03/08/2010 1:00AM

Island Time shows stakes potential

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OLDSMAR, Fla. - One of the most impressive performances in a race other than a stakes this winter at Tampa Bay Downs was turned in last Friday when Island Time obliterated a first-level optional $75,000 claiming field of 3-year-old fillies going 6 1/2 furlongs.

Island Time, a Trippi filly trained by Jason Servis, tracked pacesetter Mahinder through lively early fractions of 22.59 and 45.56 seconds, and when jockey Daniel Centeno gave the signal, Island Time quickly disposed of Mahinder into the stretch and drew off smartly by 6 1/4 lengths in 1:16.96, earning a 79 Beyer Speed Figure. The final time was less than a second off the track record of 1:16.09.

For Island Time, it was the second win in a row, and Servis said afterward that he has designs on the $85,000 Sophomore Fillies Sprint here on the April 3 Florida Cup Day card.

"Yes, we've been thinking of that race for her for some time, that's why we wanted to race in this one - we wanted her to get a race over the track and also wanted to see how she shipped," said Servis.

Servis said that bloodstock agent Buzz Chace picked out Island Time for the owners, Bill and Vicki Poston of Marietta, Ga., as a yearling, and that the filly displayed talent right from the start.

"She shin-bucked after her first race last season," Servis said, "and we decided then to just take our time with her. She's a really nice filly and is still learning. Hopefully we'll have some fun with her this year."

* Willie Martinez, who began his riding career at Tampa some 21 years ago, isn't having a banner meet but he showed the fans this past week he can still get the job done. Martinez won with 7 of his 12 mounts from Feb. 28 through Sunday, and capped off that hot streak on Saturday when he put up a heady front-running ride to take the Challenger Stakes aboard Bold Start.

* Those players who follow track biases would do well to put a circle around last Saturday's card. While the track had been playing very favorably to speed most of the week, the track was bladed and the surface became lightning fast and radically speed favoring, as evidenced by very fast times throughout the day.

* Inez Karlsson, who impressed many here in her first season at Tampa, has moved her tack to Hawthorne.