03/14/2011 11:39PM

Reflections of Tampa Bay Downs

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My colleague (and frequent Daily Racing Form contributor) Tom Keyser, lured by Breeders' Cup runners Bridgetown and Silver Timber, visited Tampa Bay on February 19 for the Turf Dash.  Bridgetown narrowly missed the track mark for 5 furlongs that day - 55.28 (track record 55.02).  

The atmosphere at the track was uplifting and comfortable, the employees were very helpful, and (no surprise) the weather was great - a very enjoyable day at the track!  Here are a few photos from his visit.

Above - Clockwise from top left: Prime Prospector (Seeking the Gold - Remember Love, by A.P. Indy), Silver Rock Star (Rockport Harbor - Lady Houston, by Houston), Pervis (Kitten's Joy - Dare to Mambo, by Kingmambo), Peaceadaaction (Peace Rules - Tune Up the Band, by Concorde's Tune)

Above - Left to right: Luis Garcia, Ronnie Allen Jr., Huber Villa-Gomez

Above (3):  Bridgetown, Willie Martinez up, $75,000 Turf Sprint

Above - Left to right: Pervis (Kitten's Joy - Dare to Mambo, by Kingmambo), Ravalo (10-time stakes winner, track record setter, earner of $980,522 as of 2/18, by Mutakddim - Momentary Hope, by Southern Halo), Just Playin Around (Drewman - Very Laughable, by Out of Place)

Above: Lava Lake leads the way into the first turn of the fourth race

Above - Clockwise from top left: Ronnie Allen Jr., Wilmer Galviz, Andrew Ramgeet, Daniel Centeno, Luis Antonio Gonzalez, Leandro R. Goncalves, Willie Martinez, Pablo Morales (center)

Above:  Golden Causeway (2008 ch. c. by Giant's Causeway - In the Gold, by Golden Missile), ridden by Daniel Centeno - beautifully bred maiden winner owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Graham Motion

Above - Clockwise from top left: Jacobs Kiss (Include - Enchanted Kiss, by Afternoon Delites), Olde Kings Highway (Eddington - Elle Est Revenue, by Night Shift), Little Nick (multiple stakes winner by Tiger Ridge - Hay Jude, by Wavering Monarch), and Silver Timber (multiple stakes winner by Prime Timber - River Princess, by Alwuhush)

Above - Left to right: Huber Villa-Gomez, Jesse Jimenez Garcia, Andrew Ramgeet

Above:  The leading trainer at Tampa Bay, Jamie Ness

Above - Clockwise from top left: Sneaking Uponyou (winner 2010 Turf Dash, by Snuck In - Chestnut Game, by Dahar), Great Attack (multiple stakes placed, by Greatness - Cat Attack, by Storm Cat), Little Nick (multiple stakes winner by Tiger Ridge - Hay Jude, by Wavering Monarch), and Silver Timber (multiple stakes winner by Prime Timber - River Princess, by Alwuhush)

Above:  Peaceadaaction - the sixth race 

Above:  Bridgetown heads to the test barn after his victory in the Turf Dash

Above:  Proud railbird enjoys the Florida sunshine

Celeste More than 1 year ago
Thank you for sharing your blog space with Tom Keyser, Barbara, giving us a chance to see his wonderful photography also. Tampa Bay looks like a beautiful track and I love all the horses and closer-up photos of the jockeys also. Those mirror image photos took me a second to catch on, but wow - what a picture. Thanks!!
The_Knight_Sky More than 1 year ago
What a nice little track in Oldsmar. Great shot of the horses rounding the first turn. I'd never seen Tampa from that angle. And handle is up 7% this meet! Would have been great to see track handicapper Margo Flynn though. I'll put that on my "to do list". :D Otherwise well done Mr. Keyser.
Sue R-CT More than 1 year ago
Great article and photos! Thank you and Tom for sharing some of racing's more unsung heroes-their story needs to be told too!
Jahura2 More than 1 year ago
Great to see some national publicity for this nice little track. I have family in the Tampa area and visit Tampa Bay downs on a yearly basis. Friendly people and knowledgeable on thoroughbred racing. I live in Lexington, Ky., and outside of my favorite place in the world....Churchill Downs, Tampa Bay is next in line!
hal lenox More than 1 year ago
Very nice coverage of a great little track . I frequent it year round and its a pleasure to see a track like blossom, in these uncertain times. The quality of racing, the upkeep. and most of all , the fans , make this a memorable track experience. Maybe some of the big boys can learn from this and save racing from destroying itself.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Hey Barbara, Great to see your trusted colleague get some added pub (hooray for that). And knocked TBD off my "to visit" list several years back and had a great time. They used to call Tampa the poorman's Palm Beach, and what's so bad about that? I found Tom's article about George Mohr, as well, and found that life most interesting. What a character. Continued good luck and success to you both. >
Jamie More than 1 year ago
Barbara (and Tom!), it's nice to see some nice photos coming out of Tampa Bay. I live only 30 miles north of the track and I make the trip to the Tampa Bay Derby every year (I would go much more often if I could!) As of right now my right arm is burned to a crisp from standing at the rail all day in the hot Florida sun while my left arm is fine, haha. I particularly love the shot of the railbird, because I shot my own last Saturday (http://i52.tinypic.com/160ops7.jpg) It's nice to see a picture of Prime Prospector all grown up, as the last time I saw a picture of him he was a yearling going through the ring at Keeneland. Pervis is beautiful! I'm a sucker for flashy faces and lots of chrome. :P Thanks again, I greatly admire your work Barbara. Oh, to see the things you've seen! :P < Jamie, your note about your right arm being burned reminds me of my old days along the rail at Saratoga! I'd forgotten all about that! And your railbird shot made me laugh - just another typical betting race-fan seagull! (great shot!). Tom was especially smitten with Pervis, too. Such a 'look.' Thanks for your comments! - Barbara >
Anne More than 1 year ago
It was nice to see Tom Keyser's name on the photos used in Barbara's blog. Not only is he a 3 time Eclipse Award winner for the written word, he can add photographer to his list of accomplishments. I have noticed his name on several Form covers recently. He is developing quite the eye as to where to be at the right time. When I was teaching, I used Tom's written pieces to help my first graders learn the various ways the written word can be transformed onto paper. He has quite a way with words and has a distinct use of voice. At one point, Mr. Keyser had me fooled in thinking I was in Europe as the mirrors or windows, made it look like the horses were running in the wrong direction according to our standards. Ha... clever! I also was so relieved to see Cat Attack's name as a broodmare. I thought she had a career ending injury and it was up in the air. I had made many inquires but they were unanswered. I appreciated seeing the jockey photos. I can now associate a face to their names. Gonclaves is one of my favorites on longshots. I have never been to Tampa Bay but many of my handicapping friends love it! They say the track is safe and those in charge know how to treat the fans. After seeing Mr. Keyser's photos, I might venture there myself some day. He showed a sense of quaintness that surrounds Tampa Bay. Oh, by the way Tom, did you happen to get that railbird's name? I might need it when I go there sometime. >
ripfinch More than 1 year ago
Nice story and photos Tom! Good to see that Tampa is getting some class horses and racing! And all that sunshine and blue skies is really making me yearn for spring up here in the great Northeast!
mikeA More than 1 year ago
Nice work from Mr. Keyser. I remember reading Tom's work when he was covering racing. Always thought he was one of the best racing writers around. I think he won a few eclipse awards. Maybe one is coming his way for photography.