Victory is one of three for leading jockey Antonio Gallardo, who has 99 in pursuit of fourth track riding title; Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve field on May 5 could include four 3-year-olds with Tampa Bay Downs credentials.
Today’s sixth race, the annual Oldsmar Cup celebrating the city’s long and fruitful relationship with Tampa Bay Downs, produced a thrilling three-horse photo finish, with winning jockey Antonio Gallardo crediting trainer and co-owner Anthony Granitz with providing the instructions that resulted in Chicory Blue’s half-length victory.
“He called me (from Indianapolis) and told me when it was time to go, to try to get (Chicory Blue) to the outside and put him in the clear,” Gallardo said after his 6-year-old Ontario-bred gelding wore down Big Silver Hoss for a half-length victory, with Best Offer a nose back in third.
“He said the horse was doing well and was easy to ride, and everything worked out perfect, just like the instructions he gave me.”
Chicory Blue, owned by Granitz in partnership with Carmen Tiritilli and Ron Venturini, completed the mile-and-40-yard distance on the main track in 1:41.03. He paid $4 as the wagering favorite in the allowance/optional claiming event for horses 4-years-old-and-upward.
Granitz claimed Chicory Blue for $8,000 last fall at Hawthorne in Illinois. He has two victories, two seconds and a third in six subsequent starts, the last five at Tampa Bay Downs.
The son of Yes It’s True-Sweetdetermination, by Alphabet Soup, is 6-for-36 lifetime.
Gallardo rode three winners on the day; with 99 for the meeting, he appears a virtual shoo-in for his fourth Oldsmar track title. Gallardo won the second race on Gotta Go Go Go, a 3-year-old filly owned by Ca Sal Stables and trained by Kathleen O’Connell. Gallardo added the ninth and final race on the turf on Whistle Me Home, a 3-year-old Florida-bred colt owned by Joseph Barbazon, Hemingway Racing and Book Buddy and trained by Ian Hemingway.
O’Connell, meanwhile, extended her lead from Gerald Bennett in the trainer standings to 42-40.
Samy Camacho rode two winners today, giving him seven this weekend and 11 over the last four racing days. Camacho won the first race on Nephew Howard D, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Lauren Santos and trained by Jacob Palacios Molina.
Camacho added the third race aboard Simply Classic, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Glorious Uncertainty Stable and trained by Brenda McCarthy.
In the seventh race, the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week, 6-5 favorite No Mercy Percy drew off to a length-and-a-half victory under jockey Mike Allen, the jockey’s 1,998th career victory. No Mercy Percy is a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly bred and owned by Endsley Oaks Farm and trained by Bill Waldron.
Around the oval. The Oldsmar oval will celebrate the world’s greatest horse race on Saturday, May 5, simulcasting the 144th edition of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. At least four horses that have competed at Tampa Bay Downs this year are expected to be part of the likely 20-horse field.
That quartet includes Saturday’s Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets winner, Vino Rosso, who won an allowance/optional claiming race here on Dec. 22, then finished third in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes and fourth in the Grade II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby; the Grade II Toyota Blue Grass runner-up Flameaway, who won the Sam F. Davis Stakes and finished second in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby; Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip, expected to start in Saturday’s Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park; and unbeaten Magnum Moon, who won the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn after capturing an allowance/optional claiming race here on Feb. 15 and is also expected to try the Arkansas Derby.
Vino Rosso and Magnum Moon are trained by Todd Pletcher, whose two Kentucky Derby victories have been with horses that competed at Tampa Bay Downs: Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming last year.
Mark Casse trains Flameaway and Rodolphe Brisset conditions Quip.
In addition to the festivities surrounding the Run for the Roses, Tampa Bay Downs will present two new stakes on the first Saturday in May, both valued at $100,000: the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Both races are for FTBOA-registered Florida-bred horses sired by FTBOA-registered stallions which are FSS-eligible and will be contested on the main track at a distance of a mile-and-40-yards.
Thoroughbred racing continues Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:35 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs will conduct racing each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 6, with the exception of May 2.
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.