Ademar Santos and Samy Camacho, who between them have won the last three $5,000 Jockeys’ Challenge competitions in the Summer Festival of Racing and Music, stand 1-2 in the standings after today’s action, with Santos leading 44 points to 41.
The fifth annual, two-day event concludes Saturday. Camacho is named to ride in all eight Thoroughbred races, while Santos has mounts in seven races.
Today’s card represented the official final day of the 2016-2017 meeting, while Saturday’s card counts as the first day of the 2017-2018 meeting, which then resumes Nov. 25.
Saturday features nine races, including a 300-yard Quarter Horse race that will be held at 11:30 a.m. The first of eight Thoroughbred races is at 12:35 p.m.
After Saturday’s races, fans will be treated to Corgi dogs competing in six heats of eight canines each, followed by a championship heat among the winners. There is no pari-mutuel wagering on the Corgi races. Saturday’s concert after the Corgi event features the Soul Circus Cowboys and the Johnny G Lyon Band.
Santos, who won the 2014 and 2015 Jockeys’ Challenge titles, rode three winners today, capturing the second race on the turf course on 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Adios Ashley; the third race (via disqualification) on 3-year-old filly Kimberly Light, also bred in Florida; and the seventh on the turf on 7-year-old gelding Master Jordan.
Camacho, who won last year’s Jockeys’ Challenge, won the sixth race on 6-year-old Florida-bred mare Smoke N the Bottle to go with two seconds and two thirds.
Pedro Monterrey, Jr., is third with 31 points, followed by Mike Allen, who rode two winners, with 30 points. The winner earns $2,500, the runner-up collects $1,500 and the third-place finisher receives $1,000.
The 2016-2017 meeting finished with Cheyanna Patrick and Ajhari Williams sharing top apprentice jockey honors with a single victory apiece during a meeting dominated by quality veteran riders.
Trainers George S. Bush and Randall R. Russell each saddled two winners. Bush won with Adios Ashley and Kimberly Light, both bred and owned by J D Farms. Russell sent out Betting On Red to win the fifth race and Glenfiddich Smooth to win the eighth, both on the turf. Both of Russell’s runners are owned by Endsley Oaks Farm and were ridden by Allen.
The fifth race, contested on the turf for maidens 3-years-old-and-upward, was the inaugural Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) Purse. After the race, Tampa Bay Downs Vice President-General Manager Peter Berube and Tampa Bay Downs/Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association secretary-treasurer Linda Mayhew presented a check for $71,290 to the TAA, which accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved after-care groups to retire, re-train and re-home Thoroughbreds after their racing careers.
In the third race, Great Try finished first but was disqualified for impeding My Girl’s Success in the stretch, causing that one to fall and unseat jockey Abel Lezcano. A trailing horse, Run Indra Run, was unable to avoid My Girl’s Success and also fell, throwing jockey Patrick Schmid.
My Girl’s Success got to her feet and finished the course without Lezcano, but it took a few minutes to revive Run Indra Run. Both horses returned to their barns afterward and were being evaluated.
Both jockeys appeared OK, although Lezcano was later taken to Mease Countryside Hospital for precautionary X-rays after complaining of neck soreness.
Tampa Bay Downs is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.