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January 07, 2018


by Mike Henry
Pasco Stakes nominations list features Tricks to Doo, winner of the Inaugural last month; Almond Roca nominated to Gasparilla off her smashing Sandpiper score; Wayward Lass Stakes could be a ding-donger if Tapa Tapa Tapa, Martini Glass enter; leading jockey Antonio Gallardo rides three winners, one a dead-heat.

Tricks to Doo and Almond Roca, runaway winners of their respective stakes races here on Dec. 16, head the nominations lists for the Jan. 20 Skyway Festival Day card, which features three stakes races worth a combined $300,000.

The Arnaud Delacour-trained colt Tricks to Doo, who won the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs by seven-and-a-quarter lengths, is among 25 newly-turned 3-year-old colts and geldings nominated for the 19th edition of the $125,000, 7-furlong Pasco Stakes, which has produced such subsequent graded-stakes winners as Musket Man, Prospective, Dynamic Sky and Catalina Red.

Both Musket Man (2009) and Prospective (2012) went on to win the Tampa Bay Derby.

Almond Roca, the H. Graham Motion-trained filly who won the Sandpiper by nine-and-a-quarter lengths, is one of 25 females nominated for the $125,000, 7-furlong Gasparilla Stakes, which will be contested for the 34th time.

The stakes-laden card also includes the 34th running of the $50,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth Wayward Lass Stakes for older fillies and mares.

The list of 21 nominees to that traditional Oldsmar test includes the winner of last year’s Suncoast Stakes here, 4-year-old Tapa Tapa Tapa; 5-year-old mare Martini Glass, winner of last month’s Claiming Crown Tiara at Gulfstream and a runner-up to Songbird in the Grade I Delaware Handicap last summer; Group I-winning 6-year-old mare Giulia from Uruguay; and 4-year-old Surprise Wedding, winner here on Dec. 16 of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes.

Virtually all the nominees to the Pasco and Gasparilla Stakes would be making their first starts since turning 3 on Jan. 1, should they enter. The races represent an important stepping stone in determining their futures, since the 7-furlong distance – a furlong beyond the Inaugural and Sandpiper distances – is often an indication of Thoroughbreds’ two-turn potential and/or limitations.

In addition to Tricks to Doo, the list of Pasco nominees includes horses from the barns of such top trainers as Todd Pletcher (Coltandmississippi); Ian Wilkes (Gotta Go); Kathleen O’Connell (His Name Is Sue and Lord Barna); and Michael Stidham (Supreme Aura).

Besides Almond Roca, Motion has nominated Live Large to the Gasparilla. Oldsmar trainer Gerald Bennett has four Gasparilla nominees: First Dudette, Prospective Lady, R Swift Taylor and R True Talent).

Other top conditioners represented on the nominations list include Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III (Barrier Island); Dale Romans (C. S. Incharge); Michael Maker (Homemade Salsa); Stidham (Streetlady); and William “Buff” Bradley (Upset Brewing).

Around the oval. Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Antonio Gallardo rode three winners today, one coming in a dead-heat. In the sixth race on the turf, Gallardo and his 5-year-old horse Thulean dead-heated with Shortlist and jockey Brian Pedroza. Owned by Edward Seltzer, Thulean is trained by Anthony Granitz. Shortlist, a 4-year-old colt, is owned by Robert G. Schaedle, III and trained by Christophe Clement.

Gallardo won the eighth race outright on the turf aboard My Cowboy, a 6-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Philip J. Stathatos and trained by Monte Thomas. Gallardo added the 10th race on the turf to his ledger on Barb n’ Don, a 4-year-old filly owned by Team Block, Barb and Don Reps and trained by Chris Block.

Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs continues Wednesday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:25 p.m. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.