Racing News

SOUTH FLORIDA INVADERS ADD INTRIGUE TO WEDNESDAY CARD

by Mike Henry

Hall of Fame and classic-winning trainers Claude “Shug” McGaughey III and William “Bill” Mott will be represented at Tampa Bay Downs on a 10-race Wednesday card that begins at 12:30 p.m.

McGaughey, the 1988 Eclipse Award winner as Outstanding Trainer who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands with Orb and the 1989 Belmont Stakes with Easy Goer, will send two horses from south Florida to the Oldsmar oval.

His 3-year-old filly My Impression, winner of a maiden special weight race at Aqueduct on Nov. 27 in her most recent start, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the sixth race, an allowance/optional claiming event at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf for sophomore distaffers. Past Tampa Bay Downs leading jockey Jose Lezcano has been named to ride.

McGaughey also plans to ship his 4-year-old colt Red Guard for the eighth race, a one-mile turf conditional allowance for horses 4-years-old-and-upward. Lezcano is named to ride the 2-1 morning-line favorite, which broke its maiden at Aqueduct in November before a fourth-place finish in an allowance/optional claiming race.

Not one to play favorites, Lezcano will ride the 4-year-old filly Il Mulino for Mott in the seventh race, a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming event on the main dirt track for fillies and mares 4-and-upward. Il Mulino won a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming race here on Dec. 26, but it came against lighter company.

Her expected rivals Wednesday include the 4-year-old filly and 5-2 morning-line favorite R Sassy Lass, from the barn of trainer Gerald Bennett. She won both the Sandpiper Stakes and the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs last season and finished second in between those efforts in the Grade III Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream. Antonio Gallardo has been named to ride.

Mott, of course, trained the two-time Horse of the Year Cigar, as well as 2010 Belmont Stakes and 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Drosselmeyer. He has won the Eclipse Award as Outstanding Trainer three times.

Down the stretch. Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Antonio Gallardo won three of the last four races today, extending his streak of consecutive days with at least one victory to 15.

Gallardo, who has ridden 54 winners through the first 27 days of the meeting, won the seventh race on first-time starter Natalie La Rose, a 3-year-old filly owned by Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti and trained by Efren Loza, Jr. He added the ninth race on 9-year-old gelding Gimmeadrink for owner Savoy Stable and trainer Dale Bennett.

Gallardo also won the 10th on I’m a Factum, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Stonehedge and trained by Kathleen O’Connell.

To view an in-depth interview with Gallardo that aired live this morning on Twitter via the Periscope app, visit the Tampa Bay Downs Facebook page.

Ronnie Allen, Jr., rode two winners on today’s card. He was aboard 3-year-old filly Napa Valley Rose in the third race for owner-trainer Robert G. Smith and co-owner M and G Stables. Allen added the sixth on Indian Chaser, a 5-year-old mare owned by South Fork Creek Stables and trained by Gerald Bennett.

Fernando De La Cruz has ridden at least one winner for eight consecutive days. De La Cruz, who has ridden 15 winners during his streak, captured the fifth race on 4-year-old gelding Polo Art for owner-trainer Randy Klopp and co-owner Spiess Stable.

Tampa Bay Downs resumes its stakes schedule Saturday with the $100,000, seven-furlong Pasco Stakes for 3-year-olds; the $100,000, seven-furlong Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; and the $50,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth Wayward Lass Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old and upward.

Tampa Bay Downs conducts Thoroughbred racing each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.