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' run of stakes races starts Saturday

OLDSMAR — When Breeders' Cup winners Drosselmeyer, Fort Larned and Royal Delta made their Tampa Bay Downs debuts, none won. The true winners were area fans.

"We've been lucky and had some awfully nice horses run here," track racing secretary Allison De Luca said.

For 11 of the next 12 Saturdays (Jan. 19 being the exception), stakes races will be in the spotlight at the Downs. In all, 16, including an all-time high six graded events, totaling $1.935 million will be con­tested.

The Minaret Stakes, a $50,000 race for fillies and mares at 6 furlongs, begins the surge today in Race 8 (3:55 p.m.). Cards with Kentucky Derby implications will be Festival Preview Day on Feb. 2, featuring the Grade III $250,000 Sam F. Davis, and Festival Day on March 9, topped by the Grade II $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby.

"We'll be busy on the bigger days coming up," De Luca said. "In the end, we have Florida Cup Day (April 6). We work hard to get as many horses and the best horses we can."

Stakes coordinator Gerry Stanislawzyk works the telephone daily and travels to Miami to recruit horse owners.

"(Tracks) didn't used to have stakes coordinators, but any major program has one now," De Luca said. "It's a huge load off any racing secretary.

"Our track superintendent (Tom McLaughlin) does such a good job on the turf and the dirt. But it's getting harder and harder (to get good horses) because there are so many stakes around the country. Every track is vying for these horses."

Besides the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby, other graded stakes races are the Endeavour and Florida Oaks on Feb. 2, Tampa Bay Stakes on Feb. 16 and the Hillsborough on March 9, all Grade III events with $150,000 purses. The Florida Oaks, a turf test for 3-year-old fillies, received graded status this year.

"Tampa Bay Downs has worked hard to develop this stakes program and have a good Derby," De Luca said. "That happened long before I got here."

GREYHOUNDS: Derby Lane kicks off its 88th season Tuesday at St. Petersburg. A change from January through March has Monday matinee racing. The track will remain open that night for poker and simulcast wagering. There will continue to be eight weekly performances. On New Year's Eve, Derby Lane offers a matinee card with no night racing. … Qualifying for the $8,000 Inaugural Stakes begins Wednesday night. The top four in Races 6 and 10 reach the Jan. 5 final. … Derby Lane lost one of its veteran kennels this week with Lester Raines going to Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark. Replacing Lester Raines will be a kennel from Jacksonville operated by John Lashmet.

Tampa Bay Downs' run of stakes races starts Saturday 12/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 28, 2012 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has

    Sports

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.