(Editor’s note—In a story early on Sunday
morning, we reported that it was the day when Tampa Bay Downs would open its
stables to horses for its 2016-2017 race meet.
In the news release below, the Tampa
Bay Downs publicity office provides details on first-arriving trainer Mike
From Tampa Bay Downs
Mike Dini doesn’t think being the
first trainer on the grounds will give him a competitive advantage when the
2016-2017 Tampa Bay Downs meeting resumes on Nov. 26.
But by 8:30 a.m. Sunday, with his
12-horse shipment comfortable inside their stalls in Barn 19, Dini recognized
the benefits of setting up shop as early as possible.
“The biggest thing this time of year
when you ship a horse is the heat,” he said “On a long ship, it knocks some of
Dini’s contingent arrived after a
20-hour journey from Monmouth Park in New Jersey in two 52-foot vans (one from
Aprile Horse Transportation, the other from Mitchell Carter Horse
“We wanted to get in here before it
got hot, or you can get one or two sick,” Dini said.
Mission, it appeared, accomplished,
as each of the Dini-trained horses bounced down the ramp en route to their
stalls amid 72-degree bliss.
“They’re all sort of winterizing a
bit – they grew some hair, so we’ll try to clip as many as we can (Monday) and
they’ll start being Florida horses,” Dini said. “But it’s still cool right now,
the barn area here is peaceful and quiet and the air is a lot cleaner than it
is in the city. It’s a good training environment.”
Dini is among the legion of
conditioners who consider the Oldsmar dirt training surface one of the best to
“It’s a good track to get horses fit
and ready,” he said.
The first horse to step on the
grounds was Munificent, an unraced
2-year-old filly owned by the Ballybrit Stable operation of Dini’s major
client, Alan Lustig.
“She’s not ready to run yet, but I
think she is going to be a nice filly,” Dini said.
Munificent was followed down the
ramp by Quick Release, a 3-year-old Ballybrit Stable-owned filly who finished
third in the Miss Preakness Stakes (Grade 3) at Pimlico in May and second,
beaten a nose, in the Coronation Cup at Saratoga on Aug. 1.
Another accomplished Dini-trained
and Ballybrit-owned runner to make the journey to Oldsmar was 4-year-old colt Gallery, winner of the 2015 Manila
Stakes at Belmont.
They will be joined later by Bird’s Eye View, a 2-year-old colt
currently getting time off in Ocala after finishing third in both the With
Anticipation (Grade 2) at Saratoga and the Dixiana Bourbon (Grade 3) at
“We have some good horses and I
think we’ll have a good meet,” said Dini, whose biggest victory in a
20-plus-year training career came in 2007 in the Kennedy Road Stakes (Grade 3) at
Woodbine with the gelding Connections.
Dini had 76 starts at Tampa Bay
Downs in the 2015-2016 meet. He had five
winners, twelve second place finishers and seven third place finishers.
Tampa Bay Downs officials expect the
stable area to be full when the 91st anniversary season resumes on
Nov. 26. The track will open for training next week.
Tampa Bay Downs will simulcast the
Breeders’ Cup races from Santa Anita on Friday and Saturday.