by Mike Henry

Trainer Tony Wilson’s instructions to jockey Jose Ferrer were brief and to the point before the Male Division of the Tampa Turf Test starter handicap series Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

“He told me ‘Break good and hang on,’ and I said ‘You got it, Tony,’ ” Ferrer said after riding 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding Cement Clement to a three-and-a-quarter length victory in the eighth race. Owned by Pat and Ron Scorese, Cement Clement traveled the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance in 1:42.07, winning in gate-to-wire fashion. Dubai Time was second and Cut to Order finished third.

Cement Clement is 2-for-2 at Tampa Bay Downs, having won the mile division of the four-leg Tampa Turf Test on Nov. 28. Wilson indicated he will be pointed to the third leg of the series at a mile-and-an-eighth on Jan. 30.

“He seems to like Tampa Bay Downs, and I think he can go a little farther,” Wilson said. “Everything is going along good with him and we’re really having fun with him.”

Now 7-for-19 in his career, with all his victories on the turf, Cement Clement is a son of 2004 Tampa Bay Derby winner Limehouse, out of Gouge, by Repriced.

Ferrer was a riding replacement for Ricardo Feliciano, who was in Ohio with family members.

“Somebody has to ride him, and I won a lot of races for Tony this summer,” Ferrer said. “It was real nice – he broke on top and he was gone.” Cement Clement, who was second in the 2014 Tropical Park Derby, paid $4.60 to win as the heavy betting favorite.

Ferrer also won the first race on 21-1 shot Cowboy Luke, a 6-year-old gelding owned by William Rivera and trained by Victor Carrasco, Jr. Ferrer has ridden 3,992 winners in his career.   

The second leg of the Fillies and Mares Division of the Tampa Turf Test, contested two races earlier, was eerily similar to the male division, as the 4-year-old Florida-bred filly Daddy’s Boo continues to prove a solid investment for owner Vince Foglia (Patricia’s Hope, LLC) and trainer Larry Rivelli. Since being claimed for $50,000 at Gulfstream last December, she has won three of her five starts.

Jockey Daniel Centeno, who was riding Daddy’s Boo for the first time, didn’t have to think much about tactics. The daughter of Sweet Return-Precocious Pet, by Slew Gin Fizz, is a confirmed front-runner, and after talking to Rivelli, Centeno knew his role was to get the lead, let her use her natural speed and conserve enough energy for the stretch run.

Check, check and check, with Daddy’s Boo powering home for a three-and-three-quarter length victory from Cara’s Nay Nay in 1:42.67 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance. Cara’s Nay Nay had won the first leg of the Tampa Turf Test on Nov. 28. Daddy’s Boo won her first local start Dec. 4, winning on the Oldsmar turf at the $16,000 claiming level.

Long shots Red Letter and Wildly Good Lookin finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 10-horse field. Daddy’s Boo paid $5.40 to win.

“When we got to the lead, I tried to get her to relax and slow it down a little to save my horse for the end,” Centeno said. “When I asked her at the quarter-mile pole, she really took off. I didn’t see anyone coming, and I had plenty of horse left.”

Daddy’s Boo improved to 5-for-9 lifetime, with all of her victories on the turf. The victory was one of two today for Rivelli, who sent out his 4-year-old gelding All Call to win the fourth race on the turf under jockey Antonio Gallardo.

The fourth race was the John F. Reading Memorial, honoring the two-time leading Tampa Bay Downs trainer who died in April. Reading would have turned 100 today.

Il Mulino won the Lambholm South Race of the Week with a furious late rally, edging Rosa Carina by a head. The 3-year-old filly Il Mulino is owned by Donald R. Dizney and trained by William Mott. Fernando De La Cruz was the jockey.

Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs resumes Sunday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:28 p.m. Four turf races are scheduled. The track is racing every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 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.