The Tampa Bay Derby Festival is the biggest day of the season at Tampa Bay
Downs, with some of the best three year olds on the east coast shipping in for
the year's two marquee races, the Grade 3 $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby and the
$150,000 Florida Oaks. The third-largest crowd in Tampa Bay Derby history --
8,131 -- showed up and helped set a handle record of $5,353,782.
Limehouse winning the Tampa Bay Derby.
The Tampa Bay Derby drew a field of eight, with Triple Crown hopeful Limehouse
sent off as the 9-10 favorite, with regular rider Pat Day in to ride. When the
gate opened, Patrick Husbands sent his mount Very Formal M.D. straight to the
front, and the 27-1 longshot led the field through fractions of 23.69, 47.78,
and 1:11.90. Favored Limehouse was always in contention, staying out of
trouble off the rail, while 2-1 second choice Swingforthefences dueled with
the leader. Turning for home, Very Formal M.D. continued to hold the lead as
Limehouse came out four wide to begin his rally. Down the lane, the
pacesetter succumbed to the quick pace and faltered inside the 1/8 pole, as
Limehouse and late-closing 7-1 shot Mustanfar went right on by. Limehouse
held off Mustanfar to win by a neck in a time of 1:43.99 for the 1 1/16 mile
feature, just 0.33 seconds off the stakes record set in 2000. It was another
length back to Swingforthefences in third. Results Chart
Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell leads Limehouse with jockey Pat Day aboard into the winner's circle. Pat Day said, "He was very professional. He warmed nice, broke
well, was comfortably placed at all times and ran over the track pretty well.
At about the seven sixteenths pole he went to scrambling just a little bit but
got on his feet quickly and held his position. Off the [second] turn I put him
to the task and he responded beautifully. He got by the leaders then got to
waiting just a little but he got back into it right about the 1/16 pole as the
competition heated up and he went up." Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I was a little concerned at one point but
I know this horse's style and Pat's style as well. He always saves some horse
for the end. I'll see how he comes back and sit down with Mr. Campbell (owner
Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell) later this week and talk about our
options but the Blue Grass would be the logical choice since he's already won
a stakes at Keeneland."
Second place finisher Mustanfar returning after the Tampa Bay Derby. Assistant trainer Neal McLaughlin said, "I
just got off the phone with [brother and trainer] Kiaran and he couldn't be
happier with the way our horse ran. It looks like we got pinched right out of
the gate but then he got the run of the rail and he put in a great run."
Third place finisher Swingforthefences returning after the Tampa Bay Derby. His trainer Rick Violette said, "He was
wired in the paddock then got really wound up and kind of lost it on the
racetrack prior to the race. As a result he was probably more forwardly placed
than he wants and I'm not sure that's his best style. But with all of that he
was beaten only a length in a very fast time."
Ender's Sister winner of the Florida Oaks.
In the Florida Oaks, Pat Day was also aboard the favorite, 13-10 shot Ender's
Sister. In the early stages, Edgar Prado had 9-2 third choice Fall Fashion in
front, getting the half in 47.82 and three-quarters in 1:12.89, while battling
with 3-1 second choice Menifeeque. Down the lane, Menifeeque made her bid and
got 1 1/2 lengths clear with a furlong to go, but Ender's Sister, who had
stalked the pace in third early, angled off the rail and wore her down in the
final strides to beat her by 3/4 length in 1:45.66 for the 1 1/16 mile event.
It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to 17-1 longshot and late closing America
America in third. Results Chart
Winning jockey Pat Day said, "She got a good start and was comfortably placed.
I eased off the leaders on the backside and when I called on her to respond
she responded beautifully. [Menifeeque] kind of jumped away from us but
[Ender's Sister] went about her task in a very professional fashion and we got
by her late." By winning both events, Pat Day completed a rare Florida
Oaks-Tampa Bay Derby double, a feat he also accomplished in 1998.
Coney Kitty winner of the Hillsborough Stakes.
The older fillies and mares were featured in the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes
at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. A full field of twelve went to post, with Madeira
Mist sent off as the 5-2 lukewarm favorite. 10-1 shot Strait from Texas and
54-1 longshot Love Sting battled on the front end most of the way around, and
they rattled off fractions of 24.71, 49.07, 1:12.80, and 1:37.09. The fast
pace set the race up for the closers who quickly took over in the final
furlong. Favored Madeira Mist, stalking the pace in fourth early under Edgar
Prado, made her move at the top of the stretch, and drew even with the leader
inside the 1/8 pole. 3-1 second choice Coney Kitty, back in seventh early,
advanced through traffic on the turn and came on strong down the lane to
prevail over the favorite by a neck, in a time of 1:48.83 over the firm
course. It was another neck back to another closer, 7-1 shot Alternate in
third. Strait from Texas held fourth while Love Sting faded badly and
finished ninth. Prado claimed foul against Santos for interference in the
stretch but the stewards disallowed the claim, allowing the result to stand. Results Chart
Jockeys Edgar Prado (left) and Jose Santos await the results of the objection.
Winning jockey Jose Santos commented on Prado's foul claim: "His horse hit
mine in behind and made her go sideways a bit. It was a very tough call, but
I'm very happy. I was concerned about it, but they have stewards that
understand when a horse touches another from the rear end it always wants to
go to sideways. I think this was an excellent race. This racetrack has been
improving more and more, and is going forward every year. I'm real happy about
Edgar Prado, aboard second place finisher and beaten favorite Madeira Mist,
said of the claim of foul, "She came out pretty good and my horse ended up in
the seven path at the wire."