04/09/2012 12:24PM

Tampa Bay Downs: It's Me Mom answers the questions in Sprint victory

John Duca/Tom Cooley
It's Me Mom wins the Sprint in 1:08.67, a track record for six furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – The 10th Florida Cup is now history, and it’s no surprise that the most anticipated race of the day produced the most spectacular result.

It’s Me Mom and the Sprint were the main topics of discussion among fans and bettors Saturday afternoon as several questions hung over that six-furlong race.

Was It’s Me Mom’s defeat in her last just a case of a horse “bouncing” off a monster effort the race previous? Would the filly be able to handle male competition? How would It’s Me Mom deal with Tommy’s Memory, a horse who, in is past races, had ripped to the front and set blistering fractions? Many felt that Tommy’s Memory, a horse that had flirted with track-record time for six furlongs while going 6 1/2 in his last, would hook up in a hammer-and-tong speed duel with It’s Me Mom, a pace scenario that definitely wouldn’t help the favorite’s chances.

But that question was answered by the time the field cleared the chute in the Sprint. It’s Me Mom shot to the front, and from his outside post, Tommy’s Memory made no attempt to go with It’s Me Mom as jockey David Amiss took a reserved hold on the reins and chose to stalk the leader from the outside.

This left It’s Me Mom clear in front, cruising along with no pressure and the rest, as they say, is history. She clipped through a relatively soft quarter of 22:29 seconds and half of 44.24 with a clear lead under Jorge Vargas, then stayed well out in the track turning for home as It’s Charming Clyde swung outside, hoping to mount a challenge.

But when Vargas asked It’s Me Mom, she kicked on, slowly pulling away and hitting the wire with almost three lengths to spare while covering the six furlongs in a track-record-setting 1:08.67. That mark eclipsed the old mark of 1:08.69 set in last year’s Sprint by Sneaking Uponyou.

“I thought we would have some pressure early, but we outbroke the field and were out on the clear, going easily,” Vargas said. “I asked her in the turn, and she responded. Then late, she was getting a little tired, but I just tapped her and kept her mind on things.”

The Turf Classic produced the most exciting finish of the day as Roman Tiger swept by the field from the outside late to top a four-horse photo and post his second straight win over the Tampa turf course. Vanquisher, who loves this course, split rivals to lead late before being caught, while favored Slews Answer was just a nose back after looking like a winner a furlong out.

◗ Willie Martinez wasn’t aboard It’s Me Mom because he was at Aqueduct guiding Trinniberg to victory in the Grade 3 Bay Shore. Trinniberg is eligible for the Kentucky Derby, but his trainer indicated he would most like point the speedy colt for the Preakness.

◗ Trainer Jamie Ness has set a Tampa Bay Downs record for wins at a meet. Ness has won 70 races entering the race week, breaking the record of 68 he set in 2007-08.