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)

Tampa Bay Downs gets back in full swing

OLDSMAR — Nothing will whet the appetites of area racing fans today more than breakfast and a couple of stakes.

Tampa Bay Downs offers that combo on the first major card of its 2013-14 season: Cotillion Festival Day, mainly for 2-year-old thoroughbreds.

This is the fourth program in the Downs' 91-day meet. The Oldsmar oval's 88th season started July 1, giving it year-round, live-racing status and enabling it to generate additional money through simulcast wagering sites. Racing resumed Wednesday with jockey Fernando De La Cruz recording his 1,000th career victory aboard Jungle Princess for trainer Jamie Ness, who is attempting to tie the late Don Rice for most training championships in the modern era with eight. Ness has won or shared titles the past seven years, and he captured his 2,000th lifetime victory Nov. 28 at Laurel Park (Md.).

The Downs' 15 percent purse increase, a result of additional simulcast revenue, has been an instant hit with 97 horses entered in today's 10 races. All but Race 2 feature 2-year-olds.

"Extra money helps everybody out, and it draws more people and better horses," stakes coordinator Gerry Stanislawzyk said. "The people we have (at the Downs) just love to run and they help out big time (with entries). We've got people from Miami coming up to help us out, too."

Today is a microcosm of what the Downs faces this year. It shares many racing dates with Calder in Miami Gardens and Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, which have key programs this afternoon. Calder has three Grade III races; Gulfstream Park plays host to the 15th annual Claiming Crown, a $1 million, eight-race national event for blue-collar horses.

Breakfast at the Downs (8-10 a.m.) kicks off the Oldsmar festivities. The event, open to the public, takes place in the tent near the paddock and allows fans to watch horses work out and meet trainers and jockeys.

Two $100,000 stakes races at 6 furlongs on the main track highlight the racing. The Sandpiper (Race 6, 2:53 p.m.) attracted seven fillies, including undefeated Enquete for trainer Todd Pletcher. Eight colts and geldings are in the Inaugural (8, 3:51). A top Inaugural foe is Cool Cowboy for conditioner Dale Bennett, who returns to the Downs after a two-year hiatus in Illinois.

Only one stakes entry has a stakes victory: Sandpiper sprinter Secret Kitten (Cassidy Stakes winner at Calder). She is conditioned by two-time leading trainer Kathleen O'Connell, the Downs defending purse earnings champion. O'Connell also starts Flatter This in the $200,000 Jewel Stakes (Race 10, 5:03), the richest Claiming Crown event at Gulfstream Park.

First post at the Downs is 12:25 p.m.

GREYHOUNDS: Third-round qualifying in the $75,000 Holiday Distance Challenge is tonight in Races 6 (8:55 p.m.) and 10 (10:11) at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg.

Tampa Bay Downs gets back in full swing 12/06/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 6, 2013 8:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact: Trump's Mostly False claim that NFL ratings are 'way down'

    Bucs

    The statement

    "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country."

    Quarterback Jameis Winston is sacked during the first half of the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  2. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings

    Bucs

    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Eight Gators, including Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett, face felony fraud accusations

    Blogs

    At least eight Florida Gators face potential felony charges on accusations of fraud, according to Alachua County court records.

    Star receiver Antonio Callaway is among at least four Florida Gators who face potential felony charges on accusations of fraud.
  4. Luke Del Rio to start against Vanderbilt for Florida Gators

    Blogs

    GAINESVILLE - The Florida Gators have made another quarterback change.

  5. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

    Footballpreps

    1. Armwood (2-0)

    Up next: at Blake (Thursday)

    Armwood High School quarterback Devin Black (7) hands the ball off to running back Larry Anderson (13) during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.