Florida-breds Yes I Am Free and Extendo both figure prominently in Saturday’s $75,000 Leinster Turf Dash at Tampa Bay Downs, a five furlong affair for nine 4-year-olds and older set for five furlongs.

Both are among the program favorites and will be running for an additional $25,000 in Florida-bred bonus money presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association to be paid if they finish in the top six on a 60%-20%-10%-5%-3%-2% basis.

Yes I Am Free is the 5-2 morning line favorite for trainer Laura Cazares having won his last race against upper-level, $62,500 optional claimers going five furlongs on the Gulfstream Park synthetic course on Feb. 4.

Since Cazares claimed him for $62,500 for current owners John and Paula Szalay’s Golden Kernel Racing Stable in April of 2021, the 8-year-old gelding won the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint in 2022 and 2023 and last year’s $100,000 Silks Run at Gulfstream Park. He also counts victories in the 2021 Pembroke Park and last year’s Sunny Isle overnight handicaps since joining the Cazares barn.

By Uncaptured out of Yes It’s Valid, by Yes It’s True, Yes I Am Free was bred by Sherry R. Mansfield and Kenneth H. Davis and has earned $753,874 from 13 wins, six seconds and three thirds in 33 career starts.

Yes I Am Free is a graduate of the 2018 Ocala Breeders’ Sales June Sale where Justin Casse as agent purchased him out of the Hawk’s Nest consignment for $135,000.

Antonio Gallardo will ride Yes I Am Free from post six.

Extendo is the third choice in the program at 7-2 for trainer Joe Orseno and owner Robert Cotran and finished ahead of eighth-place finisher Yes I Am Free when second in the $100,000 Janus won by Panther Island at Gulfstream on Dec. 31. In one start since, the 4-year-old colt just missed in a $50,000 optional claiming, starter allowance when a nose shy of Mamba On Three at Gulfstream on Feb. 1.

Extendo sports a dependable career record of five wins, two seconds and a third from 12 starts with earnings of $156,460. Bred by Helen and Joseph Barbazon, Extendo is by Handsome Mike out of Jeekers, by Forest Wildcat.

A two-time OBS alumus, Extendo first sold to Juan Gacia for $7,500 at the 2021 Winter Mixed Sale where he was consigned by Kim Harrison. He then sold for $25,000 to Bell Racing out of the J. J. Thoroughbreds consignment at the 2022 June Sale.

Orseno has named Samuel Marin to ride Extendo from post two.

Others set for the Turf Dash are Bam Bam Blue with Charlie Marquez named to ride, Daniel Centeno has the mount on Smithwick’s Spice, Thealligatorhunter and jockey Alonso Quinonez, Storm the Court will be ridden by Pablo Morales, Samy Camacho rides Sky’s Not Falling, Phantom Smoke with Jesus Castanon in the saddle and Monsieur Coco with Marco Meneses getting the call.

Return to the Feb. 23 issue of Wire to Wire