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TAMPA TURF TEST BEGINS SATURDAY; MORALES EXPECTS TO MISS 4 MORE WEEKS
Published Dec 27, 2023
by Mike Henry

The opening legs of the Tampa Turf Test starter handicap series will be contested Saturday. Both the Fillies and Mares Division and the Horses, Colts and Geldings Division will be contested at a distance of a mile on the grass course.

Both races carry purse money of $24,000 and are for horses 3-years-old-and-upward which have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2023. The Tampa Turf Test races are part of a nine-race card scheduled to begin at 12:16 p.m.

The Fillies and Mares Division, which is the seventh race, has attracted an overflow field of 13, while the race for males, slated as the ninth, has drawn 14 entrants. Only 10 are permitted to start in each race.

Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:20 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule. The track 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.

Morales faces more time on shelf. Jockey Pablo Morales, sidelined since Nov. 26 after suffering a broken left wrist in a training accident, expects to miss about 4 more weeks after an MRI revealed two additional bone fractures and some ligament damage in the wrist.

Morales underwent the MRI testing because of persistent pain in the wrist, which is restricting the movement and strength needed to ride Thoroughbreds.

“It’s bittersweet,” Morales said of the diagnosis. “At first I thought it might be sprained, but after three weeks I knew it wasn’t getting better. It’s disappointing, but at least there is no surgery needed and I can start therapy in a couple of weeks. Everything is in place, and I just have to let it heal.”

Morales has been staying fit by riding a stationary bicycle and swimming. “I’ve been trying to work out and stay active. Once the pain is not there, I’m ready,” he said.

Morales won on three of his 11 mounts during the opening week of the 2023-2024 season. He arrived in Oldsmar after winning his fourth consecutive riding title and ninth overall at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., with 106 winners.

Morales finished third in last season’s Tampa Bay Downs standings with 53 winners.

Around the oval. Fidelightcayut, a 2-year-old New York-bred colt making his third career start and first on the turf, withstood a late challenge from Deep Strike to win today’s featured fifth race on the turf.

Fidelightcayut defeated Deep Strike by a length-and-a-half, with Outofthedark third. The winner paid $39.40. His time for the 1-mile distance was 1:37.57.

Carlos Eduardo Rojas rode Fidelightcayut for owner Hablan Los Caballos and trainer Juan Carlos Avila.

Leading jockey Samy Camacho rode two winners. He captured the seventh race on Group Hug, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Amaty Racing Stables and trained by Victor Carrasco, Jr. Camacho added the ninth and final race with Skipperini, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Andrea Puckett and trained by Dwight E. Puckett.

Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:20 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule. The track 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.

 

 

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