Updated on 04/02/2017 7:50PM

Tiger Blood comes close to track record in Florida Cup Sprint

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Stephanie Valenti/SV Photography
Tgier Blood runs six furlongs in 1:08.92 under jockey Pablo Morales to win the Florida Cup Sprint.

Locally based up-and-coming sprinter Tiger Blood outperformed Grade 2 stakes winner Delta Bluesman and came close to the track record in the first of three $100,000 dirt sprint stakes restricted to statebreds on the 15th annual Florida Cup card Sunday at Tampa Bay Downs.

A 4-year-old colt coming off his first career stakes victory in last month’s Pelican Stakes, Tiger Blood ($5.80) sat a half-length off the half-mile pace of 44.15 seconds set by One Lucky Step, made a three-wide move under Pablo Morales to take command in upper stretch, and drew off to win the six-furlong Sprint for Florida-breds by 4 1/2 lengths. The winning time of 1:08.92 was just .25 of a second off the track record of 1:08.67.

Palace Barista, the second-longest shot in the six-horse field at 50-1, rallied to get second, two lengths ahead of 3-2 favorite Delta Bluesman. The 7-year-old Delta Bluesman, a 10-time winner in 50 career races, won the Grade 2 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park last July during a four-win campaign.

Tiger Blood, a son of Cowtown Cat trained by Darlene Rodriguez for MK Stables, is now 5 for 10 with earnings of $175,302.

“He had been training lights-out since his last race, and I didn’t know for sure if he would win, but I was expecting a big performance," Rodriguez said.  “I talked to Pablo this morning and told him if we can get somebody to go early it would be great, and it worked out that way. He’s improved a lot from his last race to today."

Mo Cash works hard to stay unbeaten

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The 3-year-old gelding Mo Cash remained perfect in three starts when he held off Salute With Honor by a neck in the seven-furlong Sophomore.

Mo Cash ($7.40), coming off an easy score in a seven-furlong overnight stakes at Gulfstream last month, was a length in front at the eighth pole and was all-out under Tyler Gaffalione to defeat Salute With Honor, making his first start since moving into Mark Casse’s barn. It was another three-quarters of a length back to 3-2 favorite Reason to Soar.

A son of Adios Charlie trained by Ron Spatz for Marco Thoroughbred Corp., Mo Cash completed the distance in 1:22.40, .27 of a second off the stakes record.

Spatz said he might give Mo Cash a break, but looks forward to a productive summer.

“There is a summer schedule at Gulfstream for Florida-breds that I think is going to be pretty good for us,” Spatz said.

R Angel Katelyn much the best in Sophomore Fillies

Heavily favored R Angel Katelyn had no problem collecting her third stakes win of the meet in the seven-furlong Sophomore Fillies.

Under Edwin Gonzalez, the 3-year-old R Angel Katelyn, a daughter of High Cotton trained by Gerald Bennett for Averill Racing, CCF Racing Stable, and K Lauren Racing, put away longshot pacesetter Joel’s Senorita, opened up by five lengths at the eighth pole, and finished 3 3/4 lengths in front. She completed the distance in 1:23.22 for her fifth win in seven outings, raising her bankroll to $277,120.

Sadie Be Good was 2 1/2 lengths clear of third-place Yes I’ll Go.

R Angel Katelyn was making her first start since finishing a distant third going a mile and 40 yards in the Suncoast Stakes on Feb. 11.

“We freshened her up because she’d had three really hard races, just gave her a couple of weeks doing nothing, and it paid off,” Bennett said. “She’ll go long, but I think 6 1/2 or seven furlongs is her best distance.”