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March 01, 2020


by Mike Henry
All fans will receive a "Mystery Mutuel" voucher Saturday worth between $3-$1,000, with paid admission; Pablo Morales and Alonso Quinonez each ride two winners, Morales at 1,990 for career.

A limited number of reserved Grandstand seats are still available for Saturday’s Festival Day 40 Thoroughbred card at Tampa Bay Downs.

Reserved seats, which are $15, may be purchased online by visiting , clicking the “Premier Day Tickets” link and following the prompts.

General admission Grandstand seating will be available Saturday on a first-come, first-serve basis. The gates will open at 10:30 a.m., with the first of an expected 12 races starting around noon or shortly thereafter. General admission is $3.

Track officials have announced that all fans will receive a “Mystery Mutuel” voucher worth between $3-$1,000, with paid admission.

Five stakes will be contested Saturday, headed by the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-olds. The presumptive favorite is the gelding Sole Volante, who won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes here on Feb. 8 and is trained by Patrick Biancone, who also trains Ete Indien, the winner of Saturday’s Grade II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, a mile-and-a-sixteenth main-track event, is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, with the first four finishers earning qualifying points for the May 2 Run for the Roses on a 50-20-10-5 scale. Two horses that competed in the Tampa Bay Derby have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby – Street Sense, who won both races in 2007, and Super Saver, who finished third in the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby before winning at Churchill Downs.

Entries for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and the remainder of Saturday’s card will be taken Wednesday in the Tampa Bay Downs Racing Office. The Festival Day 40 program also includes the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes, for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf; the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; the Grade III, $100,000 Challenger Stakes, for horses 4-and-upward on the main track; and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes, for 3-year-olds racing a mile on the turf.

With total stakes purse money of $1-million, the significance of the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on the national 3-year-old picture and an outstanding undercard, the eyes of the Thoroughbred racing community will be squarely focused on the Oldsmar oval.

Around the oval. Pablo Morales and Alonso Quinonez each rode two winners on today’s card, with Morales’ effort raising his career victory total to 1,990. He won the seventh race on Danzo, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by CM Thoroughbreds and trained by Carlos Munoz. Morales added the ninth race on the turf aboard Fine Spirit, a 4-year-old Florida-bred colt owned by Peter Vegso and trained by Dale Bennett.

Quinonez won back-to-back races. He won the third on Clever Tale, a 4-year-old filly owned by Mina Von Voss and Excel One Racing and trained by Kelsey Danner. Quinonez added the fourth race with Epic Drama, a 6-year-old Florida-bred gelding bred and owned by Harold Queen and trained by Gerald Bennett.

Thoroughbred racing continues Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:40 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs races each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 3, with the exception of Easter Sunday, April 12, when the track is closed.

Otherwise, 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.