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January 22, 2020

FERRER RIDES THREE WINNERS; THURSDAY CARD ON TAP

by Mike Henry
Jockey Jose Ferrer doesn't have to "remember when" -- he's never forgotten; free admission for special Thursday card; Cap Giveaway Day is Saturday.

There was no sticking to the speed limit today at Tampa Bay Downs for 55-year-old jockey Jose Ferrer.

The recipient of the 2018 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award rode three winners, moving into a tie for seventh place at the meeting with 11 victories. Ferrer has ridden 4,468 winners in his career.

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Jose Ferrer

The Tampa resident won the fourth race on Elusive Ryder, a 6-year-old mare owned and trained by Moises Yanez. He added the sixth race aboard Forefront, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Lucky Man Racing and trained by Tom A. Clark.

Ferrer returned to the winner’s circle after the eighth race on Simply Great, a 6-year-old Florida-bred mare owned and trained by Kent Sweezey. Simply Great was claimed from that effort for $8,000 by trainer Bobby Raymond for new owner Douglas Jones.

Ferrer is a physical-fitness enthusiast who has never lost his desire to compete at a high level despite his share of injuries. About five months before winning the Woolf Award, in September of 2017, he incurred a collapsed lung, eight broken ribs and three fractured vertebrae in a spill at Delaware Park. He returned to action in 11 weeks, about two months sooner than expected.

The Woolf Award honors a rider whose career and personal character earn esteem for the individual and for Thoroughbred racing. It is decided by a vote of active jockeys across the country.

Ferrer finished ninth at Tampa Bay Downs in 2018-2019 with 27 winners, then won 59 races at Monmouth Park to finish third, a year after winning the New Jersey track’s riding title.

“People’s horse” wins third. In today’s third race, a $20,000 claiming contest for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on the turf, Tampa Bay Owners Club horse Matinee Girl broke on top and was never headed, cruising home under jockey Harry Hernandez to a 3-length victory from Little Maria.

Matinee Girl, a Florida-bred daughter of 2010 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Big Drama, is owned by Pinnacle Racing Stable and trained by Kathleen O’Connell. She is also “owned” by 30 race-goers who correctly selected her to win the annual “Tampa Bay Owners Club” race on Dec. 7, which was a maiden claiming race on the turf.

Each time Matinee Girl competes during the current meeting, her fantasy owners receive free admission and a program, a mutuel voucher, an ownership pin and discounts at the concession stand by presenting their certificate of ownership. They are able to visit the paddock before each race in which Matinee Girl runs and welcome to have their picture taken with her in the winner’s circle.

Around the oval. Samy Camacho rode two winners today. Camacho won the first race on Nominal Dollars, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Olympia Stables and trained by Kathleen Guciardo. He added the seventh race on the turf aboard Total Tap, a 6-year-old gelding owned by David Gruskos and trained by Jose H. Delgado.

Thoroughbred racing continues Thursday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:45 p.m. General admission is free. The program is a makeup for the Dec. 22 card that was cancelled due to weather. Following Thursday’s action, Tampa Bay Downs will conduct racing each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 3, with the exception of Easter Sunday, April 12, when the track is closed.

Tampa Bay Downs is open every day except Easter 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.

Cap Giveaway Day is Saturday. One of the most popular promotions on the Tampa Bay Downs calendar, Cap Giveaway Day, will be held Saturday. All fans will receive a free cap with the distinctive track logo with paid admission, while supplies last.

Jockeys will be available to sign caps on the first floor of the Grandstand throughout the day, as their schedules allow.