OLDSMAR — On early visits to the claiming box, Jamie Ness made clerical errors that kept horses out of his hands. The trainer's attention to detail has improved — greatly.
Ness, the nation's second-leading winner in 2010, is the only conditioner to win a stakes the past five meets at Tampa Bay Downs. Each stakes winner has been a horse he claimed. Two sprinters can maintain the status quo. Today, See I A goes for his sixth consecutive victory with jockey Huber Villa-Gomez in the 7-furlong $75,000 Super Stakes (Race 9, 4:10 p.m.). On Feb. 19, Sneaking Uponyou is expected to try to defend his title in the $75,000 Turf Dash, a race Ness has won the previous four years.
"If I'm going to win a stakes, it's going to be with a claiming horse because we don't go out to sales and buy young and nice horses," he said. "I have to develop them from somebody else."
Ness, 36, the Downs' top trainer and four-time reigning champion, has captured nine Oldsmar stakes since 2006-07 with five horses. See I A, claimed last year for $10,000, extended Ness' stakes streak Jan. 8, winning the $60,000 Pelican for his first career stakes victory.
Lookinforthesecret put Ness on the map. Bought for $12,500 in 2007, Lookinforthesecret won eight stakes, four at the Downs. Two-time stakes winners Sneaking Uponyou and Repenting, who won one of his stakes at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., were picked up as $25,000 maidens. Ness claimed 2009 Turf Dash winner Castles in the Sky for $12,500.
Through Friday, Ness had made 15 of the 61 claims at the Downs, totaling $208,000. He had 12 horses claimed.
"I hire the best exercise riders, best grooms and best farriers. I try to feed the best feed and hay and place horses in the best races I can with the best jockeys," Ness said. "When you put a lot of bests into one thing, usually you get a best result."
NOTES: Musket Man, winner of last year's Super Stakes, has been retired to stud at Vinery in Summerfield. … The Sam F. Davis, Endeavour and Florida Oaks drew 119 nominations for the Feb. 12 card.