by Mike Henry

Tampa Bay Downs-based jockeys Antonio Gallardo and Pablo Morales boarded planes after today’s card for potentially lucrative out-of-town weekend assignments.

Gallardo, a five-time Oldsmar oval riding champion, will compete in stakes races each of the next two days at Woodbine in Toronto. He is named on trainer Kevin Attard’s 4-year-old gelding Clayton in Saturday’s Grade II, $175,000 Kennedy Road Stakes for horses 3-and-upward sprinting six furlongs on the all-weather surface.


Antonio Gallardo

The Kennedy Road is the eighth race on the Woodbine card. Gallardo is named to ride in four other races. On Sunday, Gallardo rides 2-year-old colt Hicksy, also trained by Attard, in the Grade III, $150,000 Grey Stakes at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the all-weather. Gallardo was aboard Hicksy for a victory in the $150,000 Display Stakes on Oct. 30 at Woodbine.

Also riding in the Kennedy Road and the Grey is Ademar Santos, who is expected to move his tack here when Woodbine’s meeting concludes on Dec. 5. Santos rides Malibu Secret for trainer Ross Armata, Jr., in the Kennedy Road and is named on Ironstone for conditioner W.V. Armata in the Grey.

Santos won the 2018 Kennedy Road on Ikerrin Road.

Tampa Bay Downs patrons can watch and wager on the Kennedy Road, the Grey and the City of Laurel right here via simulcasting while enjoying the live cards.


Pablo Morales

Morales, meanwhile, headed to Maryland to ride 3-year-old gelding Everett’s Song for trainer Dale Bennett in the $100,000, 7-furlong City of Laurel Stakes at Laurel Park. The last time Morales hooked up with Everett’s Song on Sept. 25 at Churchill Downs, they won the $275,000 Harrods Creek Stakes.

Around the oval. If the name Skyler Spanabel sounds familiar to Tampa Bay Downs fans, it’s probably because they remember her mother Kelly Spanabel, who rode here in the late 1980s. Skyler rekindled some memories in today’s fourth race, riding 26-1 shot Mangrove Mamma to a come-from-behind neck victory from Palmgirl. The 3-year-old filly Mangrove Mamma is owned by Jaclyn Wasiluk and trained by her dad, Peter Wasiluk, Jr.

Kelly Spanabel has not ridden since breaking her ankle at Laurel Park in January, and Skyler – whose agent is Phil Wasiluk, Jaclyn’s brother – said her mom is likely retired from race-riding. Skyler is attempting to carry on the family legacy, moving her tack to the competitive Oldsmar colony after spending most of the summer and fall at Delaware Park.

“I got tired of riding in the cold,” said 22-year-old Skyler, who started her career in 2017 at Hazel Park in Michigan. “Plus, there are some really good jockeys here, and it will be nice to see if I can compete with them. If you surround yourself with greatness, you can achieve greatness.”

Jesus Castanon rode two winners on today’s card. He scored in the second race on Tactical Range, a promising 2-year-old filly owned by Double O Racing and trained by Derek Ryan. Castanon also won the third race on the turf with Mystic Dreams, a 3-year-old filly owned by John C. Terlep and William B. Bradley and trained by Jordan Blair.

Tactical Range, who won by a widening 3 3/4 lengths, might be one to watch as the season progresses.

Thoroughbred racing continues Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs with a 10-race card beginning at 12:38 p.m. The feature is the eighth race, a $27,000, 1-mile turf allowance for fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-upward. There are 10 entered (Baby Gundin is a “main-track” only also-eligible).

The 5-2 morning-line favorite is Kitten With a Whip, who scored two turf victories here last season. Roberto Alvarado, Jr., has been named to ride for owner-trainer Kent Sweezey.

Tampa Bay Downs currently races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday schedule, with a special Thursday, Dec. 23 card and Sundays added to the mix on Dec. 26.

Tampa Bay Downs is closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and Easter Sunday, April 17. Otherwise, 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.