Jackson, Wildwood's Beauty seek repeats of earlier Oldsmar successes; "Touch Vodka Breakfast at the Downs" offers flavor of racing in the sunshine.
A pair of two-time Tampa Bay Downs stakes winners, track record-holding 3-year-old colt Jackson and 3-year-old filly Wildwood’s Beauty, are the morning-line favorites for Saturday’s $125,000 Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association-sponsored stakes races for registered Florida-breds sired by registered Florida stallions.
Jackson and Wildwood’s Beauty each will face five rivals in their respective 7-furlong, main-track races. Jackson heads the field for the FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes, which is the fifth race, and Wildwood’s Beauty is the one to beat in the FTBOA City of Ocala FSS, scheduled as the third.
The 10-race card begins at 12:20 p.m. But racing fans and relative newcomers will want to arrive early to enjoy “Touch Vodka Breakfast at the Downs,” an opportunity to meet new friends while experiencing the ambience of a morning at the racetrack.
“Touch Vodka Breakfast at the Downs” begins at 9 a.m. Saturday under the Trackside Picnic Pavilion Tent north of the paddock. The cost is $10, which includes a hearty breakfast, a Touch Vodka Bloody Mary (adults only), a racing program and admission to the day’s races.
Fans can get an up-close view of morning workouts from 9-10 a.m. and meet with trainers, jockeys and racing officials.
Back to the racetrack, where Jackson seeks to re-establish the affinity he displayed for the Tampa Bay Downs surface last spring. He won the Florida Cup Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore Stakes and the FTBOA Silver Charm FSS back-to-back, setting a track record in the latter of 1:38.86 for a mile-and-40-yards.
Jackson is 4-for-13 lifetime with four seconds. Owned by Tracy Pinchin and trained by her husband, Jose Pinchin, Jackson, who will break from the outside No. 6 post position, will be ridden by Pablo Morales.
A likely contender in the FTBOA Marion County FSS is Well Defined, a gelding who won the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes here on Feb. 9. Winless in four subsequent starts, he managed a third-place finish Sept. 28 in the FTBOA Florida Sire Wildcat Heir Stakes at Gulfstream and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line.
Kathleen O’Connell trains Well Defined, who is owned by his breeder, Stonehedge, LLC, and will be ridden by Antonio Gallardo. He will break from the No. 2 post.
The other FTBOA Marion County FSS entrants include Awesome Action, who will break from the No. 1 post under Jose Batista; No. 3 R Mercedes Boy, to be ridden by Samy Camacho; No. 4 Gump, Jairo Rendon in the irons; and No. 5 Cajun Firecracker, Daniel Centeno aboard.
Meanwhile, FTBOA City of Ocala FSS favorite Wildwood’s Beauty has been a paragon of consistency throughout her career, with five victories – four in stakes races – and four seconds from 10 starts. The 6-5 morning-line favorite, she will break from the No. 2 post under Camacho.
Owned by William Stiritz and trained by Scott Becker, Wildwood’s Beauty captured her stakes debut here on March 31 in the Florida Cup Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies Stakes and added the FTBOA Ivanavinalot FSS five weeks later.
Since Sept. 7, her record includes a victory in the Sheer Drama Stakes at Gulfstream Park; a second-place finish against males in the FTBOA Florida Sire Wildcat Heir Stakes at Gulfstream; and a victory in the Millions Distaff Stakes on Nov. 9 at Gulfstream Park West.
The second choice on the morning line at 3-2 is the lightly raced but impressive J P’s Delight, who won a $35,000 maiden claiming contest on July 26 at Gulfstream by 9 ¼ lengths in her career debut and returned on Oct. 11 to win a conditional allowance at Gulfstream Park West by 6 ¼ lengths.
Owned by Brent Fernung and Eugene Cahalan and trained by O’Connell, J P’s Delight will break from the No. 5 post under Jairo Rendon.
The remainder of the FTBOA City of Ocala FSS includes Pippas Poppy, who will break from the No. 1 post with Angel Suarez aboard; No. 3 Moon Eyes, Gallardo up; No. 4 R Prerogative, Alonso Quinonez in the irons; and No. 6 Bimini, with Centeno.
Around the oval. Samy Camacho rode winners today in the third and fourth races. First, he piloted 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Miley to a maiden-breaking turf victory for breeder-owner Arindel and trainer Juan Alvarado. Camacho next won on 5-year-old gelding Pollock for owners Laura and Neil Barrish and trainer Michael Dini.
Antonio Gallardo and Alonso Quinonez also rode two winners apiece. Gallardo captured the second race on King Daddio, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Ca Sal Stables and trained by Kathleen O’Connell. Gallardo also won the ninth race on the turf on Whispering Wanda, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Six SandBaggers Stables and trained by Baltazar Galvan.
Quinonez was victorious in the first race on 3-year-old gelding Johnnythetireman for owner Anne-33 and trainer Padarath Lutchman. The rider also won the eighth race with 3-year-old gelding I’m a G Six for owner-trainer Tim Padilla.
Tampa Bay Downs currently races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday schedule, with Sundays added to the mix on Dec. 22. The track is open every day except Christmas, Dec. 25 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.