by Mike Henry

centeno (2)

 Daniel Centeno

A day after getting shut out for the first time in 11 racing days, leading Oldsmar jockey Daniel Centeno rode four winners to raise his meeting total to 100 and his career North American mark to 2,496.

The 45-year-old Centeno, who is virtually assured of a record sixth Tampa Bay Downs riding crown, has won 25 races over the last 12 racing days, with four three-win days in April to go with today’s four-bagger.

“I’ve had a great meet and I have to thank all the trainers and owners who helped make it possible,” said Centeno, who rode more than 800 winners in Venezuela before coming to the United States in 2003. “I really didn’t think I was going to get hot like this because a lot of horses have left, but the ones I’m riding are running.”

Centeno reached the century mark with a flourish when he guided 4-year-old filly Mathildestrevenue through a narrow opening on the far turn before rolling to a two-length victory from Lupo’s Way in the five-furlong turf event for maiden fillies and mares. The winner is owned by Maurice Lagasse and trained by Arnaud Delacour.

“I was just waiting and looking because the No. 8 horse (pace-setter Secret Recipe) was stopping, and when I looked at (Lupo’s Way) I saw she was trying to get out,” Centeno said. “That’s why I stayed on the rail, and when the hole opened we went through.”

Centeno won the fourth race on the turf aboard That’s Angelina, a 4-year-old filly owned by John Bourke and trained by John J. Tammaro, III. Centeno added the fifth race on Critical Humor, a 3-year-old filly owned by Carl Ferrentino, et al and trained by Peter Wasiluk, Jr.

Centeno added the eighth race on the turf on Tribal Message, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Mitchell Markow and trained by George Leonard, III.

Centeno won four consecutive Tampa Bay Downs titles from 2006-2010 and also captured the 2012-2013 title.

Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, Kentucky Oaks Days feature early post times. Tampa Bay Downs officials recommend patrons arrive early next Saturday, May 6 for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, which will be broadcast from Churchill Downs in Louisville at 6:46 p.m.

Post time for the first race at Churchill will be 10:30 a.m., and Tampa Bay Downs will open its gates at 10 a.m. to accommodate simulcast bettors. The Oldsmar oval will also conduct a full card of Thoroughbred racing as its 2016-2017 meeting nears a conclusion.

Churchill also has a 10:30 a.m. post time scheduled Friday, when it presents the 143rd edition of the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. Tampa Bay Downs will present a full program of action leading to the fillies showcase.

Visitors to Tampa Bay Downs are encouraged to participate in all of the traditions surrounding the Derby, including sipping a mint julep from a souvenir Kentucky Derby glass, wearing a colorful Derby hat and singing along to “My Old Kentucky Home” during the post parade.

Souvenis glasses (minus libation) and other Kentucky Derby items are on sale in the Gift Shop throughout the week.

While Louisville has the race, Tampa Bay Downs is planning a heck of a party that could lead to many post-race champagne toasts if one of the four Derby entrants to compete here – Grade II Tampa Bay Derby winner Tapwrit, Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes winner McCraken, Always Dreaming or State of Honor – gets to the winner’s circle.

Adding to the festivities, Tampa Bay Downs is also participating in a silent auction throughout the afternoon of May 6 to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF).

The Oldsmar oval will be among 24 tracks across the country taking part in the fund-raising event. Proceeds from the collaborative effort by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, PDJF, JockeyTalk360 and the Jockeys’ Guild will provide aid for permanently disabled riders’ health care and living expenses.

Among the items of memorabilia expected to be available for bids are three framed and autographed photographs of historic moments in racing: Arrogate winning the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, autographed by jockey Mike Smith; a “3 for the Ages” compilation of Triple Crown winners Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed, autographed by jockeys Ron Turcotte, Jean Cruguet and Steve Cauthen; and Secretariat racing to victory in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, signed by Turcotte.

Fans who contribute to the PDJF during the auction will be offered a racing souvenir. For details, visit www.pdjf.org on the Internet. The PDJF provides financial assistance to 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.

General admission Saturday is $3. Tampa Bay Downs will conduct racing Sunday, May 7, which is Fan Appreciation Day. Hot dogs and sodas are $1.50 and draft beers are $2.50 until 3 p.m.

Around the oval. Samy Camacho rode two winners today, winning both halves of the early daily double. He captured the first race on Magic Sparkle, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Oswaldo Jose Urbaneja and trained by Yendri Pena. Camacho won the second race, the Lambholm South Race of the Week, on Livin a Dream for owner Anthony A. Lenci and trainer Chad Stewart.

In the sixth race, a 5-furlong sprint on the turf for older fillies and mares, 6-year-old Sheza Ruler sped to a two-and-a-half length victory under jockey Jose Ferrer for her fourth consecutive victory, but her first on the grass.

Sheza Ruler was owned by Ridenjac Racing and trained by Dennis Ward, who claimed her from her previous start for $6,250. Today, she was claimed by $16,000 by trainer Aldana Gonzalez for new owner Loooch Racing Stables.

Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs resumes Sunday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:55 p.m. 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.