Jockeys Leandro Goncalves, Ronnie Allen, Jr. and Rosemary Homeister, Jr., have put some distance between themselves and their pursuers in the Tampa Bay Downs jockey standings through the first quarter of the 2011-12 Thoroughbred meeting.
Goncalves, who rode four winners on Sunday’s card, added one Wednesday in the fourth race aboard the Robert O’Connor II-trained colt Adaro to increase his meet-leading total to 28.
Last year’s track riding champion, Allen, picked up two victories, giving him 21 for the meet. He first helped the Kathleen Guciardo-trained filly Royally Sweet break her maiden in the first race.
Allen then piloted Ian Wilkes’ classy gelding Guam Typhoon to a third-race triumph in near-track record time before rain afflicted the second half of the card, forcing two races off the turf.
Homeister kept the top two within her sights by capturing the sixth race on the turf aboard the 5-year-old mare Lucky Lass for current leading trainer Jamie Ness. Homeister has 18 victories.
Daniel Coa took over fourth place alone Wednesday with 13 victories when he won the eighth race in the slop in a photo finish on I.E. Flash, a 12-1 shot trained by Chad Stewart. Tied for fifth place with 12 victories through Wednesday’s action are Pablo Morales and Ricardo Feliciano. Next in line with 11 is Angel Serpa, who has begun to attract notice after winning Saturday’s Gasparilla Stakes on Salad Girl and finishing second in the Pasco Stakes with Wildcat Creek.
Regular race goers are not surprised to see Ness atop the trainer standings with a staggering 20 victories from 47 starters. Ness has won five consecutive Tampa Bay Downs training titles (he tied last season with Gerald Bennett and the previous season with Kathleen O’Connell).
Perhaps not surprisingly, Bennett and O’Connell have each saddled nine winners, one more than Tampa Bay Downs newcomer Dennis Ward. Next with six each are Lynne Scace, Leigh Delacour, Joan Scott and Greg Griffith.
Ward, who has sent out his eight winners from only 25 starters, with five seconds, is the latest Hurricane Grill & Wings Trainer of the Month. He is the father of trainer Wesley Ward, the 1984 Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s leading apprentice jockey.
Guam Typhoon signaled his readiness for a return to stakes competition by winning Wednesday’s third race, a seven-furlong, allowance/optional claiming event for older horses, in a time of 1:22.77, .64 seconds off the Tampa Bay Downs track record set by Manicero last season.
Guam Typhoon had finished second in his previous outing at Tampa Bay Downs, a six-furlong allowance/optional claiming race, on Jan. 6.
After racing in third place in the early going, 6-year-old gelding Guam Typhoon sped past pace setter Tripp O Steel turning for home. Under confident handling by Allen, Guam Typhoon powered to a 3 ¾-length victory from Thank U Philippe, with Tripp O Steel finishing third in the six-horse field.
Guam Typhoon paid $3 as the heavy betting favorite.
Owned by SIGI Racing and trained by Ian Wilkes, Guam Typhoon – by Distorted Humor out of La Cucina, by Last Tycoon – is a half-brother to Grade II winners Miss Isella and Sir Cherokee. Wednesday’s victory was his sixth in 18 career starts, but Guam Typhoon still is seeking his first stakes victory.
As a 3-year-old, he finished second in the Pleasant Colony Stakes at Saratoga and the following year at Tampa Bay Downs was second by a half-length to Musket Man in the seven-furlong Super Stakes. Guam Typhoon ran fourth in last year’s six-furlong Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Live racing continues today through Sunday at Tampa Bay Downs, with a first-race post time of 12:25 p.m. 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.