05/02/2013 11:18AM

Tampa Bay: Thrice Nice in top form for turf feature


OLDSMAR, Fla. – Thrice Nice, who scored a late-running victory in her second start for trainer Bernell Rhone, moves into the starter allowance ranks in the turf feature on an 11-race program Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

Dean Butler will return aboard Thrice Nice at 122 pounds as she goes after her third career win. Claimed for $16,000 on Feb.13, Thrice Nice was well off the pace in her first start for her new connections after a five-week layoff, but rallied late to finish fifth in a mile turf race for $25,000 nonwinners-of-two claiming routers.

Brought back at that same level last time out, the long-striding Thrice Nice came from next to last to rally past the leaders late to post a length victory going 1 1/16 miles. With the absence of any real speed runners in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile turf race, Thrice Nice might well find herself closer to the pace and may well go favored in the field of eight fillies and mares.

Another Smokey, who led into the late stages of her most recent before being collared late, also moves into the starter ranks again and may well find herself near the lead from the start. A winner earlier in the meet for owner-trainer Joyce Kielty, Another Smokey ran against starter and allowance company in the four starts prior to her last race. A four-time career winner on the turf, Another Smokey deserves a long look.

Let’s Go Donna, who won here earlier in the meeting over allowance rivals at 13-1, ran third in a similar starter race here last time out, challenging in the second turn before weakening in the drive. Trained by William Downing, Let’s Go Donna has the speed to be close to the pace early and in this group full of late-running types may well try to go wire to wire under Antonio Gallardo.

Prothoe won back-to-back races here earlier in meeting for trainer Gerald Bennett, including a front-running win on the turf, and had traffic woes when a late-closing fourth last time out. She moves to leading rider Daniel Centeno and from the rail may well be committed to go right to the front.

Temptation Bound was elevated to a win through disqualification last time out in her first turf start of the meeting and has now won two straight for trainer Gary Jackson.

First post time for the Kentucky Derby Day card is 12:15 p.m. Eastern.