OLDSMAR — Poised and prepared, Going for More tries to give a polished performance Sunday in the Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Sandpiper is one of two $75,000 stakes on Cotillion Festival Day, a 10-race card for 2-year-olds. The Sandpiper (Race 7, 3:12 p.m.) is for fillies, the Inaugural (Race 9, 4:07) for colts and geldings. Both stakes are 6 furlongs on the main track.
Downs second-leading trainer Gerald Bennett said Going for More has been an excellent learner.
"(Two-year-olds) are creatures of habit, so you have to educate them," he said. "Get them in company, teach them where the wire is, and to pick it up at the three-eighths pole, and the quarter pole to the wire. (Going for More) is very smart and picks everything up really quickly. She always conducts herself with some class."
This will be the fourth start for Going for More, a Michigan homebred by two-time Grade I winner Slew City Slew and out of the Magic Banner mare Dr. McQuade. She has won her past two races and comes off a front-running victory in the $50,000 Michigan Fall Juvenile on Oct. 30 at Pinnacle in New Boston. She drew post 5 in the 11-horse field for rider Ronnie Allen Jr.
Owned by Michael McQuade, Going for More is a full sister to All I Can Get, a seven-time stakes winner formerly trained by Bennett.
All I Can Get ran in the Downs' major races in 2007, finishing second to Any Given Saturday in the Sam F. Davis and fifth to eventual Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense in the Tampa Bay Derby.
"She's a smaller horse than All I Can Get," Bennett said, "but I think after we keep leading her along, she'll keep improving."
It's Me Mom is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Sandpiper. Manicero, winner of the $125,000 Jack Price Juvenile on Nov. 13 at Calder in Miami Gardens, is the 3-1 early line pick in the Inaugural.
MORE HORSES: Jockey Deshawn Parker, the national wins leader, is at Oldsmar.
DERBY LANE: Flying Coal City, who captured the $75,000 660-Yard Challenge on Dec. 18 at the St. Petersburg greyhound track, fell one behind in the national wins race Friday when Palm Beach sprinter Where's Big Cash won his 48th race of the year. "(Flying Coal City owner) Vince Berland has never had a dog finish first in wins before," kennel owner Malcolm McAlllister said. "That's our goal." … The racing career of Abernathy kennel's Casino Zada is on hold. Tied for third in wins with 16, she suffered a leg injury Dec. 15. "We miss her being on the track," trainer Kayruth Abernathy said. "Some people have even stopped by the kennel to see her." Casino Zada had won eight of her previous 12 races and once had a streak of finishing in the money (top four) in 28 of 29 races.
CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE: The Downs, Derby Lane and Tampa Greyhound Track are closed today.