A visit from top trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr., on "Morning Glory Club," outstanding horses working out and an opportunity to get a head start on your handicapping -- with a late Pick-5 carryover pool of $18,529.87 and the Pegasus World Cup Invitational from Gulfstream -- are just a few of the enticements; Antonio Gallardo rides three winners.
There are several good reasons for racing fans to arrive at Tampa Bay Downs earlier than usual Saturday.
For starters, track announcer Richard Grunder’s “Morning Glory Club” Show at 10 a.m. features Luis Carvajal, Jr., the trainer of 6-year-old Imperial Hint, a multiple-Grade I winner and two-time finalist for an Eclipse Award in the Male Sprinter category.
The Florida-bred Imperial Hint, who is 3-for-3 lifetime at Tampa Bay Downs, is being pointed toward the $100,000 Pelican Stakes here on Feb. 16 and could run in the $2.5-million Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates on March 30.
Free coffee and donuts as well as Grandstand passes will be given to all “Morning Glory Club” attendees.
Even earlier risers have an opportunity to watch Imperial Hint work out at 9 a.m. Saturday morning under jockey Antonio Gallardo. He should be visible by a blue saddlecloth with a gold fleur-de-lis emblem. Also expected to work at that time is trainer Ben Colebrook’s 3-year-old Knicks Go, a candidate for the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 9. Knicks Go, who won the Grade I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in October and finished second in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November, will be ridden in his workout by Jesse Garcia.
Saturday is Cap Giveaway Day, with all patrons receiving the stylish blue, orange and white caps with paid admission, while supplies last. Morning Glory Club guests will need to pass through the turnstiles to get their cap. During the racing action, many of the track’s jockeys will be available to autograph caps and other items on the first floor of the Grandstand.
Getting here early will also give punters a chance to handicap the late Pick-5 wager, which starts with a carryover pool of $18,529.87, since no one hit it today. Consecutive win payoffs of $148.80, $31.20 and $27.40 in the fifth, sixth and seventh races effectively dashed today’s Pick-5 ambitions.
The carryover will apply to the late Pick-5 on races 6-through-10. The wager requires bettors to correctly select the winners of each race.
A 10-race card that includes four turf races begins at 12:18 p.m. The feature is the eighth race, a $23,000 starter allowance at a mile on the turf for horses 4-years-old-and-upward which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2018-2019. An overflow field of 12 is entered, with 5-year-old gelding Birdsnest Party, from the barn of trainer Michael Stidham, the 3-1 morning-line favorite.
And we’d be remiss not to mention the simulcast from Gulfstream Park of the Grade I, $9-million, mile-and-an-eighth Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the 12th race on a card that begins down south at 11:30 a.m. Tampa Bay Downs will open its pari-mutuel windows at 11:15 for bettors wanting to play Gulfstream.
The morning-line favorite at 9-5 in the 12-horse Pegasus World Cup Invitational field is Accelerate, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner who earned an Eclipse Award as Champion Older Dirt Male and finished second in Horse of the Year balloting to Triple Crown winner Justify. He will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Eight other stakes races are scheduled at Gulfstream, including the Grade I, $7-million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, which is the 11th race.
Around the oval. Antonio Gallardo rode three winners today. The four-time Oldsmar riding champion was aboard Monkey Mind in the second race on the turf for owners Vince Campanella and Nation’s Racing Stable and trainer Keith Nations. Gallardo next won the third race on Sweet Daddio, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Marion Montanari and Ellen Epstein and trained by Kathleen O’Connell.
Gallardo added the ninth and final race on the turf on Channel Strike, a 3-year-old colt owned by Randy L. Klopp and Kenneth Meyer and trained by Klopp.
Jose A. Bracho rode two winners. He shocked just about everyone by winning the fifth race on Februarysexclusive, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly who paid $148.80 to win. She is owned by MPK Stable and trained by her breeder, Martin Paramo. Bracho added the eighth race with Lord Dragon, a 3-year-old colt owned by Imperial Racing and trained by Jordan Blair.
Tampa Bay Downs is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.