THREE-YEAR-OLDS SEEK ENTRY INTO WINNERS FRATERNITY ON SATURDAY

by Mike Henry

Promising maidens are poised to grab the spotlight Saturday. Highlighting the action are the third race, a $23,000 maiden special weight event for 3-year-olds traveling a mile and 40 yards, and the ninth race, a $23,000 maiden special weight contest for 3-year-olds going a mile on the turf, conditions permitting.

The 10-horse field in the ninth includes sophomores trained by Hall of Fame member William Mott and renowned fellow conditioners Tom Proctor, H. Graham Motion and Christophe Clement, who sends out two horses. The morning-line favorite at 2-1 is the Florida-bred gelding Osceola Pond, a homebred racing for Glen Hill Farm and trained by Proctor. Ronnie Allen, Jr., is the rider.

Osceola Pond has three seconds and two third-place finishes from six starts, including a runner-up effort here Feb. 14 in a maiden special weight race at a mile on the turf in his first Oldsmar try.

Seven horses are entered in the third race, with the 3-year-old colt War Order the 7-5 morning-line choice. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani and trained by H. Graham Motion, War Order finished second here on Feb. 10 going a mile and 40 yards. He will be ridden by Daniel Centeno.

In addition to its 11-race card Saturday, Tampa Bay Downs will simulcast the last three races of the Dubai World Cup program from Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates. The races available for wagering are the $6-million Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World; the $6-million Dubai Sheema Classic Presented by Longines; and the $10-million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline.

There are 12 horses entered in the Dubai World Cup, headed by 2014 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness winner California Chrome. Victor Espinoza will ride the past Horse of the Year.

The first of the three races available for wagering, the Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World, has a post time of 7:45 p.m. (11:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time), with the Dubai World Cup scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT.

Saturday’s simulcast menu also includes a stakes-laden card from Fair Grounds in New Orleans, highlighted by the Grade II, $1-million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby, a major prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.

TheTwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby is the 10th race on the Fair Grounds card and has drawn a field of 11 3-year-old colts. The morning-line favorite at 5-2 is G M B Racing’s Mo Tom, trained by Tom Amoss and to be ridden by Corey Lanerie. Mo Tom won the Grade III LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 16 before finishing third in the Grade II Veterans Ford Risen Star on Feb. 20.

Down the stretch. Daniel Centeno rode two winners on today’s card. He captured the fifth race on 5-year-old Florida-bred mare Annabella Hall for owner Hemingway Racing and trainer Ian Hemingway. Centeno returned to the winner’s circle after the sixth race on Dream Prospect, a 3-year-old filly owned by her breeder, Robert S. Evans, and trained by Christophe Clement.

Tampa Bay Downs conducts racing each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Easter Sunday, when the track is closed.

Otherwise, 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.

The golf range will be open on Easter from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; the last bucket of dimpled eggs will be sold at 3:30 p.m.