12/02/2011 3:36PM

Gulfstream: Cibelli expands into south Florida

Bill Denver/Equiphoto
Jane Cibelli, with racing secretary Mike Dempsey, became first woman to lead the trainer standings at Monmouth Park this year.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Jane Cibelli has been a mainstay at Tampa Bay Downs each winter since returning to training on a regular basis 10 years ago. But Cibelli, fresh off her first trainer’s title this past summer at Monmouth Park, is splitting her stable this season, having taken 14 stalls at Gulfstream for the 2011-2012 meeting.

Cibelli, 50, topped the Monmouth standings this season with 32 victories while maintaining a 26 percent win percentage for the session. She has won 66 races overall in 2011, including 26 at Tampa Bay Downs, where she has been a fixture in the top 10 for the last five winters. Cibelli is also no stranger to Gulfstream Park, having sent out a pair of winners from as many starters during the 2011 meet.

“I was extremely surprised to win the Monmouth title this year,” said Cibelli who was at Gulfstream to watch several of her horses work on Thursday but was back at Tampa on Friday morning. “When I left Florida this past spring I was in the doldrums because I didn’t think I had stock good enough to compete at Monmouth. I actually thought it would be a slow summer. But I was very fortunate with some of the claims I made, picking up some new horses who were just getting good when I took them.”

Among Cibelli’s better claims this season were Bombast and D’ Cats Meow. Bombast won three races in a row, including a first level allowance with a $62,000 purse after being haltered by Cibelli for $12,500 on June 3. D’cats Meow posted two consecutive allowance victories and was also stakes-placed after being taken for $20,000 on July 1.

Cibelli was a jack of all trades after coming to the U.S. from her native England 30 years ago.

“A lot of trainers nowadays start out with a big outfit, like a Todd Pletcher or Wayne Lukas, and then go out on their own,” said Cibelli. “I came up the hard way. I galloped horses for several different barns, including Linda Rice, went back and forth working as an assistant for a while, even had a couple of my own from time to time. I’ve been all over the shop, really, until finally settling down to train on a regular basis about 10 years ago.”

Cibelli, who not only started horses this weekend at Gulfstream but had two competing at Fair Grounds in Claiming Crown races on Saturday, has continued to upgrade her stock in recent years not only through the claim box but also at the sales.

“I went to the sales and bought four or five yearlings last year and eight more this year,” said Cibelli. “And the main reason I decided to take stalls at Gulfstream this winter, aside from the fact that my owners like to be in the action over there, is to claim horses to take back to Monmouth next season. It’s getting harder and harder these days to find horses at Tampa who’ll be competitive in New Jersey.”

Currency Swap close to resuming training

Another New Jersey regular, trainer Terri Pompay, reports that her Grade 1 Hopeful winner Currency Swap has begun swimming on the farm in Ocala and could be ready to rejoin her stable within the next month. Currency Swap’s 2-year-old campaign came to a premature conclusion due to a chip in his left front ankle that kept him from participating in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“I went to visit him last week and he looks great and is very happy,” said Pompay. “He should be able to start training on the farm in about two weeks and I can’t wait to get him back here. We could probably have run him in the Breeders’ Cup but the chip was poking into the joint capsule and he’s too nice a horse to keep going. It’s a little too early to make any specific plans for him this winter. Obviously I’d like to make the bigger spots here at the end of the meet and get him on the Kentucky Derby trail but the owners have been great and are not pressuring me to do anything right now.”

Pompay also has a promising 2-year-old filly in her barn this season, the undefeated Quick Flip, who like Currency Swap is owned in partnership by the Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence. Quick Flip began her career winning a maiden special weight race at Parx on Oct. 2, then wheeled back in three weeks to defeat entry-level allowance types at Monmouth Park.

Quick Flip worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds Friday morning at Gulfstream.

“I’m going to send her to Tampa next Saturday for the Sandpiper,” said Pompay. “I’d rather have kept her here but there are no two-other-thans or stakes for 2-year-old fillies in the first condition book,” said Pompay.

Wine-tasting walk next to racetrack

Gulfstream Park in conjunction with The Village, the mall adjacent to the racetrack, will host a Wine Walk on Wednesday to benefit the Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred After-Care Program.

For $10 per person, guests will be able to sample from five wine-tasting stations and seven food stations throughout The Village. The Wine Walk begins at 6 p.m.

The Gulfstream Park After-Care program was founded in February by Gulfstream chairman Frank Stronach to help match horses with owners who will make a lifelong commitment to their health, safety, and well being.