BY BROCK SHERIDAN
The Three Colleen Stable’s Rathmore heads a trio of Florida-bred colts who will face four other 3-year-olds in the $125,000 Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday. The seven-furlong Pasco purse includes a $25,000 FTBOA Florida-bred win bonus and a $50,000 Florida Sire Stakes win bonus, both presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.
The Pasco will share the spotlight on the Skyway Festival Day card with the $125,000 Gasparilla for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs and the $50,000 Wayward Lass for fillies and mares at a mile-and-a-sixteenth. The Gasparilla purse also includes the $50,000 Florida-bred win bonus and the $25,000 Florida Sire Stakes bonus.
Rathmore will be trying to improve on his third-place finish last out in the $50,000 Inaugural won by Patriot Spirit at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 2, a race in which the Thomas Albertrani trainee led from the start until midway on the turn in just his third career start.
Rathmore broke his maiden in his second start on a sloppy and sealed six furlongs during the Belmont at Big A meeting on Oct. 21.
Rathmore has earned $54,886 in his three starts and the son of Cupid out of Temperature Runnin, by Stormin Fever was bred by Heather Smullen.
Antonio Gallardo will ride Rathmore from post seven and they are listed at 6-1 on the morning line.
El Principito finished seventh in the Inaugural and has one start since, finishing seventh again in a first level, $75,000 optional claiming won by Gotts Got It at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 20.
El Principito is trained by owner Michael V. Laurato and has one win in five starts with earnings of $22,525. The chestnut colt is by Accelerate out of Roxie Fast Moon, by Malibu Moon and was bred in Florida by Southwind Stables Inc.
El Principito is a two-time graduate of Ocala Breeders’ Sales having sold to Laurato for $20,000 out of the Colin Brennan Bloodstock consignment at the 2022 October Yearling Sale. Gene Recio consigned him at the 2023 OBS June Sale but El Principito did not meet his reserve.
Gabriel Maldonado will ride El Principito, who is 30-1 on the morning line, from post six.
Florida-bred Banded Rocket graduated from the maiden special weight ranks in his first and only career start with a two-and-a-half-length victory at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 24.
Trained by Kathleen O’Connell for Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc. and CaSal Stables LLC., Banded Rocket was purchased by Fletcher for $230,000 out of the OBS June Sale where he was consigned Gene Recio.
Banded Rocket is by Malibu Moon out of Scion Power, by Wildcat Heir and earned $33,580 in his maiden victory.
No rider has been named on Banded Rocket, who is 10-1 in the program and has post five.
The 9-5 favorite for the Pasco is West Saratoga for trainer Larry Demeritte and owner Harry L. Veruchi.
The grey or roan son of Exaggerator makes his first start since finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Claiborne Futurity won by Locked at Keeneland on Oct. 7.
West Saratoga is the lone graded stakes-winner in the field with a victory in the Grade 3 Iroquois going a mile at Churchill Downs in September.
He has won two of seven career starts with three seconds while earning $294,140 and Samy Camacho will ride West Saratoga from post one.
Others entered for the Pasco are Bati King, who will be ridden by Angel Arroyo; Book’em Dano has Samuel Marin named to ride and Crazy Mason and jockey Mychel Sanchez.
Return to the Jan. 11 issue of Wire to Wire