Tampa Bay Downs to Offer Most Lucrative Stakes Program in Their History

Press Release

Tampa Bay Downs will conduct the most lucrative stakes program in its 92-year history during the 2017-2018 Thoroughbred racing season, offering a record 28 stakes races worth a combined $3.65-million.

Additional purse and bonus monies for seven stakes – including the Grade II, (now)-$400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-olds on March 10 – are being made available through Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association’s (FTBOA) stakes funding and sponsorships by the FTBOA’s Florida Sire Stakes program.

The lineup features a $50,000 increase in the total purse for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, won last season by subsequent Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRABets winner Tapwrit. The Festival Day card will consist of five stakes races worth a cool aggregate of $1-million, a Tampa Bay Downs single-day first.

Tampa Paddock

Up close and personal at Tampa Bay Downs paddock. Copyright AGOS

The stakes schedule, announced by Tampa Bay Downs Vice President-General Manager Peter Berube, includes three graded stakes apiece on both the March 10 Festival Day program and the Feb. 10 Festival Preview Day presented by Lambholm South card, which is highlighted by the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and the Sam F. Davis Stakes, both contested at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track, are part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, which awards points to the top four finishers in major races to help determine eligibility for the Run for the Roses on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby has produced the winners of three Triple Crown races. In addition to Tapwrit, Street Sense won both the Tampa Bay Derby and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands in 2007, while Super Saver won the 2010 Kentucky Derby after finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby.

“Not only are we offering more stakes than ever, with more available purse money, our schedule include races for all ages and types of horses on both dirt and turf,” Berube said. “We are proud of our record of attracting horses capable of winning at the highest level of the sport and pleased to offer our fans such a high quality of racing.

“A lot of credit goes to our track maintenance staff, headed by (Vice President of Facilities and Track Surfaces) Tom McLaughlin,” Berube said. “Year after year, many of the top trainers who send horses here, as well as our locally-based trainers, have expressed their satisfaction at the consistency of our deep, sand-based main surface and the immaculate condition of the turf course and their desire to compete at Tampa Bay Downs.

“We also strive to position our stakes races on the calendar to give horsemen the best opportunity to prepare for other major races across the country, which creates a ‘win-win’ scenario for them and for our fans who love seeing the big horses in their backyard,” Berube added.

Joining the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on the March 10 Festival Day card are the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the Tampa Bay Downs turf course and the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth, also on the turf.

The purse for the Hillsborough, won in 2016 by the subsequent Eclipse Award Champion Grass Mare, Tepin, has been increased from $200,000. The track’s Festival Day program also includes the $100,000 Challenger Stakes and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes, the latter on the turf, rounding out the million-dollar stakes cornucopia.

As mentioned, the Feb. 10 Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South card is led by the Sam F. Davis Stakes, which serves as the traditional prep race for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and has produced numerous Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands starters.

Also part of Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South are the Grade III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward and the Grade III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward. Both races feature purse increases of $25,000 and will be contested at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf.

The lone non-graded stakes on the Feb. 10 card is the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, which features a $50,000 purse boost and has been added to the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” points series.

Churchill Downs added the Suncoast to the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” roster soon after Elate (the runner-up to Tapa Tapa Tapa in last season’s Suncoast) won the Grade I Alabama Stakes at Saratoga in August. Elate’s Alabama triumph marked the third consecutive year a Suncoast participant went on to win a Grade I event, joining 2015 Suncoast winner Include Betty and 2016 winner Weep No More.

A quartet of first-year stakes funded by the FTBOA will provide an additional $450,000 in purses for eligible Florida-bred horses. On Dec. 16, Tampa Bay Downs will play host to the $125,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the $125,000 FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, both at a distance of seven furlongs on the main track.

Then, on May 5, as part of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands festivities at Tampa Bay Downs, two stakes will be contested: the $100,000 FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the $100,000 FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Both races will be contested at a mile-and-40-yards on the main track.

The Dec. 16 program is the track’s annual Cotillion Festival Day, which includes the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes for 2-year-olds and the $100,000 Sandpiper Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, both at a distance of six furlongs.

Cotillion Festival Day is a natural lead-in to the track’s Skyway Festival Day program on Jan. 20, featuring the $125,000 Pasco Stakes for 3-year-olds and the $125,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, both at a distance of seven furlongs on the main track. Both the Pasco and the Gasparilla enjoy $25,000 purse increases.

The 16th edition of the track’s Florida Cup, featuring six races worth $100,000 apiece for Florida-bred horses, will be contested Sunday, March 25. The Florida Cup, which has seen such recent winners as multiple Grade I-winning star World Approval, offers three main track races and three turf races for males and females.

All told, the 2017-2018 stakes schedule features eight multi-stakes programs.

Tampa Bay Downs will open its barn area on Monday, Oct. 30, with training to commence on Nov. 6. The 2017-2018 season, which officially began July 1, is set to resume on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Sam F. Davis Analysis – 2017

By Rich Nilsen

Race 10 at Tampa Bay Downs, Sam F. Davis                  4:45 pm ET

PACE SCENARIO: Honest to fast pace with State Of Honor, donning blinkers on and the rail, and Wild Luck and Chance Of Luck all wanting the front end.  Sitting behind the trio will be Fact Finding. This track typically favors runners with tactical speed.

Spot Play? #3 FACT FINDING is a rare undefeated Todd Pletcher 3yo who is not the headline in an early Kentucky Derby prep.  That belongs to favorite McCraken, who I feel is vulnerable breaking from a bad post and spotting weight off the layoff.  FACT FINDING has crushed his competition in all three starts and trainer Todd Pletcher has tremendous success in recent years at Tampa Bay Downs. I look for this one to sit a perfect trip behind the pace before taking over and drawing off on the turn for home.  He’ll hold off the closers.

Selections:

1st-  # 3 FACT FINDING

2nd- # 7 Tapwrit

3rd- # 8 McCraken

4th- # 9 No Dozing

5th- # 1 State Of Honor

View some of Rich’s top recent highlights such as $25 Arrogate in the 2016 Travers!

AGOS Horses to Watch – Jan. 12, 2017

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes for AGameofSkill.com visitors.  A free horses to watch list

Aqueduct

12/17/16

Race #4 – Proud Lily – 6f dirt

First time starter and she brushed the starting gate at the break and was forced to rush up. Once the rider got her settled, she put in a game effort finishing a solid 4th. She’ll benefit from this race for future trips to the paddock.

Race #7 – Sir Alfred – 6f dirt

Jose Ortiz had his bumped around at the start and he rushed him up to grab a short lead. Ortiz settled him nicely, and he finished an honest 4th this day. – Good things are coming for this runner from the Todd Pletcher barn.

Tampa Bay Downs

12/16/16

Race #2 – High Pitch – 1 1/16 dirt

This filly shipped in from Presque Isle and stumbled badly at the start and was forced to take up off heels. She was heavily backed at the windows and sometimes it takes two efforts off of the synthetic to get acclimated to the dirt.

Race #7 – Dreamup – 1 mile and 40 yards

This daughter of Bernardini shipped in from Keeneland for the Eoin Harty barn. – Paco Lopez was on cruise control winning by 5 lengths and looked to have plenty in the tank. – Right back off the impressive win she deserves a playback at the windows.

 

Gulfstream Park

12/16/16

Race #1 – Eklipsado – 1 mile dirt

This runner jumped right to the lead and duked it out down the backstreet. He bumped his rival and  was DQ’ed from the win and placed second. Edgard Zayas was aboard and I love to play back a winner who was disqualified. They know how to win and I see the next effort firing right back.

Race #5 – Golden Point – 1 1/16 turf

Shipper from Churchill who was a beaten favorite this day. The hot hand of Antonio Gallardo was forced to go five wide and still managed a quick finish for the show spot this day. – Be on the look out for this runner as he’ll be sure to give you plenty to cheer about.

Race #7 – Break Away – 7 1/2f turf

Paco Lopez had his filly stalking down the backstretch when she clipped heels with another runner and lost the rider. She was backed heavily at the windows and she’ll be looking for payback next time out.

Turfway Park

1/1/17

Race #1 –Rocco Solid – 1 mile on the AW

Susan Anderson trainee was restless in the gate and broke poorly. He made up a heap of ground around the far turn and was bested by a nose in the shadow of the wire. – Just a clean trip for this guy and you’ll see something special down the lane.

Race #2 – Devil Alert – 6 1/2f on the AW

John McKee in the irons for Dan O’Hallaron. They shipped in from Fairmount Park and this mare was flat out rolling in the final stages of the race. The pace was pretty hot for this level and the next time you see her in the entries bet with both hands.

Race #4 – Que Hansen – 1 mile on the AW

Albin Jimenez aboard for Mike Maker and she did everything perfect except get beat by a nose at the wire. She was sent off the odds-on chalk for Dr. Kendall Hansen, and it looks like he is getting ready to have a great year with some talented runners in his barn.

Race #5 –  Fancy is My Name – 5f on the AW

Ten pound apprentice Shelbi Kurtz broke well and settled in nicely along the rail. Once she saw her mount didn’t have the speed to set the pace, she dropped over to the rail and tried to respond for minor awards. – Both horse and rider need a playback off this race, and keep your eyes peeled for this young and up and coming rider. She’s gonna’ do just fine and when she gets a leg up from her grandpa trainer Rick Jordan they

Turfway Park

12/31/16

Race #1 – Perfect Passion – 5f on the AW

Churchill shipper for Mike Maker was sent off the odds-on favorite, and she was circling 6 wide on the final turn showing good interest down the lane. She’ll mature nicely and Maker will have her ready to roll next up. – She is a three-year-old now, and I’m looking for good things to come from the red-hot Maker barn.

Race #8 – Belvin – 1 mile on the AW

Thom Drury runner had the services of Albin Jimenez back from Tampa Bay Downs for the winter. They broke from the outside post and this may not have worked to their favor. The Drury barn is known for getting a runner ready off an average effort and this one fits the bill perfectly. Finishing 4th going five wide into the final turn, and coming up short looks like a race to build on.

are looking for her first win picture. From two mounts she has a solid third place finish to her credit.

AGOS Claimer of the Week: Meteor strikes at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa-Bay-Downs_groupon Moonlit Meteor stalked the early leaders, took command around the quarter pole and sped to an easy 7 length victory in the fourth race at Tampa last Thursday afternoon. Moonlit Meteor has been named the agameofskill.com Claimer of the Week. The chestnut gelding returned $5.20 to his backers once his tenth career victory was made official. The son of Malibu Moon covered the six furlongs in 1:10.61 while defeating his fellow $5,000 claimers. The 8 year old was ridden by Manoel Cruz and is trained by James Tsirigotis. Owned by Julie Perez, Moonlit Meteor has finished in the money (top three finishers) an impressive 17 times from 22 starts and has now earned more than $113,000 in lifetime earnings.

One Minute Handicapper for Gulfstream Park – Week of December 5th

Save time and let the One Minute Handicapper look for all the handicapping angles!

 

OMH Worksheets available for Gulfstream Park – Thurs., Dec. 6th – $5 for the full card.

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OMH Worksheets available for Gulfstream Park – Friday, December 7th – $5 for the full card.

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OMH Worksheets for Tampa Bay Downs – Friday, December 7th – $5 for the full card
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Clever Performance named AGameofSkill Claimer of the Week

Claimer of the Week at AGameofSkill.comClever Performance, a gelding claimed three times in the last six months, sailed to victory with an excellent performance Saturday afternoon (1/21/12) at Tampa Bay Downs. Starting from the far outside, Clever Performance was heavily restrained by rider Ademar Santos for the first half-mile of the Mile and 40 yard contest. The roan gelding pulled his way to the lead at the quarter pole and when asked for his best at the top of the stretch Clever Performance cruised to the wire, holding off a heavily bet favorite and another late runner in the process. The four year old is owned by Juan Arriagada and trained by Anthony Pecoraro.  Clever Performance stopped the timer at 1:42.01 and paid a whopping $31.00 to win. The son of sire Da Stoops has six wins from 21 races and 14 in-the-money finishes with career earnings nearing $40,000. Clever Performance was purchased at OBS (Ocala, Florida) in 2010.

— Art Parker

 

Tampa’s High Spirit named AGameofSkill.com Claimer of the Week

Claimer of the Week at AGameofSkill.comComing off a dull performance for $20,000 at Remington Park, High Spirit invaded Tampa Bay Downs and won easily for an $8,000 tag in the second race Saturday afternoon (12/17/11). The Bernell Rhone trainee won for the same price tag in the spring at Tampa Bay and Saturday’s victory was an off the pace effort just like the one in April. A patient ride by veteran Mark Guidry placed High Spirit in excellent position turning for home. The 5 year old gelding by Stephen Got Even made it look easy passing foes in the stretch and coasted home in the final sixteenth of a mile. High Spirit is owned by Robert Hovelson and paid $5.80 to win.  High Spirit owns an impressive career record of 8 wins and 12 in the money finishes out of 29 career races.  — Art Parker.

Tampa Bay Downs offers deal for Live Meet on Groupon

Tampa Bay Downs is on the ball by partnering with Groupon to offer a deal for the upcoming live meet which begins Saturday, December 3. Buyers can choose from clubhouse packages for 1, 2, 4 or 6 people. Looks like it has been quite successful with nearly 1,000 purchases since Friday. The deal expires tomorrow – click here

If it asks you for a city, just choose Tampa Bay, regardless of where you live.