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Partido a success for Tampa fronton

Although the partido, a straight 21-point jai alai game between two-man teams from the Tampa and Miami frontons, was successful with the bettors, it's a safe bet the result wasn't satisfying for Arra II.

Arra II, the star at Tampa, and his partner Barrondo lost the best two-of-three series to Arriaga and Butler: 21-20 in Miami last Thursday and then 21-18 in Tampa on Tuesday.

"I was disappointed," he said. "I felt we could win. We wanted to give it our best, but they played very good. Starting now, I'd like it every year or more than one time in a year."

Tampa fronton officials wouldn't mind that, either.

The frontons had staged annual partidos for 11 years, but the rivalry ended in 1986.

The attendance was 2,074 (about 1,000 of the fans stayed for the partido, which didn't begin until 12:22 a.m. and ended at 1:23), an increase of about 600 fans from an average Tuesday night. Similarly, the handle of $166,000 ($7,300 bet on the partido alone) was a $37,000 increase.

Repayment update: Tampa Jai Alai, which had owed the state $513,049.77 in taxes from July, August and September, has paid its third installment of $192,049.77. All that's left is repaying interest incurred, which still must be calculated. But Department of Business Regulation spokesman John Currie said it will be nothing "exorbitant." That will be due by March 5.

A probable rematch: The Tampa Bay Budweiser Breeders' Cup Stakes on Saturday, one of two races at Tampa Bay Downs that receives money from the Breeders' Cup fund, is shaping up as a rematch of a Jan. 25 race.

Aim High Daniel, a nearly 11-1 longshot, beat Hidden Tomahawk by two lengths in that 7-furlong stakes. Both are expected to run Saturday in the 1/-mile race. Another horse to watch could be the lightly-raced Rebounding Thrill, who has won two of three starts at Tampa Bay Downs.

Big dog on the block: Fine Timing, the leading winner at Derby Lane, and Oxford Shoes, the all-time single-season winner at Tampa Greyhound Track and second in last year's Greyhound Race of Champions, will head the field in Saturday's Sprint Classic at Derby Lane.

Greta Lynn, Damien Facade and Hang Eleven also clinched spots in the eight-dog race. The other three spots were determined Wednesday night. The winner will earn about $30,000.

The leader boards: At Tampa Jai Alai through Feb. 11, Arra II leads in overall wins (101), singles wins (24) and doubles frontcourt (23). He could become only the fifth player in the fronton's 38-year history to sweep all three, joining Almorza, Bolivar, Aramayo and Daniel. Barrondo leads in doubles backcourt with 15 wins.

At Tampa Bay Downs through Saturday, Willie Martinez (36 wins) held a narrow lead on Jorge Guerra (32) and Herson Sanchez (31) in the jockey standings, while John Reading (13 wins) topped the trainer's list, followed by Anthony Pecoraro (12), and Manuel Noa and John Olivares (each with 11).

Lester Raines (45 wins) and Max Trice (44) were atop Derby Lane's kennel standings as of Feb. 7. Trice's kennel includes Fine Timing, while Raines has Greta Lynn.

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