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Tampa Tips

Posted by on 12/30/2015 3:43:25 AM

Sometimes players are either looking to change their luck or they get tired of handicapping the same circuit and the same horses so the other Florida option Tampa Bay Downs is a solid stop for those looking to switch the channel.

Tampa Bay Downs was a long-time haunt of New York Yankee Boss George Steinbrenner and is a hidden gem in the early portion of the racing year. Bettors will be much better off in the long run if they pay attention to this meet and to the shippers that will go elsewhere when the meet ends.

The Tampa form seems to hold up better every year and although it doesn’t have the glitter and glory of Gulfstream Park there are some good riders and some very good trainers that ply their trade there.

The track opened in 1926 under the name Tampa Downs but it has also been named Sunshine Park.

The highlight of the meeting will be the Tampa Bay Derby on March 7 but there are some other serious stakes including the Sam F. Davis Stakes. And three-year-old fillies will get a shot at glory in the Tampa Bay Oaks.

Last Saturday at Tampa the main track and the turf course both played fair as a runner could win on the lead or from left field. Jockey Jose Ferrer was either first or second in the first 3 races. And horses shipping from Hawthorne, Finger Lakes and Aqueduct all won races.

Ferrer is the second leading rider at Tampa with 12 wins from 53 mounts and the leading jockey has already had 95 mounts this meeting.

A trainer to watch with comebackers this meet is Gerald Bennett. He is great with horses that need some tender loving care. The Canadian native has been a fixture in the Michigan racing scene for what seems life forever but is best known for his work with Beau Genius. A few seasons ago he planned and orchestrated that runner’s 13 stakes winning career which including Grade 1 scores in Jersey in the Haskell and Phil Iselin.

And Gerald has a sharp eye for a claim as he once purchase Lombardi Time for 10 grand and that runner earned almost $900,000.

Gerald has company on the backstretch with his son Dale, a hockey player early in his life but he finally turned his attention to the horses.

So far this meeting, the father-son duo are both hitting at a 26% win clip.

One of my favorite trainers in the country has called Tampa his winter home since the 2001 season and when bettors see runners mentored by Tom Proctor, they had better pay attention.

Tom learned from his pops, the legendary Willard, who is one of the most respected trainers in California history.

At the meeting that concluded on June 30, Proctor only started 74 horses during the meet but 14 came back to the winner’s circle and another 20 ran in the money.

The best thing about Proctor is he is dangerous at a price and he has been known to saunter to the betting windows.

Katheleen O’Connell is always at or near the top in the trainer standings and 2 trainers jump off the canvas with high percentages.

Jamie Ness popped at 31% in the sprint meet this year and Sandino Hernandez was 24 of his 70 starters reach the winner’s circle for a 34% rate.

So, when things get boring for online sports players in New York, or at Gulfstream, or even at Santa Anita in a few more weeks, take a glance at the Tampa Bay action and get in on the value.

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