04/03/2014 2:58PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Six stakes on Florida Cup Day card

Barbara D. Livingston
Star Channel (outside) beats Old Time Hockey in the Sunshine Millions Turf. The pair will meet again at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – C. Zee, who finished second in both the Grade 3 Hutcheson and Spectacular Bid stakes this winter at Gulfstream Park, and Star Channel and Old Time Hockey, the one-two finishers in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf, are just a few of the notable Florida-breds slated to see action Saturday, when Tampa Bay Downs presents the 11th renewal of Florida Cup Day, showcasing the Florida breeding industry with six $75,000 stakes.

C. Zee, who will be turning back to the more comfortable distance of seven furlongs after running in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, is the horse to beat in the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore, a race that has drawn eight 3-year-olds.

C. Zee left the winless ranks from the tough No. 14 post in his second career start. He came back in the Spectacular Bid and raced just off the pace but couldn’t gain on Just Call Kenny late while a clear second in that six-furlong sprint. Stretched out to seven furlongs for the Hutcheson, C. Zee ran into another tough runner in Wildcat Red and wound up second again, beaten just over four lengths.

[Florida Cup Day: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

Trained by Stanley Gold, C. Zee raced close to the pace until the stretch in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth before fading to finish last behind the winner, Wildcat Red.

C. Zee will add blinkers for Saturday’s race and will be ridden by Ronnie Allen Jr.

Prudhoe Bay, the winner of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sprint and fourth in the recent Grade 2 Swale Stakes, and Brothersofthetime, who was third in the Swale, top the challengers to C. Zee. The OBS Sophomore is carded as the fourth race on a 12-race card.

Rematch in Turf Classic

The Tampa Bay Turf Classic, the ninth race on the program, pits Star Channel and Old Time Hockey, who finished heads apart when one-two in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park.

Star Channel hasn’t started since winning that Jan. 18 race. Eddie Kenneally claimed Star Channel for $62,500 last fall at Belmont Park.

Old Time Hockey returned from the Sunshine Millions Turf to post an authoritative win in an off-the-turf optional-claiming route here. A Grade 2 winner on the West Coast earlier in his career, Old Time Hockey finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon last fall.

Allie’s Event, who posted his fifth win over the Tampa turf course last time out, and Bad Debt, who was in the three-horse photo with Star Channel and Old Time Hockey in the Sunshine Millions Turf, are among the others in the 10-horse field who warrant consideration.

** The Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn and Suites Sprint, slated as the 10th race on the card, might offer the best chance for the locally based runners.

Lack of Judgment comes into the Sprint off an eye-catching 7 3/4-length win in a second-level optional-claiming race. Before that, he finished fifth, beaten two lengths, in the Pelican Stakes.

Palace Barista, who captured the Pelican while making just his third career start, is a late-running threat for trainer Lynne Scace, while Sneaking Uponyou, who was second in the $100,000 Super Stakes last out, also has a chance.

Evolution Rocks, who came off a three-month layoff to win a six-furlong, second-level optional-claiming sprint at Gulfstream Park in 1:08.40, most likely will be the post-time favorite in this race.

** Legal Laura, who romped to an 11-length win at Calder for her second straight victory March 1, tops the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies at seven furlongs. Cowboy Spirit, a two-time local winner, and Flirting Clara, with a win and second in two career starts over the local strip, top the challengers.

** Lori’s Store, a winner of her most recent race for trainer Tom Proctor, heads a well-matched field in the 1 1/16-mile Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf.

E B Ryder, fourth last out in the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes, is a solid threat. Cuppy Cake and Here’s d’Bride both move up in class but have two wins apiece over the local turf course this meeting.

** In the Skinny’s Place of Anna Maria Island Sophomore Turf, Courtesan, the winner of the $100,000 Florida Juvenile Fillies Stakes, will be making her first start since November but might rule a slight choice despite taking on male rivals. Two-time local winner Ex Pirate, recent maiden winner I Will, and the late-running Saturday’s Light are other contenders in this 1 1/16-mile stakes.

Jon Cohen More than 1 year ago
Tampa Bay Downs and it's management are a joke and a complete embarrassment to the entire racing industry. They made a huge deal about suspending Navarro and Cibelli for the current season yet despite that pronouncement, Cibelli has repeatedly started horses under another trainer's name, and now in a stake, Navarro is running the favorite under his brother's name. Peter Berube is a disgrace to the game and should be fired for his hypocrisy. Fans should not bet a dollar on any races at this cesspool of racing integrity. Dutrow tried this move at Charles Town a few years ago and to their credit, they wouldn't allow it. Congratulations Tampa, you are now even a bigger haven for he game's worst than West Virginia. That's something to be proud of Berube.