04/22/2013 1:30PM

Tampa Bay Downs: DaCosta, Stewart barns deal with peaks and valleys


OLDSMAR, Fla. – Horse racing is a game of cycles, and trainers Jason DaCosta and Chad Stewart can certainly attest to that.

Both trainers got off to quick starts this season at Tampa Bay Downs, with DaCosta winning with 9 of his first 19 starters while Stewart sent out 8 winners from his first 19 runners.

But horses lose their conditions, maiden winners must come back against winning rivals, and there are minor illnesses and ailments that are a daily part of the game. Add to that some tough racing luck, and a hot streak can turn cold in no time flat.

So things quieted down for both outfits during the middle portion of the meeting, as both stables still won their share, but the victories just didn’t come in bunches.

DaCosta sent out two horses on last Saturday’s card, a promising 3-year-old filly named It’s Not Nice and a bottom-level claimer named Roman Score. It’s Not Nice, who was making her third career start and dropping in for a claiming price for the first time, left the winless ranks in professional fashion in the opener, and then Roman Score captured the seven-furlong third race to give the DaCosta barn its 18th and 19th wins of the meeting. The stable’s 35 percent winning percentage ranks second only to Jorge Navarro’s 37 percent rate of success among the training leaders.

Stewart took back-to-back races when he sent out Splittin Wood to leave the maiden ranks in the fifth, then saw Proud Gideon wire his field to capture the sixth. The two wins gave Stewart 17 wins for the meet, good enough to rank him ninth in the trainer standings.

Three-win days for Santos, Coa

Jockeys Adamar Santos and Daniel Coa shared the riding spotlight Saturday, as each booted home three winners on the program.

Santos’s triple gave him 33 winners for the meeting. He plans on riding at Thistledown this summer.

Coa’s three bagger raised his total for the meeting to 43 as he heads for Delaware Park this summer.

Dean Butler had a riding double on the card and has very quietly been having another good meeting with 35 winners, already topping last season’s win total of 27 victories.

Agusto Marin. who was voted jockey of the month, continues to ride in good form and capturerd Sunday’s fourth race for trainer Gerald Bennett aboard Two Wonders for his 26th winner of the meeting. That’s twice as many races as he won here last season. Former rider Paula Bacon, who is Ronnie Allen’s regular agent, is handling Marin’s engagements while Allen continues to recuperate from injuries sustained in a spill here recently.

Bennett also sent out Author Bob to take the seventh race for a training double and now has 29 wins for the meeting to rank third in the trainer standings

◗ Kinsman Stable’s consistent El Commodore traveled to Calder last Saturday for the $100,000 Miami Mile, and the Greg Griffith trainee led into the final furlong at 11-1 before being run down late by the 4-5 favorite Summer Front and wound up second.