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Racing News

Published Apr 6, 2024
by Mike Henry
Leading trainer Kathleen O'Connell

Kathleen O’Connell moved ever closer to her third Tampa Bay Downs training title, winning the sixth race with her 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Bucchanera.

Winning for the first time in four career starts, the winner paid $37.40 in defeating 11 other maiden sophomore fillies. Angel Moreno rode Bucchanera for O’Connell and owner Fabian Garcia.

Bucchanera and runner-up Grand Lady Indy both withstood claims of foul lodged by jockey Scott Spieth aboard fifth-place finisher Miss Claudette for alleged interference at the start. The stewards disallowed both claims.

Four of today’s last five races were won by longshots, preventing Pick 5 players from hitting the 8-6-3-11-9 combination. As a result, there is a carryover pool of $33,279 entering Sunday’s late Pick 5, which will begin with the fifth race.

O’Connell, North America’s all-time leading woman trainer in career victories with 2,470, has sent out 41 winners this season, 11 more than Oldsmar newcomer Jose Francisco D’Angelo. Gerald Bennett, who has won the previous eight titles, is third with 26.

A Detroit product, O’Connell captured titles here in 1998-1999 and 2009-2010, tying with Jamie Ness that season.

With 16 days remaining in the meet, the odds against her closest pursuers catching “K.O.” are remote, but the cake is still in the oven.

Brown wins two. Chad Brown entered 17 horses today, spread between Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream Park, Aqueduct and Keeneland, where he sent out a trio of contenders in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

He came within a nose of winning with all three starters here, with jockey Vincent Cheminaud winning the third on 3-year-old colt Gallic Charm and the seventh on 4-year-old filly Maman Joon. Cheminaud finished second in the fifth race, the Lambholm South Race of the Week, on 4-year-old filly Startup Mentality.

Each of those races was contested on the turf course.

Brown, who won the Grade III Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 with Domestic Product, is in eighth place in the standings with 15 winners. His 33-percent strike rate is best among Tampa Bay Downs trainers with 30 or more starters.

Trainer H. Graham Motion’s 4-year-old filly Classic Vinyl kept Brown from enjoying a perfect day in Oldsmar. Kept in the clear throughout the mile race by Boot Barn Jockey of the Month Pablo Morales, Classic Vinyl launched a furious stretch rally to catch leader Damaso, then held off Startup Mentality’s belated charge. Classic Vinyl paid $45.60 to win.

Oldsmar Cup is Sunday. The City of Oldsmar and Tampa Bay Downs will celebrate their longstanding relationship with Sunday’s fourth race, a mile-and-a-sixteenth turf contest featuring seven horses 4-years-old-and-upward.

Admission is free for all Oldsmar residents with valid IDs. Post time for Sunday’s first race is 12:19 p.m.

Oldsmar was founded in 1916 by American automotive industry pioneer Ransom Eli “R.E.” Olds, after whom the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. Tampa Bay Downs opened 10 years later, and the city and the racetrack have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship for much of the past century, with notable breaks during the Great Depression and World War II..

The Oldsmar Cup field boasts two potential standouts in trainer Tim Padilla’s 7-year-old gelding Drama Chorus, a two-time winner of the Florida Cup Turf Classic, and conditioner Mark Casse’s 4-year-old colt Eyes On the King.

Sunday is also Mouse’s Kids and Family Day in the Backyard Picnic Area, with games, bounce houses and pony rides. Fans will have a chance to meet track mascot Mouse the Miniature Horse.

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.




Leading trainer Kathleen O'Connell

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