02/11/2013 2:17PM

Tampa Bay: Agent laid groundwork for Centeno's stakes win

Tom Cooley Photography
Spectacular Sky wins the Manatee in stakes-record time.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – When a jockey is battling for leading rider, it’s the little things he and his agent may do that can spell the difference between being on a winning mount and an also-ran.

Take this past Saturday’s Manatee Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, for instance. Herson Sanchez handles the engagements for jockey Daniel Centeno, who is currently fighting for the top spot in the local riding colony with Angel Serpa. One of the many little tasks that jockey agents handle is to put in nominations for out-of-town trainers for upcoming stakes. The work doesn’t guarantee the agent’s rider will indeed ride the trainer’s horse when the stakes is run, but it’s a good business practice and builds relationships through the years.

One of the trainers whom Sanchez helps with the nomination paperwork is Marty Wolfson, and when entries came out for the Manatee Stakes, Jermaine Bridgmohan was named on morning-line favorite Spectacular Sky by Wolfson. But Bridgmohan was named on a number of horses at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, and Wolfson called Sanchez and explained that Bridgmohan might not be available for the Manatee.

“He asked me if I could stay open in the race,” explained Sanchez, “that if Bridgmohan wasn’t going to make it, he would put me on Spectacular Sky. So I didn’t make any other commitments in the race, and fortunately for us Bridgmohan stayed in Miami and Marty put us on a nice horse who ran lights out.”

Spectacular Sky took the Manatee in stakes-record time under Centeno, who has now won three of the last five runnings of the filly-and-mare stakes.

Centeno, who has won four riding titles here, is currently second to Serpa in the rider standings, and his agent says he is far from given up on winning title No. 5.

“Danny has a lot of respect for Angel, but he also considers this home and is determined to keep battling for that top spot,” Sanchez said.