OLDSMAR, FL. – With seven racing days left in the 2023-2024 Tampa Bay Downs meet, suspense remains in the competition for leading jockey and leading owner.

The track’s top two apprentice jockeys, Gabriel Maldonado and Melissa Iorio, have impressed horsemen and fans far and wide with their professionalism and ability to get the most from their mounts. Maldonado will win the leading apprentice trophy – he is third in the overall standings with 48 winners, 15 more than Iorio. There is widespread hope at the track both will return for future meets.

Leading jockeys Samy Camacho and Antonio Gallardo have slowed the last three weeks, at least compared to what they’re accustomed to. Both have won eight races during that time span and Camacho, who leads 79-71, looks to win his fourth title in a row and fifth in the last six seasons.

The battle for leading owner is the tightest of all. Victories achieved in partnership with other owners count the same as those achieved as sole entities, and unofficially, defending champion Juan Arriagada, with 24, is two ahead of the Jagger Inc. operation of Jamie Ness.

In the leading trainer competition, Kathleen O’Connell has cinched the title with 48 winners, an insurmountable lead ahead of Gregg Sacco, Jose Francisco D’Angelo and Gerald Bennett, all with 30. The title will be O’Connell’s third at the Oldsmar oval and her first since 2009-2010, when she tied with Jamie Ness for the top spot.

Thoroughbred racing continues Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:25 p.m.

Return to the April 23 issue of Wire to Wire