When you put more money up for grabs than ever before in track history, it’s logical to expect top-quality racing.
Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Tapwrit and the other four stakes winners more than delivered.
The Festival Day card on March 11, 2017 produced a track record and three stakes records (four if you count the Columbia Stakes, which was being run at a distance of a mile on the turf for the first time).
A crowd of 10,079 more than did its part to make the day memorable, contributing to total wagering handle of $12,123,021.60, the second-largest figure in Tampa Bay Downs annals.
“We’re extremely pleased and proud to see our biggest day receive such tremendous support from the Tampa Bay community,” said track Vice President-General Manager Peter Berube. “We wish all the participants the best of fortune going forward, and naturally we’re hopeful Tapwrit will move on to compete in the Kentucky Derby (Presented by Yum! Brands).”
The striking gray colt Tapwrit was the unquestioned standout of the afternoon, launching a powerful move approaching the far turn and going on to a four-and-a-half length victory from State of Honor in the Grade II, $350,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. His time of 1:42.36 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth is a new stakes record, and would have been a track record had not his stablemate, 5-year-old Stanford, won the $100,000 Challenger at the same distance three races earlier.
Both horses are trained by Todd Pletcher, who won his third consecutive Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, fourth in five years and fifth overall.
Also setting a course record was the 3-year-old filly Fifty Five, who won the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf in 1:41.60 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth.