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January 21, 2018

CAP GIVEAWAY DAY IS SATURDAY; GALLARDO, CENTENO LEAD RIDER STANDINGS

by Mike Henry
You'll be stylin' if you arrive in time Saturday to get the new cap; Jose Ferrer rides two winners on today's card.

Tampa Bay Downs will conduct its annual “Cap Giveaway Day” promotion during Saturday’s Thoroughbred racing card, with patrons receiving a mesh, black-and-silver cap (with paid general admission) while supplies last.

Members of the track’s jockey colony will be available to sign the caps and other items throughout much of the day on the first floor of the Grandstand.

Saturday’s action will be complemented by full-card simulcasting from a host of tracks across the country, highlighted by racing from Gulfstream Park, which will present a stakes-laden card topped by the $16-million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

The likely favorite for the Pegasus is Gun Runner, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner who is expected to be named 2017 Horse of the Year on Thursday at the Eclipse Awards ceremony.

Through the first third of the current meeting, Antonio Gallardo and Daniel Centeno are staging a spirited competition for leading jockey honors. Gallardo, who won three consecutive Oldsmar titles from 2013-2016, has 37 victories, including Saturday’s $125,000 Pasco Stakes aboard 3-year-old colt World of Trouble.

Defending track champion Centeno, who piloted the 4-year-old filly Well Humored to victory in the $50,000 Wayward Lass Stakes, has ridden 34 winners, including 3-year-old filly Leighla in today’s sixth race. Centeno has won six Oldsmar titles, including four in a row from 2006-2010.

Ronnie Allen, Jr., himself a four-time Tampa Bay Downs jockey champion, is third with 23 victories, followed by Samy Camacho, 16; Jose Ferrer, 16; and Pablo Morales, 15.

On the trainers’ side, Kathleen O’Connell, a two-time past champion, leads the pack with 16 winners. Gerald Bennett and Arnaud Delacour are next with 11 each, followed by Dennis Ward with 10 and Michael Stidham with 9.

Heading the owners’ standings are the G.L.A. Stable of William Rodriguez Rivera and the Ridenjac Racing outfit of Dennis Ward, each with seven victories. Juan Arriagada is third with six victories.

Ridenjac, the defending champion, won today’s third race with 6-year-old gelding Tempietto, trained by Ward and ridden by apprentice jockey Jose A. Bracho.

Around the oval. In today’s ninth race, the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week, the 4-year-old Florida-bred filly Stormy Embrace turned up her game a notch, sprinting clear to a nine-and-a-quarter length victory from Orientate to Luv in the six-and-a-half furlong allowance/$32,000 optional claiming event.

Bred and owned by Matalona Thoroughbreds and trained by Kathleen O’Connell, Stormy Embrace was ridden by Wilmer Garcia. The filly’s time of 1:16.02 was .55 seconds off the track record set in 2012 by Action Andy.

Jose Ferrer rode two winners today. He captured the first race with High Heel Lady, a 7-year-old mare owned and trained by Tim Padilla (High Heel Lady was claimed from the race by trainer Dale Bennett for new owners Equiforce, Inc., Keith Hoffman and Frank Nicholson).

Ferrer also won the seventh race aboard Abie, a 6-year-old gelding owned and trained by Juan Arriagada.

Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs continues Wednesday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:25 p.m. The track presents racing each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will also race on two Thursdays: Feb. 15 and 22.

The Oldsmar oval 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.