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Racing News

Published Feb 17, 2024
by Mike Henry
scott spieth
Scott Spieth

At the start of today’s 6-furlong first race at Tampa Bay Downs, 4-year-old Florida-bred filly Immortallove broke inward from the No. 2 post, pinned her ears and attempted to take a bite out of the No. 1, Miss Easy.

Jockey Scott Spieth, who knows Immortallove can be aggressive around other horses, took immediate corrective action. “I cued her to move forward, and she spurted away from that other horse,” Spieth said. “She’s a very quick filly.”

Immortallove rolled to a 1-length victory from Oscar Gaze, marking the second career triumph for the Endsley Oaks Farm-owned runner. It was winner No. 4,998 for Spieth, who is poised to become the 35th jockey in North American history to join the 5,000 club.

Barring a change in his schedule, he’ll go for 4,999 here Wednesday in the fourth race on 8-year-old gelding Where Paradise Lay.

Aldana Spieth, the trainer of Immortallove, says her husband is showing no signs of anxiety approaching the milestone, last accomplished by Corey Lanerie on Oct. 18 at Keeneland.

“Maybe I have more (stress) than he does,” she said, laughing. “He’s not worrying. He knows he’s going to get there.”

There were some anxious moments for the couple on Feb. 5 when Spieth, who has stayed fit as a fiddle throughout his career, checked himself into Town and Country Hospital with flu-like symptoms. The diagnosis was dehydration, and he was hospitalized for two nights before returning to Aldana’s Oldsmar barn to assist with the operation of her 16-horse stable.

“He wants to be at that barn every day,” Aldana said. “He loves to get on his horses, so I knew he had to be feeling really bad.”

It didn’t take him long to get back to normal.

“I usually work six or seven horses a morning. Today I got on nine horses for her,” Spieth, 57, said. “I consider myself a very good horseman, not just a jockey, and I’m working to help build her business.”

Spieth is looking forward to his next races on Aldana’s graded stakes-placed, multiple stakes-winning 4-year-old colt Dreaming of Kona and her 3-year-old filly Yellow Feathers, who broke her maiden here on Dec. 2 by 9 ½ lengths in the swift time of 1:10.18 for 6 furlongs. Both are owned by Aldana under her Aldana Gonzalez Racing LLC banner in partnership with Lisa Ballou and her brother Steve Ballou.

Although his opportunities to compete have decreased over the last few years, Spieth has no plan of retiring upon reaching 5,000. “I feel great and I’m glad to be back in action,” he said. “I’ve always said either my mind or my body will tell me it’s time to retire, and fortunately right now it’s not an issue.”

The main issue, Scott and Aldana reveal, is whose horse he will be on for No. 5,000. “(Trainer) Gerry Bennett was telling Aldana the other day to get me two more wins so he could put me on my 5,000th, because I used to ride his horses for him in Detroit. He was razzing her pretty good,” Spieth said.

No matter who it comes for, or when, it’s even-money Spieth will be back at the barn the next morning before daybreak.

Around the oval. Charlie Marquez rode three winners today. He won the fifth and sixth races, triumphing on Swing Sammy, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Winner Circle Stables and trained by Gregg Sacco, and scoring on Incinerator, a 3-year-old colt owned by Mark B. Grier and trained by Arnaud Delacour.

Marquez added the eighth race aboard 5-year-old gelding Erlan after No More Debt, the first horse across the finish line, was disqualified for impeding another rival and placed third. Erlan is owned by Aureliano Noguez and trained by Nestor Cascallares.

That was the second winner for Cascallares, who won the fourth race on the turf, the Lambholm South Race of the Week, with 3-year-old gelding A G Diamond. Christian Dominguez rode A G Diamond for Cascallares and owner Manuel H. Gonzalez.

Antonio Gallardo rode two winners. He captured the second race on My Lords Ladyness, a 3-year-old filly owned by Morris E. Kernan, Jr., and Jagger. Inc., and trained by Jamie Ness. Gallardo added the seventh race aboard Midnight Getaway, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Jose Francisco D’Angelo.

Thoroughbred racing continues Sunday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:47 p.m. The fifth race has been switched from the turf to the main dirt track because of wet grounds.

The Mouse’s Kids & Family Days event scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled.

Tampa Bay Downs races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule 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.


scott spieth
Scott Spieth

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