by Mike Henry

Outstanding grass horses of both sexes will descend on Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, Feb. 4 for Turf Champions Day, featuring the Grade III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for males 4-years-old-and-upward and the Grade III, $175,000 Endeavour Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward.

Both races will be run at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth.

Nominations closed Saturday in the Racing Office with 47 older males nominated for the Tampa Bay Stakes. Mike Maker heads all trainers with seven nominees, headed by multiple graded-stakes winning 6-year-old millionaire Field Pass and Grade III-winning 8-year-old King Cause.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has nominated four horses to the Tampa Bay Stakes, led by Grade II winner Emmanuel, who was on the Triple Crown trail last year before being switched to the turf in time for a victory in the Grade II Pennine Ridge Stakes.

Trainer Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III, who has won the Tampa Bay Stakes three times, has three nominees. Also with three nominations are H. Graham Motion, whose 4-year-old gelding Speaking Scout won the Grade I Hollywood Derby in December at Del Mar; Tampa Bay Downs trainer Arnaud Delacour, whose nominees include unbeaten (5-for-5) 5-year-old gelding Chez Pierre; and Joe Sharp.

A pair of Ontario-bred nominees are also worth mentioning: trainer Patrick County, Jr.’s 6-year-old Mighty Heart and Roger Attfield’s 5-year-old Hombre. Mighty Heart, who won the 2020 Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine, lost his left eye due to a paddock accident when he was 2 weeks old, but has forged a 7-for-23 lifetime mark with earnings in excess of $1.1-million. Mighty Heart won an allowance/optional claiming race here on the dirt on Jan. 6.

Hombre lacks the race record of many of the Tampa Bay Stakes nominees, but Attfield sprang an upset in last year’s running of the Tampa Bay Stakes with Shirl’s Speight.

Here are the links to the nominations and their past performances for the Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes:



The Endeavour has attracted 26 nominations. Trainer Chad Brown, who has four Endeavour victories to his credit, including last year with Bleecker Street, has nominated Klaravich Stables’ lightly raced 4-year-old filly Marketsegmentation, a daughter of American Pharoah. Brown and Klaravich combined to win the 2021 Endeavour with Counterparty Risk.

Other impressive Endeavour nominees include multiple stakes-winning 5-year-old mare Love in the Air, trained by John Servis; the ultra-consistent 5-year-old Bay Storm, trained by Jonathan Thomas; Panama Red, an Ireland-bred import trained by Delacour; and 5-year-old Gam’s Mission, a Cherie DeVaux trainee who won the Grade III Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes in June at Churchill Downs in her previous start.

Here are the links to the nominations and their past performances for the Grade III Endeavour Stakes:



Plenty of family fun on tap this weekend. Tampa Bay Downs welcomes the whole family to enjoy Thoroughbred racing this weekend around a pair of popular annual promotions.

Saturday is Cap Giveaway Day, with each fan receiving a cap with the distinctive track logo free of charge, with paid admission (while supplies last). Many of the track’s top jockeys will be on hand in the first floor of the Grandstand to sign autographs.

There is a special first-race post time Saturday of 12:08 p.m.

The following day is the first of five “Mouse’s Kids and Family Day” events of the season. Families can watch the races outdoors from the comfort of the Backyard Picnic Area, with bounce houses, slides, games and other activities scheduled for youngsters.

The Oldsmar oval’s mascot, Mouse the Miniature Horse, is expected to be on hand. She loves peppermints and is amenable to having her picture taken with children.

Subsequent “Mouse’s Kids and Family Day” events are scheduled for Feb. 5, Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 5.

Around the oval. Antonio Gallardo won the final three races on the card. Gallardo captured the seventh race on the turf on Panotti, a 5-year-old mare owned by Windylea Farm and trained by Kathleen O’Connell. Gallardo added the eighth on Bazoo, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Steve Zeehandelar and trained by Steven F. Cahill.

Bazoo was claimed from the victory for $5,000 by trainer Jose H. Delgado for new owner Bingo Racing Stable.

Gallardo completed his natural hat trick in the ninth race on the turf, winning aboard 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Explosive Exchange for owner-trainer Mike Dini. That was the second victory for Dini, who also won the fifth race on the turf with Cool Front, a 5-year-old mare Dini owns in partnership with Jose Anguiano. Samuel Marin rode Cool Front.

Leading jockey Samy Camacho rode two winners today. Camacho was aboard 4-year-old filly Beauty Quist in the fourth race for owner Carmine Spinella and trainer Greg Sacco. Camacho added the sixth on Its a Wrap, a 6-year-old gelding owned by NBS Stable and trained by Jon Arnett.

Its a Wrap defeated 9-10 favorite Bumperdoo by 7 ¼ lengths, completing the mile-and-40-yard distance in 1:39.70, 1.02 seconds off the track record. Helium, the 2021 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner, finished third, a neck back.

Both Bumperdoo and Helium were claimed from the race for $32,000. Bumperdoo was claimed by Arnett for new owner Danny Stafford, while Helium was picked up for $32,000 by new owner-trainer Juan Arriagada.

Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12;32 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs 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.