by Mike Henry

Time is running short to register for Tampa Bay Downs’s annual “Live It Up Challenge” handicapping contest. The event begins Saturday and runs through March 11, which is Festival Day 43 at the Oldsmar oval. The deadline to enroll is 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

There is no charge to enter, and this year’s prizes are certain to generate much excitement. The first-place winner will receive two free seats into the 2024 “High Rollers Contest” at Tampa Bay Downs, which will be held in February of 2024. “High Rollers Contest” seats cost $1,000, so first prize in the “Live It Up Challenge” is a $2,000 value.

Second, third and fourth-place winners each receive one free seat into the 2024 “High Rollers Contest” event. Additionally, a bonus prize of $500 will be awarded to the participant selecting the most winners during the “Live It Up Challenge.”

The contest is a free online competition in which all wagers are mythical. To register, visit www.liveitupchallenge.com on the Internet. Participants are required to select one horse from two of each day’s three “Challenge Races,” with bankroll totals determined by the win/place/show results from each player’s choices.

Each player begins the contest with one free lifeline. Additional lifelines become necessary to advance in the contest whenever either of a player’s choices does not finish first, second or third in a race or when a player does not make a selection in that day’s “Challenge Races” for any reason (players cannot lose more than one lifeline each day of the contest).

As always, additional lifelines may be purchased, with participants eligible to buy eight lifelines at $5 each any time before the first contest race; eight for $10 each on Feb. 3; and four for $25 each on Feb. 17. In the event all players are eliminated before the end of the contest, the four players with the most money will be declared the prizes winners.

For the entire set of rules and to register, go to www.liveitupchallenge.com

Around the oval. Samy Camacho rode two winners today, giving him eight over the last three days of racing. He has 36 for the meet, 13 more than runner-up Jose Ferrer.

Camacho won the fourth race on R Swirvin Girvin, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Averill Racing and Two Eight Racing and trained by Gerald Bennett. R Swirvin Girvin was claimed from the victory for $40,000 by trainer Renaldo Richards for new owner Paula S. Capestro.

Camacho added the fifth race on the turf with Never Explain, a 5-year-old horse owned by Courtlandt Farms and trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III.

Never Explain is a son of Street Sense, who used his 2007 Tampa Bay Derby victory as a springboard to Kentucky Derby glory. In today’s third race on the turf, 3-year-old filly Super Caro – a daughter of Super Saver, who finished third in the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby, then won the Kentucky Derby – surged along the inside through the stretch to triumph under jockey Ronnie Allen, Jr. Super Caro is owned and trained by Mike Dini.

 Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:32 p.m. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.