ST. PETERSBURG — Seven stakes. Two racetracks. One sensational Saturday.
Derby Lane and Tampa Bay Downs provide fans a double dose of quality and quantity today. Derby Lane has its richest greyhound stakes race, the 53rd $80,000 Distance Classic at St. Petersburg. The Downs hosts its 10th annual Florida Cup Day with six $75,000 stakes races for thoroughbreds in Oldsmar.
Derby Lane spokeswoman Vera Rasnake said the 660-yard Distance Classic could be a classic. "It is probably going to be one of the best, if not the best, three-eighths stakes races this year," she said. "The caliber of dog is tremendous. You've got (2011) All-America team captain Tiger Boy; the defending champion, Magic Finch; and Jewelz Fire, who has the season's fastest time."
The field from the rail in Race 10 (10:11 p.m.): Kentucky Fire (Cal Holland kennel), Tiger Boy (McAllister), leading qualifier Brother Buck (D'Arcy), Magic Finch (Abernathy), Sovereign Gift (D'Arcy), Kiowa Wildbraves (Patriot), Jewelz Fire (Hambleton) and Flyin Commandant (Red Oak). First place pays $32,000.
The Downs concludes its stakes program with a focus on Florida-bred horses. There are 52 entries in the six stakes: Sophomore, Sophomore Fillies, Sophomore Turf, Sprint, Turf Classic and Turf Distaff, which is the first stakes in Race 3 (1:17). Graham Motion, trainer of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, has two morning-line stakes favorites, Slews Answer (Turf Classic) and Unbridled Humor (Turf Distaff). Other early line stakes choices: Citizen Advocate (Sophomore Fillies), Crafty Unicorn (Sophomore Turf), Hello Prince (Sophomore) and It's Me Mom (Sprint).
Jamie Ness, the nation's leading trainer and closing in on his sixth straight Downs championship, will attempt to extend his streak of winning an Oldsmar stakes race to six consecutive meets with My Charming Clyde (Sprint).
MORE HORSES: The road to the Kentucky Derby continues today with the Grade I $1 million Wood Memorial (Race 9, 5:15 p.m.) at Aqueduct in Elmont, N.Y.; the Grade I $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (Race 6, 5:30) in Arcadia Calif., and the Grade III $500,000 Illinois Derby (Race 9, 6:46) at Hawthorne in Stickney/Cicero. … Oldsmar jockey Scott Spieth collected his 4,000th career victory Friday aboard Ula.
MORE DOGS: Nova kennel All-America selection Hi Noon Renegade has won his past three starts, including career victory No. 50, on March 29.
EASTER SCHEDULE: Derby Lane and Tampa Greyhound Track will be open Sunday for poker and simulcast wagering. The Downs will be closed.