Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Famed trainer to appear at Tampa Bay Downs

OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs racing secretary Allison De Luca remembers the last race for Alysheba, who closed a Hall of Fame career in 1988 with a win in the $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic to earn horse of the year honors at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

"Best day I ever had at the races," said De Luca, then a 32-year-old racing secretary at the former Sportsman's Park in Cicero, Ill.

"It was such a great card, and I had a great box (seat), almost on the finish line, sitting with a couple of family members and racing officials. It was the last race that day and getting real dark when Alysheba won."

Downs spokeswoman Margo Flynn was 27, watching from her Salem, N.H., residence in 1987 as Alysheba lost his Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

That same year, Anthony Granitz was a 24-year-old trainer at Arlington Park on the day that Alysheba conditioner and Hall of Fame inductee John "Jack" Van Berg became the first U.S. trainer to gain 5,000 wins at the Arlington Heights, Ill., track.

"I've raced against (Van Berg), but one of my fondest memories came at the Barretts 2-year-old sale (in Pomona, Calif.)," said Granitz, a Downs trainer. "We were bidding on the same filly and I outbid him. He told me, 'Son, you bought a real nice horse.' That meant a lot coming from a Hall of Famer."

Van Berg, 77, a native of Columbus, Neb., will be the headliner next month at the Downs. He is slated to be the auctioneer March 3 at the annual Hearts Reaching Out fundraiser for the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, Downs Division.

The auction-dinner and golf tournament raise money for services provided to track backside workers. Services include computer and English classes, a health fair, soccer and softball games, and church services. Sharyn Wasiluk is the Downs' RTCA president.

Racing and sports memorabilia are available at the dinner-auction (5:30 p.m.) in the track frontside pavilion tent. The golf tourney (11 a.m.) kicks off the day at Cheval Golf and Country Club in Lutz. Both events are open to the public. For information, call (813) 854-1313 or (813) 494-1870.

Granitz has been the auctioneer in the past. "I don't mind getting bumped and replaced by a Hall of Famer," he said.

Van Berg ranks fifth all time with 6,517 wins. He is expected to be at the Downs for the March 2 card and autograph his book. Jack, From Grit To Glory.

"Other trainers told me that (Van Berg) would always be the first one to congratulate somebody when they did something big," De Luca said. "He's a pretty humble person for all the success he had."

MORE HORSES: The $100,000 Super Stakes (Race 8, 3:55 p.m.) heads today's card at the Downs.

DOGS: The $64,000 Sprint Classic resumes today at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg with qualifying in Races 6 (8:55) and 10 (10:11).

Famed trainer to appear at Tampa Bay Downs 02/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 10:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Erasmo Ramirez is not happy about moving back to the bullpen, and can you blame him? But that's the best move for the Rays now. He can fill several roles: long man, setup man, even closer in a pinch. The Rays need to settle the bullpen, and Ramirez has proven he's capable of doing that.