Preliminary weather forecast for Feb. 9 megastakes card is excellent, we'll keep you posted; jocks Antonio Gallardo, Samy Camacho play riveting game of "Can you top this?"
The countdown has begun for Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South, a four-stakes spectacular on Feb. 9.
The showcase is the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a mile-and-a-sixteenth event for 3-year-olds looking to take an important step toward Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve eligibility. The Sam F. Davis awards “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points to the first four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale.
Trainer Ben Colebrook has already stated his intention to enter Knicks Go, the striking gray who won the Grade I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity last October at Keeneland at odds of 70-1 and finished second in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs the following month at 40-1.
The Sam F. Davis is the major prep race for the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9.
Other stakes on the Feb. 9 program include the Grade III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour, for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; the Grade III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes, for horses 4-years-old and upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; and the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies and mares at a mile-and-40 yards on the main track.
The preliminary weather forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70s with partly cloudy skies and a 10-percent chance of rain. Festival Preview Day tickets are available through the track’s website, www.tampabaydowns.com
Click “Premier Day Tickets,” then click “View Full Event Details” beneath the Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South information box. Click “Buy Tickets,” and continue to follow along to reserve your seats for an afternoon of world-class championship racing.
Around the oval. Antonio Gallardo and Samy Camacho each rode three winners today. Gallardo took the second race on Small Fortune, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Asterace Group and trained by Georgina Baxter. Gallardo then went back-to-back, winning the seventh on English Laughter, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Gary Davidson and trained by Michael Stidham, and notching the eighth aboard 5-year-old gelding Yondering for breeder-owner Whitham Thoroughbreds and trainer Ian Wilkes.
Leading jockey Samy Camacho rode two winners for breeder-owner Robert C. Roffey, Jr., and trainer Chad Stewart. Camacho scored for those connections in the fifth on the turf on Hoxie, a 4-year-old homebred filly, and again in the 10th on the turf on Florida-bred 4-year-old filly Nick’s Rose. Camacho also won the sixth on American Deluxe, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Robson Thoroughbreds and trained by leading conditioner Gerald Bennett.
American Deluxe was claimed for $8,000 by trainer John Pimental for new owner Tom Redmond.
Earlier, Bennett won the first race with Exclusive Express, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly ridden by Pablo Morales and owned by James Georgeades, Gregge Dasher and Ronald Pugliese, Jr.
Morales added a second triumph in the ninth race on Pippas Poppy, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Reitman Stables and trained by Darien Rodriguez.
Saturday’s 10-race card begins at 12:40 p.m. The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with track announcer Richard Grunder’s “Morning Glory Club” Show, featuring special guest Jose Angel Garcia, who returned to riding late last season after working as a jockey’s agent.
Tampa Bay Downs conducts racing each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 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.