Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Festival of the Sun brightens mood around Florida horse track

For Florida horsemen, the picture has been cloudy. They have dealt with declining handle and purse reductions. And this month, powerhouse Adena Springs announced it was ending its Florida breeding program in Williston, moving stallions to Kentucky and Canada, which provide better purse structures.

"Horsemen have had it tough this year," Calder Race Course spokeswoman Michele Blanco said.

But today, a ray of sunshine exists at the Miami Gardens track with the 18th renewal of Festival of the Sun. The 13-race card features seven stakes totaling $1.25 million, including finales in the Florida Stallion Stakes and the last of 61 Breeders' Cup qualifying races. First post is 12:40 p.m. The stakes are Races 6-12.

Jackson Bend, a homebred colt trained by Stanley Gold for owner Jacks or Better Farm, will attempt to become the seventh horse to sweep all three Florida Stallion Stakes open division races in the In Reality, one of two $400,000 stakes in the series for 2-year-olds at 11/16 miles. Jackson Bend won the 6-furlong Dr. Fager on Aug. 8 and 7-furlong Affirmed on Aug. 29.

He also handed Grade II Belmont Futurity and Saratoga Springs Special winner D' Funnybone his only loss in the Frank Gomez Memorial on July 11 at Calder. Jackson Bend has won four consecutive races after running second in his debut. Last year, Big Drama swept the stallion stakes for Clearwater owner Harold Queen.

"Talk to anyone who trains a good 2-year-old (and) there's hope for the future," Blanco said. "That's what the stallion stakes is all about."

The other Florida Stallion Stakes race is the My Dear Girl, limited to fillies. Two-year-olds also will compete in the Birdonthewire and Cassidy, each $75,000 races along with the Calder Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. There are two Grade III $100,000 events: Calder Derby and Spend a Buck Handicap, a qualifier for the Breeders' Cup on Nov. 6-7 at Oak Tree at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.

A stagnant economy and rain that curtailed turf racing forced Calder to slash overnight purses 15 percent on Oct. 8, but relief may be on the way. On Friday, Calder opens a 29-table poker room on the grandstand's first floor. A new 104,000-square foot facility for slot machines is expected to be completed before Super Bowl XLIV is held Feb. 7 at nearby Land Shark Stadium.

"Absolutely, we're hoping that we'll be able to restore the purses," Blanco said. "We hope to see a turnaround in the trend."

Calder's 105-day meet ends Sunday. Tampa Bay Downs 2000-01 leading jockey Manoel Cruz will win his third Calder championship. William White has wrapped up his 11th trainer title and Oldsmar conditioner Kathleen O'Connell is third. The Tropical meet at Calder starts Thursday and runs through Jan. 2.

Festival of the Sun brightens mood around Florida horse track 10/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 16, 2009 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs-Bills: Social media reactions to the Bucs' 30-27 loss


    Here's a sampling of reactions from the media and fans to the Bucs' 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo:

    Buffalo Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka (4) is mobbed by teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Buccaneers-Bills: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 30-27 loss


    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo on Sunday:


    Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) screams in jubilation after running for a first down late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs-Bills roundtable: Deonte Thompson's late catch spelled 'instant disaster' for Bucs


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Adam Humphries' fumble led to the Bills' game-winning field goal in Tampa Bay's 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo. But the Bills' first play after the Bucs finally took the lead was almost as deadly.

    The Buffalo Bills' Deonte Thompson (10) catches a pass in front of Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes (24) during the first half. [AP photo]
  4. Bucs-Bills: Instant analysis from the Bucs' 30-27 loss


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Here's the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team's instant analysis from the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo:


    Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) intercepts a Jameis Winston (3) pass intended for tight end Cameron Brate (84) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs overcome 11-point deficit, then allow game to slip away, 30-27, to Bills


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — In less than a minute, a hard-fought win — and perhaps much more — slipped away from the Bucs, who gave up 10 points in the final four minutes and lost to the Bills, …

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) tries to turn the corner as Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) forces him out of bounds during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]