04/08/2013 11:40AM

Tampa Bay: Wild About Chrome proves sharp claim with Sprint win

Tom Cooley Photography
Hooh Why wins the Turf Distaff on Florida Cup Day while in foal.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Trainer Jim McCullough spent many seasons racing at the bush tracks of western Canada, and dealing with bottom-level runners during those years taught him to spot the problems and negative aspects of a particular horse.

But on the other hand, that type of background also taught McCullough to spot a good-looking prospect when he saw one. When he watched Wild About Chrome, owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds, win his second start in January at Tampa Bay Downs, he told Nanette, his wife of 52 years, “I doubt they’ll run him back for $16,000, but if they do we have to take this guy.”

Well, Wild About Chrome was entered again for $16,000 on March 8. The McCulloughs took the plunge and claimed the 4-year-old gelding.

Last Saturday, the unbeaten Wild About Chrome confirmed the gamble was a good one as he rallied along the far outside into the stretch and went on to post a length victory in the $75,000 Sprint. It was his fifth straight win and second for the McCulloughs.

Wild About Chrome has now earned more than $83,000 and picked up $45,000 for his win Saturday. The McCulloughs plan to race him in some stakes at Northlands Park near their home in Edmonton, Alberta, this summer.

Hooh Why wins while in foal

There were a lot of memorable moments on Florida Cup Day, but one of the best was the victory of Hooh Why in the Distaff Turf.

In foal to Leroidesanimaux, sire of Animal Kingdom, Hooh Why didn’t seem to be hampered by her delicate condition as she roared down the stretch under Ronnie Allen Jr. to run down Inaugural in the final strides for a head win.

Her next start could be the Grade 3 Matron at Arlington.

Allen, who also rode Wild About Chrome to victory, had two Florida Cup wins, as did Daniel Centeno.

◗ Angel Serpa was in town for the day to ride but has moved his tack to Maryland, as has his companion and fellow rider Carol Centeno. Centeno is slated to move on the Arlington Park when that meet opens later this spring.

◗ Augustin Marin posted a riding triple Sunday and has now won with seven of his last 15 mounts. He has 19 wins for the meeting.

◗ Radio Downing, who sent out Cindy’s Casino to finish second in the Sophomore Fillies, also has been hot, winning with three of his last seven starters.