Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance recognized after fifth race; Raul Mena rides two winners, leads Jockeys' Challenge standings; trainer Patty A. Burns sends out two winners.
Tampa Bay Downs bid farewell to most of its participants after its May 5 Fan Appreciation Day card. But the 2018-2019 meeting officially reached the finish line with today’s eight-race program, the first day of the seventh annual, two-day Summer Festival of Racing.
Despite a 15-minute downpour that began before the start of the second race and forced four races to be switched from the turf to the main track, an enthusiastic crowd helped owners, trainers and jockeys herald the conclusion of a 91-day season season highlighted by the record-breaking performance of Tacitus in the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9.
Today’s Thoroughbred competition was followed by the third edition of the Corgi Races for canines, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Corgi Meetup Group and Bad Azz Dogz.
Monday’s eight-race card begins at 12:30 p.m. and represents the start of the 2019-2020 meeting, which is then expected to resume in late November. Racing will return to the turf course, weather permitting.
Today’s featured fifth race, the $20,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) Purse for maidens 3-years-old-and-upward, was won in impressive fashion by Luis Two Guns, who romped to a 15-length victory from Snicker Kicker in a time of 1:41.83 for the mile-and-40-yard distance. The victorious 4-year-old Florida-bred colt was ridden by Ademar Santos for owners Anne Rose Adametz and Robert E. Van Worp and trainer Patty A. Burns.
After the race, Tampa Bay Downs Vice President-General Manager Peter Berube and TBD Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association President Bob Jeffries made a presentation on behalf of the TAA to the winning connections.
The TAA accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retrain, retire and re-home Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding after their racing careers. The TAA is affiliated with Thoroughbred Retirement of Tampa (TROT), which got its start in 2003.
A major feature of the Summer Festival of Racing is the $5,000 Jockeys’ Challenge, in which riders compete over the two days for the $2,500 first-place prize, $1,500 runner-up award and $1,000 third-place bonus.
Raul Mena rode two winners today to take the first-day lead with 46 points. Mena won the first race on the turf on Not Nice, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare owned by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Yvon Belsoeur. Mena also rode third-race winner Wine Bottle, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Robert G. Smith and Rick George and trained by Smith.
Ademar Santos is second with 39 points, followed by Charles C. Lopez, 34; Keiber Coa, 27; and Marcos Meneses, 21.
Burns sent out two winners. In addition to Luis Two Guns, she won the seventh race with 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding Rhombus, whom she also owns. Wesley Henry was the jockey.
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.