Tampa Bay Downs
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Thoroughbreds

Horse Racing: Garrity goes to Tampa Bay Downs and more

Also races at Sam Houston and Turf Paradise

Chris Garrity

Here in the Northeast, we are getting what will hopefully be winter's last punch, but down in Florida, skies are sunny, temperatures are warm, and there are cards at both Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs. Of the two, we prefer the card at Tampa. We will take a look there, and also peek in at a couple of other races that caught our fancy at tracks elsewhere in the country.

The 2nd at Tampa (post time 1:55 pm Eastern) is a mile and a sixteenth on the turf for $16,000 conditioned (non-winners of three lifetime) claiming older horses. 6- Jimmy D (2-1 morning line), is a strong play on top here: his speed figs are superior, and he's also got the best closing kick, and turf races, now and forever, are usually won by the horse with the most late speed. We also like, in different spots and for different reason, 8-Break in the Storm (9/2). and 9-Benevolent Prince (3-1): we think that Break in the Storm is a cinch to hit the board, most likely 2nd; and we think that Benevolent Prince, the likely pacesetter in a race that lacks a lot of early zip, may hold on for a minor share as well.

So we will play the race as follows: We'll bet $20 to win on Jimmy D. We will also play him in a straight exacta, 6-Jimmy D with 8-Break in the Storm, for $5. And we'll hammer the trifecta too: we'll play a straight 6-8-9 tri ticket for $5, and a $1 tri ticket with 6 on top, 8 and 9 in second, and all in third. This last ticket is 14 combinations; we'll play it for 50 cents, for a $7 bet.

And last, for insanity insurance, we'll box the top three picks in the tri: we'll play the 6-8-9 trifecta box at the 50-cent minimum; this ticket will cost $3. We'll do this in case our top three picks hit the board, but in the wrong order: these tickets can, as Wavy Gravy so eloquently put it, keep a horseplayer's brains from ending up on the ceiling. And we are all for that.

The 5th at Tampa (post time 3:00 Eastern) is another 1 1/16 mile turf race, again for $16k conditional claiming older boys, and this one is much simpler: 5- Kitten a Gettin, is a stickout: he towers over the rest of the field. The price is short, but we'll take it: we'll bet $25 to win on Kitten a Gettin at 8/5.

The 8th (post time 4:30 Eastern) at Tampa is a crackling good race, a straight maiden race for three-year-old fillies at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass. The field here is filled with racing royalty: trainers Pletcher, Stidham, Clement, and Motion are all present; but we like the horse entered by another Hall of Famer, Bill Mott: that's 3-Exchange West, at 6-1 on the morning line. This unraced daughter of Exhange Rate has been sizzling in morning workouts, and Mott hits at a solid 12% clip with first-time starters. With two Todd Pletcher entrants certain to take a lot of the betting action, we should get at least the morning line price on this filly, and the odds may even go up (we may even get 10-1). We'll bet $10 to win on Exchange West.

Now, a few quick hits:

The 3rd at Sam Houston (post time 2:20 Eastern) is a $10k claimer for older horses going 6 furlongs on dirt. We like 3-Jim's Eagle:He's in better form than the other runners, and he's going turf to dirt, which is an angle we've always liked. We think he takes his turf form to the dirt, and wins the race; we'll bet $10 on him at 9/2.

The 5th at Sam Houston (post time 3:20 Eastern) is a $5,000 claimer for older males at 7 furlongs on the dirt. Play a $1 trifecta keying the favorite, 3-Fudge Pound, 8/5) over 1-Brangelina, (6-1), 4-Cowboy Bling (5-1), and 5-Crazy Ivan (7/2). That ticket is 3 with 1,4,5 with 1,4,5; that's 6 total combinations, for a total bet of $6.

The 5th at Turf Paradise (post time 4:55 Eastern) is a $3,500 claimer for older horses going 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. 6-Sir Kowboy, is a strong play here: his figs are superior, and he goes to a barn that wins at an absurd clip with horses first off the claim. Bet $20 on him to win.

That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.

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