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April 28, 2018


by Mike Henry
The winner of the May 5 FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes earns retirement at Old Friends, where the celebrated Hall of Fame Florida-bred for whom the race is named resides; Antonio Gallardo and Samy Camacho each ride three winners, helping Gerald Bennett and Kathleen O'Connell remain tied atop the trainer standings.

Colts and geldings that compete in the inaugural $100,000 Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes on Saturday, May 5 at Tampa Bay Downs will be racing for more than the winner’s purse.

The race is a “Win & You’re In” opportunity for the winner, who will earn an invitation to spend his post-racing or breeding career at the Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization caring for more than 175 retired racehorses, with its Dream Chase Farm open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, N.Y., known as Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division.

The FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds is named for the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2007.

The 24-year-old Florida-bred, who amassed more than $6.9-million in career earnings for owners Robert and Beverly Lewis and trainer Bob Baffert, was returned to the United States from stud duty in Japan in 2014 by the Lewis family and Three Chimneys Farm and is pensioned at Old Friends in Kentucky.

Bred by Mary Lou Wootton, Silver Charm (by Silver Buck, out of Bonnie’s Poker, by Poker), who finished second in the Belmont Stakes to Touch Gold, was voted an Eclipse Award as 1997 Champion 3-Year-Old-Male. He won the Dubai World Cup the following year.

The FTBOA Museum and Gallery, located at 801 SW 60th Ave. in Ocala, Fla., will honor Silver Charm with an art exhibition opening Friday at 2:30 p.m. The exhibition will run through the end of May.

Also on the Oldsmar oval’s May 5 Kentucky Derby Day card is the $100,000 Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners Association Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Ivanavinalot, an 18-year-old Florida-bred broodmare who raced for breeder Gilbert G. Campbell and was trained by Kathleen O’Connell, was a Grade II and multiple-stakes winner who earned almost $650,000. She has excelled in her second career as well, her most notable offspring being the Medaglia d’Oro-sired Songbird, a two-time Eclipse award winner who won 13 of 15 starts (including nine Grade I events) and earned $4,692,000.

Both races are for FTBOA-registered Florida-bred sophomores sired by FTBOA-registered stallions which are FSS-eligible and will be contested at a distance of a mile-and-40-yards on the main track.

Around the oval. Past champions Gerald Bennett, the two-time defending champion, and Kathleen O’Connell continue to stage a spirited duel in the meeting’s trainers race, with both conditioners sending out two winners today to remain tied, 48-48.

The meeting has five days to run: Sunday; Friday; Saturday, May 5; Sunday, May 6; and June 30, which is the first day of the track’s two-day “Summer Festival of Racing.”

Leading jockey Antonio Gallardo, who rode three winners to give him six in the last two days and 118 for the meeting, helped both trainers. He won the third race on the turf for O’Connell and owner Stonehedge, LLC aboard 3-year-old filly Humorous Song, who was elevated from second by the stewards after apparent winner Hera was disqualified for interference in the stretch.

Gallardo also won the fifth on the turf on the O’Connell-trained Admirals Cove, owned by William J. Punk, Jr., Philip DiLeo and Stone Farm. Admirals Cove was claimed from the race by trainer Elliot Sullivan for new owner Bruno Schickedanz.

Gallardo also won the sixth race on the turf, the Lambholm South Race of the Week, with Bennett’s Cowgirl Tough, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare owned by Tropic Lightning Racing.

Bennett’s other winner came in the first race with his Winning Stables’ 8-year-old gelding Bonetown Wild, who was ridden by Samy Camacho. That jockey also won three races.

Camacho won the seventh race on 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding Vive Le Roi, owned by Arboritanza Racing and Hallmarc Racing and trained by Joseph Arboritanza, and the eighth on the turf on 5-year-old gelding Vintage Time for owner Bruno Schickedanz and trainer Elliot Sullivan.

Camacho has ridden 40 winners over the last 18 Oldsmar racing days.

A nine-race card is slated for Sunday, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs 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.

On Saturday, May 5, Tampa Bay Downs will conduct a “Kentucky Derby Day Hat Contest” as part of its Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve celebration. Winners will be chosen in men’s, women’s and children’s divisions. Participants will be required to register in the Gift Shop on the first floor of the Grandstand.

Pictures of finalists in each division will be posted on the Tampa Bay Downs Twitter page, with fans voting for the best hats. Winners in each division will receive certificates for Gift Shop merchandise, and the overall winner will receive a cash prize.

Three horses that have competed at Tampa Bay Downs this season are expected to be part of a 20-horse field of 3-year-olds on Saturday, May 5 for the mile-and-a-quarter Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, the first leg of the Triple Crown.

That trio includes Flameaway, winner of the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes and runner-up in the Grade II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby; unbeaten Magnum Moon, who won an allowance/optional claiming race here on Feb. 15 and has since won the Grade II Rebel Stakes and Grade I Arkansas Derby; and Vino Rosso, who won an allowance/optional claiming race here on Dec. 22 and finished third in the Sam F. Davis and fourth in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby before winning the Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct.

The connections of Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip have decided to point their colt to the Preakness on May 19 at Pimlico.

Available reserved seating on Kentucky Derby Day at the Oldsmar oval is limited to Grandstand seats at $10 each. All other seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Fans may reserve seats by visiting on the Internet and clicking the “PREMIER DAY TICKETS” icon.

Mint juleps will be sold in commemorative Kentucky Derby glasses.

Sunday, May 6 is Fan Appreciation Day at Tampa Bay Downs, with free parking and free Grandstand admission and discounted prices on draft beers, sodas and Nathan’s Hot Dogs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.