01/09/2016 3:16PM

Fast Flying Rumor impresses in Turf Dash

John Duca/SV Photography
Fast Flying Rumor, under Ronnie Allen, covers five furlongs in 55.06 seconds to win the Turf Dash.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – After battling a case of the thumps, Fast Flying Rumor is a healthy horse again, and, man, is he fast.

On Saturday, Fast Flying Rumor improved his record on the Tampa Bay Downs turf course to 2 for 2 with a front-running, 4 3/4-length score in the $90,000 Turf Dash. It was the second stakes win for the 4-year-old, gelded son of West Acre. He also won the $56,400 Select Stakes on the Monmouth Park grass in June.

In between those stakes wins, Fast Flying Rumor came down with the thumps, or spasms of the diaphragm similar to hiccups that are usually caused by dehydration and low levels of electrolytes such as blood calcium. He finished off the board in three consecutive races, prompting trainer Gerald Bennett to give him a rest.

Fast Flying Rumor returned Dec. 11 to capture the optional $100,000 claiming prep for the Turf Dash by 1 1/2 lengths, and he looked like he was sitting on a big race after turning in a bullet workout here Dec. 23, going four furlongs in 48.20 seconds.

“His electrolytes got out of whack, so we just stopped on him and gave him some time, and it paid off,” Bennett said. “He’s got natural speed. He’s not the kind that you have to ask him. He does it on his own. He’s maturing and getting older too, and he’s getting a lot more confidence in himself.”

With Ronnie Allen Jr. aboard Saturday, Fast Flying Rumor was the quickest out of the game in the field of 10 horses ages 4 and up and ripped through a quarter-mile in 21.03 seconds and a half-mile in 43.72. Fast Flying Rumor ($24.80) had a 1 1/2-length lead at the head of the lane and drew off, stopping the clock for five furlongs on firm turf in 55.06 seconds.

“He broke good, and then he relaxed very nice for me,” Allen said. “Around the turn, I gave him a breather, and then when I smooched to him at the top of the stretch, he just rebroke. I knew I had it won.”

Power Alert, the winner of the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs last May, was second as the 3-2 favorite while making his first start since July. He finished a length in front of Night Officer, who was followed by Beantown Saint, Successful Native, Normandy Crossing, Richies Sweetheart, Ancil, Gallery, and Hashtag Giddy Up.

Fast Flying Rumor, who races for Winning Stables Inc. and Midnight Rider LLC, has five wins and four runner-up finishes in 14 career starts and has earned $180,795. Bennett said he doesn’t have a next race picked out for the horse.