Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and Claude “Shug” McGaughey are shipping horses from South Florida to Tampa Bay Downs for Saturday’s featured eighth race.
But Tom Proctor and Arnaud Delacour, two of the Oldsmar track’s leading turf trainers, hope to provide stiff resistance to the big-name invaders.
The eighth race is a $22,500 conditional allowance for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf. There are 13 horses entered, but only 10 are permitted to start. The probable post time is 3:55 p.m.
The 10-race card begins at 12:25 p.m.
Conditions are listed as fast and firm. The Weather Channel forecast is for a zero percent chance of rain during racing hours.
We will have coverage during the afternoon on ourblog, which can be accessed on the menu bar at the top of this Web site’s home page.
Mott has entered his 4-year-old colt Cite, who is 1-for-10 lifetime.
But on Feb. 4 at Tampa, Cite rallied to finish second at one mile on turf against similar competition. D’craziness, the winner of that race, is not in Saturday’s feature.
Cite breezed five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 Wednesday at Mott’s Payson Park Training Center base in Indiantown.
McGaughey’s entrant, the 4-year-old gelding Hardly Home, finished fifth in the Feb. 4 race at Tampa. But he was only 3 ½ lengths behind the winner and a half-length behind Cite.
Hardly Home is among horses that McGaughey has stabled at Gulfstream Park.
Anthony Crastus will ride Cite. Jesus Castanon has the mount on Hardly Home, who has won one of eight starts.
At 4-1 and 9-2, respectively, Cite and Hardly Home are regarded behind the track handicapper’s two top selections, Map Room and King of Diamonds.
The 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding Map Room, whose lone victory in eight starts came in a maiden special weight race at Delaware Park in August, has finished third and second in his two Tampa Bay Downs outings this season.
His 3-1 favoritism could also be due in part to hailing from the barn of trainer Tom Proctor, who is a sensational 11-for-24 in turf races at Tampa this season.
Ronnie Allen, Jr. will ride Map Room.
The 7-2 second choice on the morning line is the 4-year-old gelding King of Diamonds, who broke his maiden last April at Laurel and has not finished out of the money in five starts. He is trained by Delacour and will be ridden by Daniel Centeno.