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Racing News

Published Jan 14, 2024
by Mike Henry

After a hiatus of five racing days from turf competition due to rainy weather, Kentucky-bred Seafarer staged an impressive stretch rally to win the fourth race on the Tampa Bay Downs lawn by 3 ¼ lengths from Turbo Millie, with Platinum Diva third.

Seafarer, a daughter of Always Dreaming – the 2017 Kentucky Derby winner who broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs as a 3-year-old – was ridden by Mychel Sanchez. She is owned by Grade 1, LLC and trained by Antonio Machado.

The return to grass produced a formful finish, as the top three finishers were all 5-2 at post time.

St. Elias Stables was a partner in Always Dreaming, who was trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, and those connections were represented a race later today in a 3-year-old maiden special weight contest by the 3-year-old colt Tireless, who broke his maiden in his fourth career start under jockey Joe Bravo.

Tireless and Bravo sat outside the other Pletcher-trained entrant in the six-horse field, Roughshod, down the backstretch of the mile-and-40-yard race, and when Bravo asked Tireless for his best, he powered past his stablemate for a ¾-length victory. Idle Union was a distant third. Tireless posted a time of 1:41.80.

Tireless is by Not This Time out of Kitty Union, by Union Rags.

“You know what’s so impressive about it?” Bravo said. “Going down the backside, (first-time starter Roughshod) really had everything his own way. But (Tireless) is really push-button. He went out there in full control and never had a nervous bone in his body, and it paid off in the last eighth of a mile.

“He saved all that energy and you saw what happened when he turned for home. We can’t be fortune-tellers, but it’s exciting to see what kind of 3-year-olds pop up this time of year,” Bravo said.

Indeed, it’s the season to always be dreaming, at least when it comes to 3-year-olds.

St. Elias owns Tireless in partnership with Repole Stable and LNJ Foxwoods and is also a co-owner of Roughshod with Ken Langone, C. Steven Duncker and Vicarage Stable.

The sixth race, the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week for 3-year-olds, was also run at a distance of a mile-and-40-yards. Crazy Mason, who was scratched from Saturday’s 7-furlong Pasco Stakes to gain experience racing around two turns, swept past Fulmineo in the stretch to post a half-length victory.

Owned by Donna Wright and the Reeves Thoroughbred Racing concern of Dean and Patti Reeves, Crazy Mason is trained by Gregg Sacco and was ridden by Mychel Sanchez.

Afterward, Sacco said Crazy Mason showed enough talent and stamina today to be pointed toward the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on Feb. 10 if he comes out of today’s race well.

Crazy Mason’s time was 1:42.31. The victory was his second from six starts.

“I was concerned with the slow fractions (51.91 seconds for 4 furlongs and 1:15.88 for 6) – he was bottled up with really nowhere to go,” Sacco said. “Mychel did the right thing, just tipped him out because I think he would have hit traffic coming into the lane.

“I was proud of him running into no fractions and with the way he finished. He really had his legs underneath him at the wire, and his gallop-out was fantastic.”

Tampa Bay Downs bettors did their homework, as Tireless paid $3 to win and Crazy Mason paid $3.40.

In addition to his victories on Crazy MAson and Seafarer, Sanchez won the seventh race on Passage of Lines, a 6-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Troy Johnson and Jagger, Inc., and trained by Jamie Ness.

“Live It Up Challenge” starts Saturday. The free “Live It Up Challenge” online handicapping contest begins Saturday and runs through March 9, which is Festival Day 44 at the Oldsmar oval. The deadline to register is 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. First prize is two seats in the 2025 High Rollers Contest (a $2,000 value), to be held next February at Tampa Bay Downs. Second, third and fourth prizes are one seat in next year’s High Rollers Contest.

There is also a $500 bonus prize for the entrant picking the most winners.

There is no cost to enter, and players may register at www.liveitupchallenge.com

All wagers are mythical. Once registered, players are required to pick one horse in two of each day’s three randomly selected “Challenge Races.” Results are determined from a $2 mythical win-place-show wager on their picks. The deadline for selections each day is 2 minutes before a race’s scheduled post time.

Players begin the contest with one free lifeline. Lifelines become necessary when a player does not enter selections for a particular day or when the player’s selection in a “Challenge Race” does not finish first, second or third.

Lifelines can be purchased as follows: eight upon signup, at $5 each; eight on Friday, Feb. 2 for $10 each; and four on Friday, Feb. 16 for $25 each.

In the event all players are eliminated before the end of the contest, the four with the highest bankrolls will be declared the winners.

For a full set of rules, visit www.liveitupchallenge.com on the Internet.

Around the oval. Leading trainer Kathleen O’Connell sent out two winners today. She captured the first race with One Violent Affair, a 4-year-old filly she owns in partnership with Dennis Holman. Laureano Sosa was the jockey. O’Connell added the eighth race with Lovely Drama, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Garth Bodkin and Kerry Reynells and ridden by Antonio Gallardo.

Thoroughbred racing continues Wednesday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:20 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs currently 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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