Can, the 2011 Super Stakes champion, is trained by Ian Wilkes, with Ronnie Allen, Jr., set to ride.
Saturday’s card also features the third leg of the Tampa Turf Test Starter Handicap Series, with the fillies and mares division to be run as the fifth race and the colts and geldings division slated as the seventh race. Both will be run at a distance of a mile-and-an-eighth.
First Acquital, a 7-year-old mare trained by Jorge Navarro, to be ridden by Angel Serpa, is a lukewarm 7-2 morning-line choice in a 12-horse field in the fillies and mares division. The colts and geldings division oversubscribed with 14 entries, with Don’twait Toolong – trained by Jane Cibelli and to be ridden by Serpa – the 3-1 favorite.
Two of the top four finishers from the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 2 return to the Triple Crown trail Saturday at Gulfstream Park in the Grade II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes: the winner, Falling Sky from the barn of John Terranova II, and fourth-place finisher Speak Logistics, trained by Eddie Plesa, Jr.
The race is the 11th on Gulfstream’s card, which will be simulcast in its entirety at Tampa Bay Downs. The 9-5 morning-line favorite in the 11-horse field is Violence, trained by Todd Pletcher.
Also on Saturday’s simulcast schedule is the Grade II Risen Star Stakes from Fair Grounds, which has drawn a full field of 14 3-year-olds. The 5-2 morning-line favorite is Normandy Invasion from the barn of trainer Chad Brown. The Risen Star is the 10th at Fair Grounds.
Nominations close Saturday at midnight for Tampa Bay Downs’ next step on the road to Louisville, the Grade II, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. The Tampa Bay Derby is part of the track’s Festival Day 33, which includes the Grade III, $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares on the turf and the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
The Tampa Bay Derby is one of 17 stakes comprising the “Kentucky Derby Championship Series,” part of the new points system being employed by Churchill Downs to determine the 20 horses that qualify for the 139th running of the $2-million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 4. The Tampa Bay Derby awards 50 points to the winner, 20 to second, 10 to third and 5 to fourth.
“Hearts Reaching Out.” “Hearts Reaching Out,” an annual Golf Tournament and Charity Auction and Dinner celebration, is one of numerous events designed to enhance the lives of Tampa Bay Downs backstretch workers. Conducted by the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (RTCA), Tampa Bay Downs Division, it will be held Monday, March 4.
The four-person scramble tournament is at 11 a.m. at Countryside Country Club in Clearwater, with the Charity Auction and Dinner at 5:30 p.m. under the tent in the track’s Picnic Area.
The Tampa Bay Downs Division of the RTCA works for individuals such as Erasmo Tranquilino, a 23-year-old exercise rider for trainer Leigh Delacour who suffered a fractured skull and brain injury five weeks ago when he fell from a golf cart in the barn area of the track.
Tranquilino, who is from Mexico, was the regular exercise rider for the Delacour-trained Lentenor, a full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. His brother Pedro Tranquilino, who works as an exercise rider for trainer H. Graham Motion in Delaware, has traveled to Tampa to be with Erasmo, who is recuperating at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.
“I saw Erasmo earlier this week and he is moving around and talking and doing much better,” said Delacour. “Cognitively, it seems as if he is almost back to normal. He has lost a lot of weight and gone from Popeye muscles to looking as if he could ride races, but for everything he has been through, everyone is very encouraged.”
RTCA, Tampa Bay Downs Division chaplain Rafael Santana conducts weekly non-denominational church services and provides counseling, and English lessons and computer training are available in the chaplaincy office. The chaplaincy sponsors four soccer teams that play on Monday and Tuesday and three softball teams that play Friday nights.
The group is also organizing a fishing trip March 18 in the Gulf of Mexico off Clearwater.
As Tampa Bay Downs Division chaplaincy President Sharyn Wasiluk has noted, “We can’t save the world, but we can try to make this place. … better. The backside is our own little town and I want to be sure people here can be taken care of.”
Anyone wishing to participate in the March 4 festivities may call (813) 494-1870 or (813) 298-1576 to reserve a spot. The cost is $100 for the tournament, dinner and auction, and $20 for the dinner and auction. Tickets are available at the Chaplain’s Office. Items to be auctioned include two tickets to the Belmont Stakes, racing and sports memorabilia, signed items, photographs and paintings.
In keeping with its mission, the RTCA, Tampa Bay Downs Division has established a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fund to assist Tranquilino. Anyone wanting to help Tranquilino and his family can make a monetary donation via PayPal at the RTCA-Tampa Bay Downs Division’s website, www.rtcatbd.org. Please specify that your donation is for the Erasmo Tranquilino Fund.
Donations can also be mailed to the track chaplaincy at RTCA-Tampa Bay Downs Division, P.O. Box 2211, Oldsmar, FL 34677. Checks should be made out to the RTCA. Again, specify that the money is for Tranquilino.
Car Giveaway. Poker players, circle Friday, March 8 on your calendars. That is when The Silks Poker Room at Tampa Bay Downs will be giving away a 2013 Toyota Camry SE to one lucky player, as well as $599 cash prizes to nine other players.
To win a drawing ticket for March 8, poker players must get an aces-full or higher hand in a game between now and March 7 using at least one card in their hand. To be eligible to win the car or a cash prize, ticket-holders must be playing or on the waiting list to play on March 8. Ten tickets will be drawn, nine for $599 and one for the car.

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