TAMPA TURF TEST MALES GO SATURDAY; DISTAFFERS TO RUN SUNDAY

by Mike Henry

In an effort to run both divisions of the Tampa Turf Test starter handicap series on the grass following day-long rain Thursday, the Fillies and Mares Division has been pushed back a day and is scheduled as the fifth race on Sunday’s card.

The third leg of the Males Division is slated as Saturday’s 10th race, with 10 entered for the mile-and-an-eighth event for older horses which have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2015-2016. The purse is $23,000. Post time for Saturday’s first race is 12:25 p.m.

The lukewarm 7-2 morning-line favorite for the Males Division of the Tampa Turf Test is the Derek Ryan-trained 7-year-old gelding Dubai Time, idle since finishing second in the second leg of the series at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on Dec. 26. Manoel Cruz is named to ride.

The Florida-bred Dubai Time is 9-for-48 lifetime, winning twice during the 2014-2015 Oldsmar meeting.

The second choice at 4-1 is 5-year-old gelding All Call, trained by Larry Rivelli. All Call, which will be ridden by Daniel Centeno, has won three of his last six starts, including a mile-and-an-eighth turf allowance here in his most recent start.

Cement Clement, a 5-year-old gelding which won the first two legs of the series, will skip Saturday’s third leg following a seventh-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 16.

Saturday’s co-feature is the ninth race, a $24,000 conditional allowance/optional claiming event for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth, scheduled for the turf. An overflow field of 14 is entered, but only 10 can start.

Among the four also-eligibles is the 2-1 morning-line favorite War Envoy, a 4-year-old colt from the barn of trainer Wesley Ward. The jockey is Mario Pino. Regarded at 3-1 and in the main body of the field is the 9-year-old Florida-bred gelding Tune Me In, trained by Jamie Ness and to be ridden by Antonio Gallardo.

The popular favorite is the 10-year-old gelding Allie’s Event, bred, owned and trained by Lori Smock. Bred in Florida, Allie’s Event is 12-for-56 lifetime, with career earnings of more than $450,000. He won his most recent start here Jan. 9 with a whirlwind rally from last place to defeat Tune Me In by a neck.

Hilton Garden Inn Jockey of the Month Fernando De La Cruz, who rode Allie’s Event when he broke his maiden in his career debut on Sept. 27, 2008 at Turfway Park and in his earlier victory here this month, will be aboard.

A field of eight is scheduled to contest Sunday’s third leg of the Tampa Turf Test Fillies and Mares Division at a mile-and-an-eighth. The 2-1 morning-line favorite is Daddy’s Boo, a 5-year-old Florida-bred which is 5-for-9 lifetime, including her victory in the second leg of the series on Dec. 26.

Centeno is named to ride for trainer Rivelli.

Down the stretch. Saturday’s fun starts at 10 a.m. on the first floor of the Grandstand with track announcer Richard Grunder’s Morning Glory Club. His guest is jockey Victor Lebron, who teamed with White Clover to win last week’s $50,000 Wayward Lass Stakes and is sixth in the Oldsmar jockey standings with 15 victories.

There is no admission charge. Attendees receive free coffee, donuts and Grandstand passes.

In today’s action, trainer Bernell Rhone and jockey Dean Butler combined for two victories. They captured the fourth race on 4-year-old filly Maddymax, an Illinois homebred racing for Suzanne Stables. Rhone and Butler returned to the winner’s circle two races later with Justeveryday, a 4-year-old filly owned by the conditioner.

Daniel Centeno and Ricardo Feliciano rode two winners apiece. Centeno swept the early daily double, winning the first race on 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Looking At Beauty for owner-trainer Chad J. Stewart and adding the second on 7-year-old mare Ms Hoochie Coochie for owners Billy, Donna and Justin Hays and trainer Joe Woodard.

Feliciano captured the third race in virtual gate-to-wire fashion aboard 8-year-old gelding Fifth Street for owner MCR Stable and trainer Benny Feliciano, his father. He added the seventh on 5-year-old gelding Broncojoenvinny for owners Kathryn and James T. Wright, with the latter the trainer.

The winner of today's 10th race, 3-year-old filly Conquering, has a pedigree that makes her worth keeping an eye on. By the top sire War Front, she is out of Take Charge Lady, making her a half-sister to 2013 Eclipse 3-Year-Old Champion Will Take Charge and 2012 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy. Now 1-for-3, Conquering is owned by Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and trained by William Mott and was ridden by Antonio Gallardo.

Jockey Chelsey Keiser delighted her growing fan base in the fifth race, urging 6-year-old gelding Mybrotherjohnnya to an upset victory in the five-and-a-half furlong waiver claiming affair. Owned and trained by John Pimental, the winner paid $118.80. Everybody celebrates differently, but Keiser’s natural exuberance and appreciation for her mount’s effort makes it easy to forget if you ignored her chances in your handicapping.

Sixth annual Golfest Presented by Valspar Championship is next weekend. Appearances by actor Christopher McDonald (also known as Shooter McGavin in the blockbuster movie, Happy Gilmore) and three-time PGA Tour winner Chris DiMarco, along with a $1-million Hole-in-One Contest, are among the highlights of the sixth annual Golfest Presented by Valspar Championship, to be held the weekend of Feb. 6-7 at The Downs Golf Practice Facility at Tampa Bay Downs.

Golfers of all ages and ability levels, as well as anyone eager to be introduced to the sport, will find much to strike their fancy at the Tampa Bay area’s largest golf expo and demo-day event. Golfest Presented by Valspar Championship hours are from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6 and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7.

Admission is $10, with children 14-and-under getting in free. There is no charge for parking.

McDonald and DiMarco will team in the Feb. 6 Celebrity Golf Skills Challenge III, which begins at 1:15 p.m. The event features such “Big Break” Style contests as “Break the Glass,” “Closest to the Pin,” “Flop Shot Over a Wall” and “Longest Drive.”

They will compete against the two-time defending champions, WTSP-TV’s Reginald Roundtree and Dave Wirth; long-drive champion Mike Ziegler and retired Navy SEAL Scotty Norton; former Tampa Bay Rays pitchers Andy Sonnanstine and Dan Wheeler; former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Corey Ivy and a teammate to be determined, and one or two other teams.

McDonald and DiMarco will also appear on the Golfest Stage, which offers a wide range of entertainment, instruction and demonstrations from some of the top names in golf beginning at 10 a.m. on both days.

The $1-million Hole-in-One Contest gets underway with qualifying throughout the day on Feb. 6 and during the morning of Feb. 7. Anyone landing a 155-yard shot within a 60-foot diameter circle will advance to the semifinals, in which the individual closest to the pin will qualify for one shot from 165 yards for the grand prize, which would be paid out over 40 years.

One shot at qualifying costs $3, with three shots for $5 and seven shots for $10. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the North Florida PGA Foundation, Thanks Troops – Tampa and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Those charities will also benefit from the Golfest ’16 Silent Auction, which features more than 30 donated prizes worth in excess of $6,000. In addition to tickets to golf’s first 2016 major tournament in Georgia, prizes include tickets to the Valspar Championship Presented by BB&T and the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational; tickets to a Tampa Bay Lightning game; a day for four at Tampa Bay Downs, including lunch; rounds of golf for four at various area courses; and numerous other items.

Tampa Bay Downs 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.