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My Sweet Dove hopes to build on success

OLDSMAR — Hello Broadway was expected to draw huge reviews on the 2009 Kentucky Derby trail. He was the wagering favorite in three major prep races, including the Tampa Bay Derby.

But the wow factor seldom showed.

Things might be different for him as a sire. My Sweet Dove is his biggest hit thus far.

Winner of the $100,000 Sandpiper Stakes in December, My Sweet Dove can add to her resume today in the Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. The 7-furlong sprint for fillies (Race 9, 4:22 p.m.) is co-featured with the Pasco Stakes for colts and geldings (Race 3, 1:28). Both $100,000 events on Skyway Festival Day are for 3-year-olds.

My Sweet Dove, the first stakes winner by Hello Broadway, has done little wrong in three career starts, the first two at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. The Florida homebred finished second in her debut, broke her maiden the next time out and won the Sandpiper at the Downs by defeating favored Enquete in a gate-to-wire effort for South Florida breeder-owner Peter Lawson.

"(My Sweet Dove) responded when (Enquete) got up to her head (in midstretch)," trainer Monte Thomas said.

She was bred on Thomas' Ups and Downs Farm in the Marion County community of Citra, where he has Hello Broadway and Royal Dove, My Sweet Dove's dam.

Expectations were high for Hello Broadway on the track, but he never made that big splash. He was the 2-1 favorite in the Grade III Nashua at Aqueduct in New York, Grade II Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park and Grade III Tampa Bay Derby (now Grade II) at the Downs. Hello Broadway's best finish in those races was second (twice). He never made it to the Kentucky Derby and won only two of his nine lifetime starts.

My Sweet Dove drew Post 6 in the field of 10 with jockey Antonio Gallardo, who replaces the injured Fernando De La Cruz.

"At this point, (My Sweet Dove) is doing what she's supposed to," Thomas said.

In the Pasco, Inaugural Stakes winner Cool Cowboy drew the rail against seven rivals for trainer Dale Bennett. Eduardo Perez has the mount.

MORE HORSES: Bloodhorse, which publishes horse racing magazines, reported the Downs has made a preliminary filing with the Florida Department of Parimutuel Wagering for the 2015 fiscal year, requesting to race on July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, to earn host track status as a year-round facility. The rest of its meet would be from November to May. Dates will be released in March.

GREYHOUNDS: Derby Lane hosts the $8,000 Inaugural Stakes tonight in Race 10 (10:11) at St. Petersburg. … The track will have matinee racing Monday with no night performance into May. … At the previous meet that ended Tuesday, Red Oak Racing won its second straight title under manager-trainer Alex Hall with 328 wins. Red Oak's Flying Sebastian was top dog with 18 victories.

My Sweet Dove hopes to build on success 01/03/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 3, 2014 9:40pm]

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