OLDSMAR — Before jockey Andrew Ramgeet mounts Mt. Fugi, he believes the son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus has a future.
The colt's career path, and the direction of 121 other juvenile entries, begin to take shape this afternoon on Cotillion Festival Day at Tampa Bay Downs.
The 11-race card is solely for 2-year-olds, topped by two $75,000 stakes at 6 furlongs: the Sandpiper for fillies (Race 6, 2:49 p.m.) and the Inaugural for colts and geldings (Race 10, 4:37 p.m.).
"It is a really big day for 2-year-olds," Ramgeet said.
"For a lot of them, this is the final race to compete against each other. It's important for them to show what they can do now."
Mt. Fugi, a Kentucky-bred, is the 7-2 early line choice in the 61/2-furlong maiden-special weight sprint (Race 8, 3:43 p.m.).
"I think he's got some future," Ramgeet said.
He will be saddled by trainer Mary Bennett, handling horses for husband Gerald, who is serving a medication-related suspension in Ohio.
In 2001, Ramgeet earned his biggest career victory aboard then-2-year-old Blissful Kiss, who broke her maiden by winning the $100,000 J J's Dream Stakes at Calder in Miami Gardens.
Twenty-two days ago, Ramgeet, 46, celebrated the birth of his fifth son, Aidan.
Whoopty Whoopty and Mr. Green are favorites in the Sandpiper and Inaugural, respectively. First post is 12:25 p.m.
MORE DOWNS: The Morning Glory Club begins at 10 a.m. today in the track grandstand. Richard Grunder interviews racing personalities. … Trainer Tom Proctor saddles Silver Mountain and jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. rides Cloudy's Knight today in the Grade II W.L. McKnight Handicap (Race 10, 4:17 p.m.) at Calder. On the same card, trainer Jamie Ness has War Fighter in the Grade III Kenny Noe Jr. (Race 9, 3:51 p.m.). … More than 300 workers who live on the Downs backside got blankets, pillows and warmup suits at the Race Track Chaplaincy of America Christmas party Monday.
GREYHOUNDS: Qualifying for the $8,000 Inaugural Stakes is Wednesday night at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. The top four finishers in two races advance to the 550-yard finale Jan. 2. … Derby Lane's six-month racing permit begins Friday. Since July, racing in St. Petersburg has been under a Tampa Greyhound Track permit. … The $75,000 660-Yard Challenge win by Tmc's Remedy of Filipelli & O'Donnell Kennel on Dec. 19 makes him a main contender for the National Greyhound Association Flashy Sir award (top distance dog). "He's a phenomenal animal," kennel co-owner/trainer John Filipelli said. Owned by Eddie McDonald and winner of the $100,000 Distance Classic, Tmc's Remedy overcame a 10-length deficit in the Challenge.
NEW YEAR'S DAY: Derby Lane will have a live evening performance. It also will offer poker and simulcast wagering, along with the Downs and Tampa Greyhound.