Photo: Courtesy of Tampa Bay Downs
Turf sprinters of both sexes will bask in the spotlight on Saturday, Dec. 1 when Tampa Bay Downs launches its 2018-2019 stakes schedule with the $100,000 Turf Dash and the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes.
Both races will be contested on the grass at a distance of five furlongs. The Turf Dash is for horses 3 years old and upward and the Lightning City is for fillies and mares 3 and upward.
The Turf Dash closed last week with 29 nominations, among them Florida-bred World of Trouble, last season’s Pasco Stakes winner who finished third in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2). The 3-year-old Jason Servis-trainee finished second by a neck to Stormy Liberal earlier this month in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.
Servis has also nominated Vision Perfect, a 6-year-old graded-stakes winner who has earned $672,784.
Other nominees include last year’s Turf Dash winner Pay Any Price, an 8-year-old Florida-bred gelding who has won four consecutive races for owners Matties Racing Stable and Averill Racing while increasing his career bankroll to $551,683, and last season’s Inaugural Stakes winner Tricks to Doo, a 3-year-old from the barn of trainer Arnaud Delacour.
The Lightning City Stakes closed with 34 nominations, including last season’s winner, the Delacour-trained 4-year-old Smiling Causeway. Also nominated are last season’s winner of the Sandpiper and Gasparilla Stakes, the H. Graham Motion-trained 3-year-old Almond Roca; 5-furlong Florida-bred grass specialist Blue Bahia, from the barn of Servis; and 4-year-old Grade 3 winner Morticia, trained by George R. “Rusty” Arnold, II.
Thoroughbred racing continues Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:25 p.m.. Tampa Bay Downs is on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday schedule, with Sundays added to the mix beginning Dec. 23.
Tampa Bay Downs is open every day except Christmas, Dec. 25 for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.