04/02/2015 12:46PM

Old Time Hockey seeks repeat in Tampa Turf Classic

SV Photography
Old Time Hockey wins the 2014 Tampa Turf Classic Stakes.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Old Time Hockey aims to win the $75,000 Tampa Turf Classic for the second straight year Saturday when he tops a solid field of nine in that 1 1/8-mile test, which tops three turf stakes for statebreds on Florida Cup Day.

Ronnie Allen Jr., who was aboard Old Time Hockey for trainer Tom Proctor in last year’s win, returns Saturday as the versatile 6-year-old comes off a solid second on the main track to General a Rod in the 1 1/16-mile Challenger Stakes. Prior to that, Old Time Hockey’s furious late charge fell just a head short of Lochte in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes on turf.

While Old Time Hockey is the class of the Classic field, there are others in the group worth a look, including Bad Debt. Bad Debt finished third in the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Turf two races back and won the $100,000 Millions Turf Preview at Gulfstream Park last fall for trainer Mike Trombetta.

The local hopefuls include Momma’s Happy, who tries stakes company after winning two of his last three for new owners against claiming turf routers, and I’m the Lucky One, also a winner of two of his last three over the local course.

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Pink Poppy in Distaff Turf

Pink Poppy, the upset winner of the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf two races back, tops a well-matched group of 13 fillies and mares in the $75,000 Distaff Turf at 1 1/16 miles.

Pink Poppy moved to the lead early in the Millions Filly and Mare Turf but refused to yield down the lane to post a 1 1/2-length upset at 11-1 in that 1 1/16-mile tilt. An early pace factor before fading to 10th in the Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes most recently, Pink Poppy makes her first start for trainer Joe Hennessy on Saturday while seeking her fourth career win on turf.

Lori’s Store, who won this race last season, comes into this year’s edition off a close seventh in the Grade 2 Honey Fox. The late-running mare has a win and a fast-closing second from three starts for new trainer Marty Wolfson and figures to be charging late.

Speed Seeker, who led in midstretch of the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes at 60-1 before weakening to third behind the great racemare Stephanie’s Kitten, tops the local hopefuls along with recent winners Lavallee Twist and Indy Breeze.

Seven in Sophomore Turf

Prince Vincenzo, a winner of his two starts over the local course, is part of a pair of Kathleen O’Connell trainees in the $75,000 Sophomore Turf at 1 1/16 miles. The race drew a field of seven 3-year-olds.

Last time out, Prince Vincenzo rallied from off the pace to run down the leaders in an optional-claiming route for his second win over the local turf course. Sandwiched between those victories was a third to Firespike in the OBS Championship Stakes over the all-weather track in Ocala, Fla.

Big Yum, second in the Ocala race and second at Gulfstream in an optional-claiming test at 7 1/2 furlongs, tops the threats to Prince Vincenzo along with the O’Connell-trained Jakob’s Way, who ran fourth, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park West two races back.