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

          Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday

        • Visitor Information
        • Event TicketsBuy Tickets!
        • Upcoming Events

        • Live Feed
        • Latest News

Racing News

Published Mar 9, 2024
by Mike Henry
No. 5 Domestic Product and jockey Tyler Gaffalione charge to victory in the Grade III, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (courtesy SV Photography)

If you were at Tampa Bay Downs for today’s Festival Day 44 program, it’s 100-1 you will ever forget it.

At 4:52, about a minute after 3-year-old filly Waskesiu won the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks on the turf, the tote board displaying the amount wagered on that race, the time of day and the top four finishers froze in place. And stayed that way for almost an hour.

In the interim, the 10 entrants for the day’s showcase event – the Grade III, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race – made their way to the paddock for saddling, then endured a much-longer-than-usual wait before the decision was made to proceed with the race, even though no more wagers could be taken.

Track officials also decided to cancel the 12th and final race.

“Due to the ongoing delay, the status of all wagers involving the 10th (Florida Oaks), 11th (Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby) and 12th races have yet to be resolved,” Vice President of Marketing & Publicity Margo Flynn said shortly after 7 p.m.

“The issues will be addressed tomorrow, with our first priority to pay out on all winning wagers made prior to the tote shutdown.and for refunds to be made where appropriate.”

Gates open at 11 a.m. on Sunday, with post time for the first race at 12:20 p.m.

What happened after the delay, well, if you’re a horse racing fan, made up for the bizarreness.

Didn’t it?

With the Oldsmar oval’s Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes winner No More Time appearing headed to victory, Domestic Product, who had finished second in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park a week before the Davis, surged with every fiber of his Thoroughbred heart under jockey Tyler Gaffalione to snatch the victory away.

Bedlam – at least of a variety perhaps never seen at Tampa Bay Downs, which winning trainer Chad Brown referred to earlier in the day as “a charming old track” – ensued. The connections of No More Time, at least 25 strong, flooded the winner’s circle, and Brown seemed to have no idea Domestic Product had pulled it out.

Believe it.

Whether the margin was a long nose or a short head didn’t seem to matter. The Klaravich Stables-owned son of Practical Joke earned 50 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points while improving to 2-for-5, while No More Time settled for 25, raising his total to 45 and ensuring both will get to Louisville on May 4 if the connections deem it advisable.

Grand Mo the First was third and Brown’s colt Good Money, the pace-setter, lasted for fourth.

Here’s an interesting sidelight, before we forget: Gaffalione’s father Steve Gaffalione won the 1989 Tampa Bay Derby on Storm Predictions. Domestic Product was Tyler’s first-ever mount in the race.

As for Brown, he did a commendable job after the race controlling his emotions, which still were palpable.

“He (Domestic Product) showed a lot of heart after getting bumped by (third-place finisher Grand Mo the First) and he showed a lot of perseverance,” Brown said. “He got good seasoning today. He had to rate and he was pulling a little bit off a slow pace, and I was really impressed with his heart and the fact he got his nose down on the wire.

“I think this race will serve him well moving forward. That’s why I wanted to run him here because he needed a race like this for a little more experience and a little more seasoning.”

Brown also addressed the delay.

“I was concerned about it because you know how much time it usually takes these horses to warm up and get ready to run, but then again everyone was in the same boat. So any way you look at it, from that perspective the race is going to be run fairly regardless,” he said.

“I’m happy management here decided to go ahead, because this is an important race for the Kentucky Derby and I think they should be commended for putting the (wagering) aside and running the race.”

Gaffalione, who also won the Grade III, $100,000 Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes on Skippylongstocking, was jubilant after the victory on Domestic Product.

“It worked out well because I was able to get right behind Javier (Castellano, on No More Time) the whole way and when we got around the 3/8-mile pole, he started to ask his horse and I just followed him. My horse was very responsive and he did the job well.

“That’s the thing I was most proud of coming into the stretch was that (Grand Mo the First) was kind of leaning on my horse and I felt like if I could just get him free, I had plenty of horse,” Gaffalione said. “He’s still young and he’s still learning but I was very proud when he got (No More Time) at the wire.”

Both Castellano and No More Time’s trainer, Jose Francisco D’Angelo, dealt with the defeat as well as could be expected.

“My horse ran such a great race,” Castellano said. “Unfortunately, that’s horse racing and (Domestic Product) nailed me at the wire. It was such a great race. It was a slow pace all the way on the backside, and turning for home when I asked my horse he took off. He responded, but the other horse ran a little better. I am not disappointed in my horse. He ran such a good race and sometimes it goes that way.”

“It was very close. It was a tough beat. He ran a very good race and got a perfect ride,” D’Angelo said. “I was a little sad afterward, but that’s racing. But we won more points and we’re going to the Kentucky Derby, I think. I think the 45 points he has is very good, so I think so, yes, (headed) for Kentucky. From his race today, it looks like he wants to go longer and that’s a very good thing.

“There are a lot of good things to look forward to with him.”

The scratch of 5-year-old mare Marketsegmentation, trainer Chad Brown’s Grade I-winning filly, from the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes due to illness probably altered the character of the mile-and-an-eighth turf contest, since she appeared to have a chance to be the controlling speed in a race devoid of pace.

But her absence in no way detracted from the victory by Sparkle Blue, who took over the role of leader heading into the first turn and maintained her advantage through dawdling fractions all the way to the wire.

Under jockey Jorge Ruiz, who rode Sparkle Blue in her Big Dreyfus Stakes win last July at Laurel, the 5-year-old H. Graham Motion-trained mare withstood late challenges from runner-up Aspen Grove and third-place finisher Fluffy Socks to post a half-length victory that, under the circumstances, was probably more thorough than the winning margin suggested.

Sparkle Blue’s time on the firm surface was 1:52.62, making it the slowest Hillsborough since the race was switched to nine furlongs in 2004. She paid $15.40 to win. A Grade III winner as a 3-year-old, she is now 6-for-15.

First-place money of $120,000 upped her career earnings to $818,775. Sparkle Blue is owned by Augustin Stable and Catherine Parke.

The victory was the second in the Hillsborough for Motion, who won the race in 2014 with Cloud Scapes.

“I didn’t tell (jockey Jorge Ruiz) what to do, but I had a feeling she might end up on the lead,” Motion said. “Jorge let her do her thing and she actually did it pretty easily. The fractions were soft and it looked like he had a lot of horse left. She’s a nice filly, a tough filly, and he gave her a beautiful ride.”

Ruiz believed in his filly throughout, and that may have made the difference.

“I’m very happy for the owners and for Graham. We’ve been working together with this filly and I saw there was no speed in the race,” he said. “My filly broke very well and I said ‘Let’s go, baby.’ She was galloping along very easily and she was still very strong at the end.”

Jack Sisterson, the trainer of 4-year-old runner-up Aspen Grove, was delighted with her performance.

“We are over the moon with the way she ran off the layoff. From 3 turning 4 you want to see them keep progressing and I think she did that,” Sisterson said. “If there was pace in the race it might have turned out differently, though we’re still over the moon with the way she ran. She showed a new dimension, she relaxed and she finished up.

“She’s a Grade I winner and thanks to the connections (owners Glen Hill Farm and Mrs. John Magnier) for giving her a shot as a 4-year-old.”

In the aftermath of the craziness, it was easy to overlook Waskesiu’s victory in the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. You shouldn’t. Trainer Bill Mott’s daughter of American Pharoah turned back Style Points and nine others, running with maturity under jockey Junior Alvarado.

“I am very proud of her,” Mott said. “I’ve been pointing for that race for a long time, ever since she broke her maiden. It worked out well. She came from off the pace and drove to the finish. Junior rode her beautifully. It was a very nice ride.”

Chiefswood Stables Limited owns Waskesiu, now 2-for-5.

“We had a great trip today,” Alvarado said. “Last time (on Jan. 6 in the Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream, a third-place finish) she had a terrible trip and we gave up all shot to win that race, but today we had the trip. We saved ground on both turns and I tipped her out and she was very good at the end.

“(Mott) gave her some time after the last race to get her shine again and she came out ready. She was on her toes 100 percent and when she broke away from the pony, I almost thought it was a mistake because she was very, very anxious, but that was a good sign.”

In the Grade III, $100,000 Challenger Stakes, defending champion Skippylongstocking sat off the pace set by longshot Impacto before shifting into top gear inside the 3/8-mile pole under Tyler Gaffalione. From that point it was essentially over, although Sherlock’s Jewel closed with good energy to finish two-and-a-half lengths back in second, followed by Mbagnick.

Skippylongstocking’s time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance was 1:43.12. He paid $3.40 to win as the heavy favorite in the six-horse field. He improved to 7-for-22 in his career, and the $60,000 winner’s share of the purse raised his career bankroll to $1,654,185.

Skippylongstocking is owned by Daniel Alonso.

Winning trainer Saffie A. Joseph, Jr., who watched the race from south Florida, admitted to being relieved after Skippylongstocking’s victory. Gaffalione had pulled him up in the Pegasus World Cuyp Invitational Stakes presented by Baccarat on Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park, an outcome Joseph attributed in part to that day’s weather conditions.

“It was great to get him back in the winner’s circle today, especially coming back from his last race (when he became overheated and was vanned off the track),” Joseph said. “We had to go over him really good to make sure everything was proper and be extra cautious. We covered every base and there was a lot of pressure.

“This was an important race for him and an important race for us. We were concerned with the heat and high humidity at Tampa today. One of the reasons we chose to go back there (and defend his title) was because it gets much cooler there than in south Florida. I was hoping Tampa would be a little cooler today, but it was hot. But it all worked out. Tyler rode a good one today. Thank God we’re back on track with him.”

Gaffalione said Skippylongstocking relaxed from the outset and was content to let his pilot be the messenger throughout.

“We were a little concerned he would be the only speed, but he was able to relax and let (pace-setter) Impacto go,” Gaffalione said. “Then he got into a great rhythm. Saffie brought him here ready to run. He definitely rebounded today.

“We just didn’t want to be too aggressive out of the gate – the last two starts, I might have overdone it. Hopefully this gets him back to where we need to be.”

In the $75,000, 1-mile Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf, third-choice Full Nelson remained relaxed in fourth place up the backstretch, building jockey Samy Camacho’s confidence with each stride. The colt proved he was the best through the stretch, with Fulmineo staging a good rally to finish a non-threatening second, a length-and-three-quarters behind. Move to Gold finished third.

Full Nelson’s time was 1:35.42. He paid $9.80 to win. He is now 5-for-9 (and 3-for-3 under Oldsmar leading jockey Camacho at Tampa Bay Downs). First-place money of $45,000 raised his career earnings to $132,490.

Full Nelson is owned by Gold Square LLC, Joseph R. Hardoon and trainer Jose Francisco D’Angelo, who received hearty compliments from Camacho after the race.

“What makes this horse special is the trainer,” Camacho said. “He (D’Angelo) has a great future and I’m grateful for this opportunity. (Full Nelson) surprised me because he was almost too relaxed, but when I asked him he gave me one great kick and drew away.”

D’Angelo said the options are numerous for Full Nelson, who has won four races in a row and five of his last six while joining the ranks of stakes winners in his first try.

“He ran a big race,” D’Angelo said. “I told Samy I thought the No. 2 (Rose Collector) would be on the lead and to just wait and make his move when the time came. This horse was ready today, and he just keeps improving.”

Around the oval. Trainer and co-owner Karyn Philipp saddled two winners on the card. She won the first race with 4-year-old Florida-bred filly Krabi, who paid $77.80 to win. Krabi is owned by Vaccaro Racing Stable and was ridden by Skyler Spanabel.

Philipp added the third race with Snowname, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding she owns in partnership with Erik Bruhns. Marcos Meneses was the jockey.

Thoroughbred racing continues Sunday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:20 p.m. Fans are reminded to turn their clocks ahead one hour with the start of Daylight Saving Time (on top of everything else).

Tampa Bay Downs races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule and is open every day except Easter Sunday, March 31 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.

No. 5 Domestic Product and jockey Tyler Gaffalione charge to victory in the Grade III, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (courtesy SV Photography)

Live Racing Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays

Approximate Post Time 12:15 pm
Live Racing
April 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

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