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Get Hot At Tampa Bay Downs

Posted by on 12/3/2014 7:19:08 PM

At this time of the year, bettors can sometimes get tired of handicapping the same circuit and the same horses so the opening of Tampa Bay Downs is a great opportunity to sharpen the winning skills.

It got off to a rousing start last weekend and there could be some trends showing already. If opening day is any indication, fans better look long and hard at the speed horses during this meet.

The runners that had the ability to make the top of race close up early dominated the racing to kick off the stand.

Of the first 7 dirt races of the meet, the winners had to be close up or leading or they were defeated. Inside speed was also very dangerous on the turf course.

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 on May 3.

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 highlight of the meeting will be the Grade 2 $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7 but there are some other serious stakes there that sophomores can build momentum toward the spring classics.

And the powers that be at Tampa do not saturate the product. They run a conservative 4 days a week and it works.

The riding title should be up for grabs with several solid pilots. Antonio Gallardo won the riding title by 14 over

Ronnie Allen Jr. who has been a mainstay at this venue for years.

Daniel Centeno garnered the 3rd slot last season hitting with 20% of his mounts. If Kevin Krigger shows up for a few mounts get out the wallet. He was aloft only 6 horses last season, 3 won, 2 ran 2nd and the other ran 3rd.

Jamie Ness should again be a major force. He ran away and hid from the trainers last year as his starters earned the most money and he popped with 29% of his starters.

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.

Bennett was tied for 4th in wins at the meet last season.

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.

Last year, Proctor only started 89 horses during the meet but 26 came back to the winner’s circle and another 33 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.

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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