• tbd logo
  • tbd logo
  • Home
        • Live Horse Racing

          Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday

        • Visitor Information
        • Upcoming Events

        • Live Feed
        • Latest News
        • General Inquiries, directions to the track

          Contact TBD
        • Located on the third floor

          Contact Poker
        • Located at the south entrance of the track

          Contact Golf
        • Plan your event or make reservations

          Contact Events

Racing News

Published Apr 14, 2024
by Mike Henry
Samy Camacho





April 14, 2024

813-855-4401 Ext. 1367




OLDSMAR, FL. – No one could have expected leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Samy Camacho to duplicate his performance of last season, when his 114 victories were more than double the number posted by runner-up Jose Ferrer, who finished with 56.

But even though it’s likely he will win his fourth consecutive Oldsmar title and fifth overall, the 35-year-old Venezuelan has never generated the momentum that has made him such a crowd favorite since riding 123 winners for his first title five years ago.

On a day when leading trainer Kathleen O’Connell cemented her third track training title (and first since 2009-2010) by saddling three winners, Camacho won once to boost his meet total to 76 winners, eight more than Antonio Gallardo, himself a five-time Tampa Bay Downs champion.

Camacho has four stakes victories, and his 18.5-percent win rate is better than all local jockeys with 100 or more mounts other than Gallardo, who is at 20.8 percent. He is on track to join Gallardo as a five-time track champion (Daniel Centeno and former jockey Mike Manganello have each won six).

Camacho, who turns 36 on May 27, knows the only way to get there is by taking one race at a time – a top-10 cliche, yet essential to a jockey’s success, safety and peace of mind.

“Obviously I want to win another title, but I’m just focusing on winning races and keeping my trainers and owners happy,” he said. “I believe a lot in God and I believe a lot in myself, and I try to always stay positive. The only way I can get beat (for the title) is if I get hurt or if I get days from the stewards.”

Both, in fact, have happened multiple times this season. Although none of his injuries were serious, Camacho thinks he might have come back too soon on a couple of occasions.

But there is no looking back at this late stage, because a couple of three-win performances by Gallardo could change things in a hurry.

Camacho’s agent Mike Moran, who was Gallardo’s agent for each of his Tampa Bay Downs titles, knows it’s the time of the meet when most jockeys can’t help but look ahead. He and Camacho will be based this summer at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, where the rider finished second last summer with 45 winners despite being sidelined more than five weeks with a right shoulder injury.

Monmouth Park begins its meet on May 11, a week after Tampa Bay Downs wraps up.

“This is a tough business and no one is promised anything,” said Moran, a former jockey who won a title here in 1978 when the track was called Florida Downs. “So every day you keep working. Samy wants to do the best he can for everybody he rides for, and I’m working my butt off to get him live mounts.

“Then, you just hope the horse shows up.”

During a meet in which Gallardo has been a constant threat to his three-year dominance, veterans Daniel Centeno and Jose Ferrer have ridden at a consistently high level and apprentice jockeys Gabriel Maldonado and Melissa Iorio have exceeded all expectations, it’s certainly arguable Camacho deserves more credit than he has received for staying on top.

Still, anything less than another crown will be a disappointment. Camacho knows he has to let things come naturally to make it happen, not always easy for someone who drives himself hard to stay on top.

“This (Tampa Bay Downs) is my house. This is the racetrack that gave me the opportunity to grow, and I really appreciate that and all the trainers and people here who have been involved in my career,” he said.

One thing for sure: He’ll need their help to hold the top spot.

No More Time injured, will miss Kentucky Derby. No More Time, who won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes here on Feb. 10 and finished second to Domestic Product in the Grade III Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9, was injured during a workout this morning at Palm Meadows Training Center and will miss the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4.

After No More Time breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01.90, trainer Jose Francisco D’Angelo discovered he was not right at the barn. X-rays revealed a condylar fracture of the colt’s left front leg. D’Angelo said he will undergo surgery at Ocala Equine Hospital and the prognosis is good for a full recovery.

That reduces to three the number of possible Kentucky Derby starters who have competed at Tampa Bay Downs this season: trainer Chad Brown’s Domestic Product, Larry Demeritte’s West Saratoga, who finished third in the Sam F. Davis and second in the Pasco Stakes, and Victor Barboza, Jr.’s Grand Mo the First, who finished third in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

Around the oval. Kathleen O’Connell’s three training victories gave her 45 for the meet, 15 more than Gregg Sacco and Jose Francisco D’Angelo. O’Connell won the fifth race on the turf with My Favorite Topic, a 4-year-old colt owned by Windylea Farm and ridden by apprentice Gabriel Maldonado.

My Favorite Topic was claimed from the race for $25,000 by trainer Maria Bowersock for new owner Ken T. Reimer.

O’Connell teamed with apprentice Melissa Iorio for her next two triumphs. They won the sixth, the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week, with 3-year-old Florida-bred colt Banded Rocket, owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and CaSal Stables. “K.O.” and Iorio added the ninth and final race on the turf with Likebelivingnmagic, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Dennis Holman and Kathleen O’Connell Racing Stable.

Sacco, who was 4-for-4 this weekend, swept the early daily double. He won the first race with Jersey Perfection, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Samrock Stables and ridden by Maldonado. Sacco added the second race with Red Oak Stable’s Just Beat the Odds, with Camacho aboard. The 4-year-old colt’s time of 1:15.62 for the 6 ½-furlong distance was .15 seconds off Action Andy’s 12-year-old track record.

Thoroughbred racing continues Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:20 p.m. 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.



Samy Camacho

Live Racing Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays

Approximate Post Time 12:15 pm
Live Racing
May 2024
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

Stay ahead of the pack and never miss a hoofbeat! Subscribe to our Racing Newsletter today to get the latest updates, race previews, insider tips, and all the exciting stories from the world of horse racing delivered right to your inbox.

Recent News