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)

Hall induction marks a first

OLDSMAR — For trainer Kathleen O'Connell, it would take a major achievement to match her Kentucky Derby experience.

That will happen soon for the hexagenarian who once aspired to be a veterinarian.

O'Connell, who saddles horses in three of the six $75,000 Florida Cup stakes races this afternoon at Tampa Bay Downs, will be recognized as the first female conditioner to gain induction into the Calder Hall of Fame on April 13 at Miami Gardens — capping off two weeks of milestones.

On March 29, O'Connell reached 1,500 career wins with This One's for Mel for owner-breeder Gilbert Campbell, her major client.

"I look at everything as a template for a huge blessing with all the odds that were stacked against me from the very beginning," said O'Connell, who received her first racing license in 1970 as a hot-walker. "I always laugh and say it's been a blue-collar operation. I really haven't got the claiming, shaking, moving type stable. I run ordinary horses where they belong."

O'Connell, who took Tampa Bay Derby winner Watch Me Go to the 2011 Kentucky Derby (he finished 18th), made Calder history in 2009-10 by becoming the first female to win a training title. Overall, the Downs' two-time leading conditioner has started 11,776 horses with purse earnings approaching $25 million.

"(The Calder Hall of Fame) is definitely up there (with the Kentucky Derby)," O'Connell said. "It's an accumulation of a lot of years, a lot of work and a lot of effort. It always takes a team. I've been blessed with a lot of quality people that have worked for me."

O'Connell is looking for her first Florida Cup Day stakes victory, an event in its 11th season. Her stakes starters are: Kanturk Kid in the Sophomore Turf (Race 5, 2:47 p.m.), Alluring Lady and Carolinaonmymind in the Sophomore Fillies (6, 3:17) and Too Fast to Pass in the Sophomore (8, 4:15). Other stakes on the 12-race card are the Turf Classic (7, 3:47), the Distaff Turf (9, 4:50) and the Sprint (10, 5:21).

The Detroit native also can make a splash today on Calder's season-opening program with Reporting Star in the $250,000 Calder Derby (11, 5:25).

"We need a good cheering section," she said.

More horses: The Downs has added another live racing day this summer. It will run June 30 and July 1. … Tampa Bay Derby winner Verrazano is entered today in the Grade I $1 million Wood Memorial (11, 6:28) at Aqueduct at Jamaica, N.Y. The Wood shares the Kentucky Derby-prep spotlight with the Grade I $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (9, 7:01) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

Dogs: Derby Lane will host its richest stakes race tonight with the $80,000 Distance Classic (10, 10:11). The field from the rail: Hi Noon Assassin, Flying Oviedo, Kiowa Jordan Doc, Se's Home Owner, Lk's Sniper, Budz Crosby, Art Almost and Flyin Pink Floyd.

Hall induction marks a first 04/05/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 5, 2013 9:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Lots of questions for college football teams in Florida

    College

    In just three weeks, the state of college football in Florida went from high expectations to lots of questions at USF with slow starts, Florida with no offense and Florida State losing quarterback Deondre …

    Despite slow starts, quarterback Quinton Flowers and USF take a 3-0 record into tonight's game against Temple. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  2. Young girl injured by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium renews call for more netting

    Ml

    NEW YORK — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in New York. [Associated Press]
  3. Morning after: Takeaways from Lightning exhibition

    Blogs

    For the Lightning, there was a lot to like in Wednesday's 4-3 exhibition win in Carolina.

    The Lightning's Erik Cernak, left, congratulates Adam Erne (73) following Erne's goal against the Carolina Hurricanes.
  4. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.