OLDSMAR — She is C C's Pal, whose initials symbolize the filly from Florida.
C C's Pal has raced at seven tracks in seven states, traveling nearly 7,000 miles. Today she can win her first stakes in the $50,000 Manatee (Race 9, 4:10 p.m.) at Tampa Bay Downs.
This will be the 4-year-old debut for C C's Pal, who has three wins, three Grade III-placed finishes and career earnings of $209,886. She has been off since a second-place showing in the $70,000 Witches Brew on Oct. 31 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. C C's Pal was freshened at Vinery in Summerfield.
"We have to start her back somewhere," trainer Derek Ryan said. "She's a blue-collar horse who always shows up."
C C's Pal, who was nominated to the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff, drew Post 3 in the 7-furlong Manatee race. She faces 10 rivals under jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr.
Ten of her 15 career starts have been in stakes, four graded. The Grade III stakes placings came last year. She was second in the $175,000 Florida Oaks at the Downs (no longer graded) and third in the $200,000 Monmouth Oaks and $100,000 Comely at Aqueduct in Jamaica, N.Y.
That capped a solid 2010 for C C's Pal, who had one allowance victory, at Monmouth Park, eight top-three finishes from 10 starts, and earnings of $185,136 for New York owner Eric Fein.
The filly by Alex's Pal and out of the Noactor mare Roca was somewhat of a problem child when Ryan purchased her privately last year at an undisclosed price from Cathy Courtemanche.
"She was (difficult) in the paddock, and she was acting up in the gate," Ryan said. "As she's gotten older, she's settled down nice. She's a sweetheart, quiet as a mouse."
Ryan learned C C's Pal was for sale after the Florida-bred ran third against the boys in an allowance-optional claiming race at the Downs. C C's Pal was defeated that day by Schoolyard Dreams, a Ryan-trained colt that lost the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby by a nose.
C C's Pal showed promise early in her career. After losing her debut at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., she won her next two races at Retama Park in Selma, Texas, dominating maiden-special weight and allowance 2-year-olds by 26 total lengths.
Ryan said C C's Pal performs best at two turns. Her past two workouts were tops on those respective mornings at the Downs.
"She deserves a stakes win," Ryan said. "She's a classy, classy filly."
greyhounds: Keith Dillon, 95, an industry icon who bred and raced champion dogs including Havencroft, Keefer, Perceive and Understood at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, died Monday in Olathe, Kan., where funeral services are today.