by Mike Henry

Chamber of Commerce weather and an exciting 10-race card set the stage for Tampa Bay Downs’ annual Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands party, with a crowd of 11,006 – the fourth-largest in track history – on hand to enjoy the festivities and the crowning of the 143rd Run for the Roses-winning 3-year-old.

The attendance figure is the second-largest ever at the Oldsmar oval for a Kentucky Derby, topped only by the 11,014 to watch Tampa Bay Derby champ Street Sense win in 2007.

Hats stylish, subdued and outrageous; mint juleps; a silent auction to benefit disabled jockeys; and a fun-loving spirit all contributed to the Oldsmar oval’s celebration of American racing’s grandest tradition.

It wasn’t until the dedicated track housekeeping staff began its cleanup detail that the realization fully set in that another meeting is fast approaching a conclusion.

Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day at Tampa Bay Downs. In addition to a 10-race card beginning at 12:35 p.m., the Oldsmar oval will offer free grandstand admission and discounts on hot dogs, soft drinks and draft beers from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Also on Sunday, Tampa Bay Downs officials will recognize the 2016-2017 season’s leading owner, Ridenjac Racing; leading trainer Gerald Bennett; and top jockey Daniel Centeno with trophy presentations between races.

Sunday’s action concludes the main portion of the track’s 2016-2017 meeting, which officially wraps up on June 30, the first day of the track’s two-day Summer Festival of Racing and Music.

Jockeys Edwin Gonzalez and Samy Camacho each turned in big Derby Day performances, riding four winners apiece. Gonzalez, who has 85 for the meeting, will finish the 2016-2017 meeting runner-up to Daniel Centeno in the standings.

Gonzalez, who rode six winners on a single card on March 10 – only the second jockey in track history to achieve that feat – spread the wealth today among four different sets of connections. In the first race, he won aboard 4-year-old Florida-bred filly Mo Town Kat for owner Steven K. Schriever and trainer Ian Hemingway. Mo Town Kat was claimed from the victory by owner-trainer Erin Wilkinson.

Gonzalez next won the third race on the turf on Saenger, a 3-year-old filly owned by Michael Laurato and trained by Kathleen Guciardo. Gonzalez added the fifth race on first-time starter Smokin Beau, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Winning Stables and trained by Gerald Bennett.

In the ninth race, the Lambholm South Race of the Week on the turf, Gonzalez used his skills and strength aboard 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Genau to hold off a determined late bid by Collections Choice. The winner is trained by Bennett and owned by Averill Racing and Silver Oak Stable.

Camacho’s four-bagger today gives him 45 for the meeting, good for sixth place in the standings. In the second race, Camacho piloted 6-year-old Florida-bred mare Smoke N the Bottle to victory for owner-trainer Robert G. Smith. Camacho added the sixth race on the turf on Tutti Sanno, a 5-year-old Florida-bred horse owned by Michael Feriole and trained by Reid Nagle.

Camacho also won the eighth race aboard Scorpion Dancer, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Alejandro M. Reyes and trained by Alex Rendon. He closed out the card by winning the 10th race on the turf on 6-year-old gelding Kodiak Kody, owned by Carl L. Hess, Jr., and trained by Teresa Connelly.

On the Churchill Downs undercard, 5-year-old horse Divisidero, trained by Oldsmar conditioner William “Buff” Bradley, won the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic for the second consecutive year. Julien Leparoux rode Divisidero, who is owned by Gunpowder Farms’ Tom Keithley.

Also at Churchill, Wild Shot and No Dozing, who were third and fourth, respectively, in the Grade II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 11, finished 1-2 in the Grade III Pat Day Mile Presented by LG&E and KU.

The winner Wild Shot is owned by Calumet Farm and trained by George “Rusty” Arnold, II and was ridden by Corey Lanerie.