Hall of Fame trainers William Mott and Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III are shipping horses from south Florida to Tampa Bay Downs for Saturday’s feature race, but two of the Oldsmar oval’s leading turf trainers hope to provide stiff resistance to the would-be raiders.
The eighth race Saturday is a $22,500 conditional allowance for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf. There are 13 horses entered, but only 10 are permitted to start. The probable post time is 3:55 p.m.
The 10-race card begins at 12:25 p.m.
Mott has entered his 4-year-old colt Cite, who is 1-for-10 lifetime but rallied to finish second going a mile on the turf here three weeks ago against similar competition. Cite breezed five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 Wednesday at Mott’s Payson Park Training Center base in Indiantown, Fla., in preparation for Saturday’s contest.
McGaughey’s entrant, the 4-year-old gelding Hardly Home, finished fifth in the Feb. 4 race here, but was only three-and-a-half lengths out of the top spot and a half-length behind Cite.
Anthony Crastus will ride Cite, while Jesus Castanon has the mount on Hardly Home, who has won one of eight starts.
At 4-1 and 9-2, respectively, Cite and Hardly Home are regarded behind the track handicapper’s two top selections, Map Room and King of Diamonds.
The 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding Map Room, whose lone victory in eight starts came in a maiden special weight race at Delaware Park in August, has finished third and second in his two Tampa Bay Downs outings this season. His 3-1 favoritism could also be due in part to hailing from the barn of trainer Tom Proctor, who is a sensational 11-for-24 in turf races here this season.
Ronnie Allen, Jr., is the jockey.
The 7-2 second choice on the morning line is the 4-year-old gelding King of Diamonds, who broke his maiden last April at Laurel and has not finished out of the money in five starts. He is trained by Arnaud Delacour and will be ridden by Daniel Centeno.
Around the oval. Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Daniel Centeno rode three winners today. He won the first race with 5-year-old Florida-bred mare Saint Lipsi Chick, owned by Henry Leininger and Bill Law and trained by Gary Jackson. Centeno added the fourth race aboard 4-year-old filly Soul Strategy for owner Jeff Rosania and trainer Forrest Kaelin.
In the sixth race, Centeno piloted Mo’ne Davis to a maiden special weight victory for her owner, Lael Stables, and trainer Arnaud Delacour. Mo’ne Davis (by Bernardini out of La Ville Rouge, by Carson City) is a half-sister to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.
Dreamup, a 4-year-old filly owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Eoin Harty, was highly impressive in winning the second race, a mile-and-40-yard allowance/optional claiming event, by four-and-a-quarter lengths from Red River Heidi. Pablo Morales was the jockey.
A daughter of Bernardini, out of Contrive, by Storm Cat, Dreamup is 3-for-6 lifetime, with all three victories coming at Tampa Bay Downs by a combined margin of 20 ¼ lengths. Her time was a swift 1:40.56.
Trainer Teresa Connelly will be track announcer Richard Grunder’s guest at Saturday’s “Morning Glory Club” show, which begins at 10 a.m. on the first floor of the Grandstand. Fans receive free coffee and donuts and Grandstand passes.
Tampa Bay Downs conducts Thoroughbred racing on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule throughout April. The track 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.