01/02/2012 2:41PM

Tampa Bay: It's Me Mom ends year with a flourish

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John Duca/Tom Cooley
It's Me Mom, with Willie Martinez riding, romps in the Minaret.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – It’s Me Mom put a huge exclamation point on an already successful 2011 campaign in last Saturday’s Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs when she simply ran her competition into the ground for a half-mile, then pulled away like a runaway freight train to post an 8 1/4-length victory in the six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.

The win was the fifth of the season for the Lynn Scace-trained It’s Me Mom, and the only blemishes on her record during the year were a fourth behind the highly regarded Sky Mesa in the Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park last January and an eighth in the Satin N Lace Stakes at Presque Isle Downs in a race where she bobbled badly at the start and had to rush to contention.

There’s really no telling how good It’s Me Mom is right now. Jockey Willie Martinez hasn’t had to use his whip in her two starts locally, and she has such a high cruising speed that she seems to be doing everything with relative ease while posting very fast fractions. Then she seems to rebreak when asked in the stretch and pulls away like a fresh horse, hitting the wire with something left in the tank. She was clocked in 1:09.65 for her win in the Minaret and looked as though she could have lowered that mark with a little late encouragement from Martinez.

It’s Me Mom is eligible for the seven-furlong, $50,000 Manatee Stakes here on Jan. 21 as well as the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28.

Layoff runner surprises at $135

Trainer Peggy McVey posted the biggest mutuel surprise of the young meet when she sent out Alkatas to score a 4 3/4-length victory in Friday’s fourth race for a $135.20 win payoff.

Alkatas had raced with little success in five starts at Charles Town this past summer, but the Florida-bred was fresh, fit, and prepared for his first start since August. The 3-year old roared past the 1-2 favorite, Glory Be Thy Name, through midstretch to win going away.

Martin Solis rode the winner, who topped a $19,401.90 superfecta and $5,494.20 trifecta.

The win was especially pleasing for McVey, as the horse is leased by John Reading, a longtime fixture at Tampa and a former leading trainer here. The 97-year-old Reading is trackside every morning as he takes an active part in the training of Alkatas. McVey served as assistant to Reading for a number of years before striking out on her own.

◗ Leando Goncalves had another good week that included a riding triple on Friday and has 15 winners for the meeting. Jesse Garcia has also been riding well of late, with five wins since Dec. 21.

◗ Among the trainers, Jamie Ness also scored for three winners on Friday’s card and now has nine winners at the current stand while winning at a 41 percent clip.