OLDSMAR — With trainer Leigh Delacour tending to 5-month-old son Luca near the winner's circle at Tampa Bay Downs, her husband, Arnaud, was congratulating jockey Luis Garcia on his victory aboard Magic Charm.
Away from the track, the news Feb. 10 was even better for the Delacours. It centered on Eraso Tranquilino, an injured exercise rider from their 20-member staff.
Hospitalized since Jan. 18 with injuries sustained in a fall from a golf cart in the Downs barn area, Tranquilino had been taken out of a medically induced coma and removed from the intensive care unit at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where he remains.
"It was a great step forward with him no longer in the induced coma," Leigh said. "He bumped his head and had cranial bleeding, which caused brain trauma because of the swelling, and a piece of his skull was removed to stabilize the brain. He has been stable since they did the surgery a couple of days after his admittance."
Tranquilino, 23, has been employed by the Delacours for three years.
"You spend a lot of hours at work, and the guys that have been with us for a period of time practically become family," said Leigh, who assisted Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion for a decade before starting a stable in 2007 with Arnaud.
A major boost for Tranquilino has come from the Race Track Chaplaincy of America-Tampa Bay Downs Division and its president, Sharyn Wasiluk. The organization established a fund for Tranquilino, helping offset costs for family members visiting from Mexico and assisting with medical expenses.
"People have sent various sums of money from across the country — in fact, internationally — to help this guy out who they don't know," Leigh said.
The chaplaincy assists hundreds of workers on the Downs backside. Functions include worship services, holiday dinners, English tutoring, computer classes, health care, soccer and softball.
A majority of funds for those functions is generated from the chaplaincy's Hearts Racing Out golf tournament and charity auction-dinner March 4. The four-person scramble golf outing is at 11 a.m. at Countryside Country Club in Clearwater. The dinner and auction begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Downs tent pavilion near the paddock. All activities are open to the public. For information, call (813) 494-1870 or (813) 298-1576.
More horses: Defending champion Action Andy and 2011 winner Capt. Candyman Can head the $75,000 Super Stakes (Race 9, 4:43 p.m.) today at the Downs. … Sam F. Davis winner Falling Sky and fourth-place finisher Speak Logistics are entered in today's Grade II $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (Race 11, 5:35) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach.
Dogs: The $64,000 Sprint Classic enters third-round qualifying tonight in Races 6 (8:55) and 10 (10:11) at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg.