03/14/2009 12:00AM

Numbers adding up for Ness


OLDSMAR, Fla. - The sheer strength in numbers of the powerful Jamie Ness stable is beginning to take over in the Tampa Bay Downs training race, as Ness has opened an 11-win lead over his nearest rival, Kirk Ziadie.

Ness had sent out 46 winners through March 13. While both he and Ziadie are winning at a 32-percent clip, Ness has started 144 runners at the meet to 108 for Ziadie.

Gerry Bennett and Greg Griffith are tied for third in the standings with 21 wins each.

Two of the top percentage trainers at the meet are Christophe Clement, who has 9 winners from 22 starters, and Rick Slomkowski, who has captured 8 races from 25 starts.

In the riders' race, Daniel Centeno continues to pull away from the field with 97 winners through March 13. Ronnie Allen Jr., who won four races Tuesday, now has 59 winners and is just two behind Rosemary Homeister Jr. for the second spot.

Ortiz out with broken ankle

Felix Ortiz, who has 15 wins at the meet, broke an ankle in a spill during Tuesday's 10th race and will be out indefinitely. Ortiz was aboard Rainbow and Glory when the horse took a bad step and fell heavily nearing the eighth pole.

Apprentice Tim Hardy, who was aboard Fiery Rose, was unable to avoid the stricken Rainbow and Glory, and his mount fell over the fallen horse, unseating Hardy. Hardy escaped serious injury and was able to ride on Thursday.

Cruz named month's top rider

Carlos Cruz, riding at Tampa Bay Downs for the first time this season, has been voted jockey of the month. Cruz, a 47-year-old native of Puerto Rico, has ridden mainly at Philadelphia Park and Monmouth Park in past seasons and has won 15 races this meeting.

"It's been tough getting started here, but people have been giving me a chance, and I appreciate it," Cruz said.

* Two trainers with Canadian connections qualify for the "small stable, big impact" award this meeting. David Burns won another race this week and has three wins and three seconds from 17 starts for a 17-percent win percentage. Michael Passero has won 4 races from 21 starters for a 19 percent win rate.

* Trainer Lynn Scace has a runner with a future in Snow Lass, a Stormy Atlantic filly who won her second straight race here Friday with a very professional effort in a first-level allowance sprint for 3-year-olds.