Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Record stakes win from Purple Egg, Cor Cor on Tampa Bay Downs opening day

OLDSMAR — If Purple Egg and Cor Cor develop into stars of tomorrow, their connections can look back at Saturday.

Both 2-year-olds remained undefeated and won their first stakes races with record-setting performances at Tampa Bay Downs during the track's 87th season opener.

Purple Egg, a Kentucky-bred gelded son of Lion Heart and whose seven Goodwood Racing II owners include Downs vice president of marketing and publicity Margo Flynn, came from off the pace to win the $75,000 Inaugural Stakes.

Cor Cor gave a gutsy effort to take the $75,000 Sandpiper Stakes for trainer Joan Scott, a Penn Laird, Va., native and a descendant of late country music legend Patsy Cline.

A crowd of 5,226 attended the Cotillion Festival Day 10-race card for 2-year-olds only. All-source handle was $4,167,125.

Purple Egg improved to 3-0 under trainer Jane Cibelli, founder of the Goodwood Racing II syndicate, which purchased him for $22,000 at a Keeneland (Ky.) yearling sale.

"I knew he was very talented," Cibelli said. "Obviously, (2-year-olds) are very fragile. They're equine athletes, just like football players. They (can) get hurt, so that's always a big worry.

"The Pasco (Jan. 12 at the Downs) is an option next. If he's good enough (after that) to run in the Sam F. Davis (Feb. 2), that's where he'll run."

Ridden by Roberto Alvarado Jr., Purple Egg ($6.60) rallied in the six-horse field to wear down 1-2 favorite Brave Dave in deep stretch. Purple Egg won by one length and clocked 6 furlongs in a stakes-record time of 1 minute, 9.93 seconds, eclipsing Dream of Angels' 1:10.89 in 2006.

"It's great to see him move up in stakes company and rate well, come from off the pace and finish up strongly," Flynn said.

Goodwood Racing II was perfect on the day, also winning with Swear Me In in a maiden special weight event, one of six maiden races on the card.

Cor Cor, a Florida-bred filly by Smoke Glacken, showed a lot of heart for owners Steve Ballou and Harriet Waldron. She set a blistering pace (fractions of 21.95 and 44.0 seconds) to open up an early three-length lead, withstood challenges from two rivals throughout the stretch and outlasted Vitameta by a half-length. It was her second victory.

Purchased for $42,000 at an Ocala Breeders' Sale Co. juvenile sale, Cor Cor paid $5 as the favorite in the eight-horse field under jockey Scott Spieth, who recorded his 4,134th lifetime victory.

Cor Cor's time of 1:10.02 topped the stakes record of Misty Rosette (1:10.33) in 2005. It was the second Sandpiper triumph for Scott, who won in 2008 with Dr. Zic.

"(Cor Cor) is a rocket," Scott said. "She hung on and kept digging in. Probably she will stick to sprinting. There's plenty of races for that."

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