If there ever has been a lock for Pick 3 at Tampa Bay Downs, this was it Saturday: Pariente Barbara in the sixth race, Keep Striking in the seventh and Not Surprising in the eighth.
But the rules of racing say that in a Pick 3, in which the bettor must pick the winner of three consecutive races, if a horse is scratched after the first race in the trilogy, the bettor who has the scratched horse on his ticket has his pick switched to the post-time favorite.
Pariente Barbara won and paid $3.80. But as the horses were going into the gate for the seventh, Keep Striking, who was a lower price than Pariente Barbara, dumped jockey Bill Henry on the track and kicked him in the face.
With Henry on his way to the hospital for observation, the stewards scratched the heavy favorite, and all the Pick 3 tickets were switched to Your Reach, who became a slight favorite at 8-5. Your Reach finished third as Once More Once surprised at $18.40.
Of course, Not Surprising was an easy winner in the eighth, and the Pick 3 paid $173. But the customers who had made Keep Striking their key in the seventh were out of luck.
It's an offensive rule to many bettors. First, bettors may already have the favorite in their selections and wind up getting it again. Second, they may hate the horse who is favored, or who has become favored after the scratch, as was the case Saturday.
NEW HEIGHTS: When Not Surprising won the eighth, 1996's sprint champion continued his successful comeback at the ripe age of 8. Bob Van Worp's gelding by Medieval Man compiled two victories, a second and a fifth in four starts this season since his enforced layoff of nearly 10 months. The winner's check of $8,160 raised his lifetime earnings to a gaudy $1,109,533. He has won 23 races in a 58-race career for trainer Judd Van Worp, the owner's son.
The younger Van Worp enjoyed a great moment of his own Sunday when his 4-year-old colt, Born Mighty, captured Hialeah's Grade III Royal Palm Handicap with a strong late run under former Tampa regular Jose Rivera II.
DERBY LANE: The NGA spring meet concluded last week in Abilene, Kan., reporting record greyhound sales of $925,800. Among the pricey pups was Big Zee, purchased by Bahama Mama Greyhounds. Big Zee will compete at Derby Lane for the Bahama-Pro Kennel. At the fall meet in 1997, Bahama Mama purchased Snow Bow, determined winner of the Gold Trophy Stakes, and Carjack in fourth. The pups earned more than $11,000. This is the first season of racing for the Bahama-Pro Kennel at Derby Lane. The Capabal Kennel's ]-mile champ, Jimbo's Chelsie, moved within range of the top dog spot Saturday night with a third straight Grade A victory, beating $100,000 Distance Classic champ Greys Betsy Ross. Chelsie's victory was her 14th, three short of the season's best by Bomb Threat. Beginning today, T.L.'s in Derby Club 4 will open at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Producers of the TV show Animal Planet were in St. Petersburg recently, filming a segment for Breed All About It. The show focuses on a breed and researches the background. St. Petersburg was well represented with Derby Lane's Ryan Farms Kennel. The film crew also visited Greyhound Pets of America, Largo Chapter and Print Shack on Fourth Street to learn about Print Shack's adopted greyhound, Smoke.
TAMPA JAI-ALAI: Frontcourter Aitor won his first player-of-the-month award in more than two years in April. The state Senate signed a bill Friday that would allow frontons to be taxed after profits, sending it to Gov. Lawton Chiles.
_ Correspondents Vera Filipelli and Shane Best contributed to this report.