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March 02, 2018


by Mike Henry
Each of the six $100,000 races for Florida-breds on Sunday, March 25 boasts a title sponsor; "Morning Glory Club" on Saturday features a documentary on the track's 92-year history and a discussion of the March 10 Festival Day 38 card.

Tampa Bay Downs has reached agreements with Horse Races NOW and DRF Bets to be title sponsors of Florida Cup Day races, giving the 16th annual event on Sunday, March 25 a full complement of six title sponsors.

Each of the races for registered Florida-bred horses offers purse money of $100,000.

The Horse Races NOW Sprint is for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of 6 furlongs on the main track. The DRF Bets Sophomore Turf is for 3-year-olds at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf course.

Horse Races NOW is a mobile application that provides live racing and video replays, as well as comprehensive news and data, for horse racing enthusiasts. Fans can customize the app to follow their favorite horses, tracks, jockeys and trainers.

DRF Bets is a service which allows members to wager at using the XpressBet wagering platform. Account holders can watch and wager on an extensive menu of Thoroughbred, harness and Quarter Horse races online and by phone.

The other Florida Cup races are the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore, for 3-year-olds going 7 furlongs on the main track; the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies, for 3-year-old females at 7 furlongs on the main; the Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf, for fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; and the EG Vodka Turf Classic, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf.

“Morning Glory Club” turns back clock. Saturday’s “Morning Glory Club” hosted by track announcer Richard Grunder will feature a 10-minute documentary highlighting the history of Tampa Bay Downs, which opened in 1926.

Andrew “Shades” Demsky, the track’s “Paddock Preview” show host who produced the video, will join Grunder to discuss the track’s top milestones and horses that have helped to make the Oldsmar oval one of the nation’s most popular winter horse racing venues.

The documentary is being shown throughout March at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where Tampa Bay Downs has been recognized as the Museum’s Industry Partner of the Month.

There is no charge to attend the “Morning Glory Club” show, which begins at 10 a.m. All can enjoy free donuts and coffee and will receive Grandstand passes. After the documentary and discussion, the Tampa Bay Downs stakes coordinator, Gerry Stanislawzyk, will give an update on the fields for the March 10 Festival Day 38 card, featuring the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby; the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes; and the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks.

Around the oval. Trainer Alfonso Macerola and owner Long Trail Stables teamed to win with both of their starters today. In the second race, they won with 10-1 shot Balada, a 6-year-old mare ridden by Samy Camacho. Macerola and Long Trail also won the fourth with first-time starter Tornero, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly ridden by Raul Mena.

Camacho rode two winners, adding the ninth race on 3-year-old colt Dreaming of J C for owner Jorge Calixto Villanueva and trainer Troy Wismer.

Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs continues Saturday with an 11-race card beginning at 12:44 p.m. The feature event is the ninth race, a $27,500 maiden special weight contest for 3-year-olds at a distance of a mile-and-40 yards on the main track.

The 2-1 favorite in the nine-horse field is the sophomore gelding Navy Armed Guard, owned by Harriette Waldron, Roger McDaniel and Robert K. Johnson and trained by Joan Scott. Ronnie Allen, Jr., is the jockey.

Navy Armed Guard has two seconds and two thirds in six career starts and finished fifth on Feb. 10 in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes.

Tampa Bay Downs races each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Easter Sunday, April 1, when the track is closed. Otherwise, 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.