The Critical Way Upsets Imprimis In Tampa’s Turf Dash Stakes

Randal Gindi was unsure about The Critical Way’s upside after he claimed him for $30,000 at Gulfstream Park in January of 2020.

But the owner’s faith in trainer Jose H. Delgado’s judgment was rewarded when the 7-year-old gelding held on stubbornly to defeat favored Imprimis by a half-length in Wednesday’s 17th running of the $100,000, five-furlong Turf Dash Stakes on the lawn at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fla.

“I give special thanks to Jose,” said Gindi, who flew from Brooklyn, N.Y., to watch The Critical Way post his third career stakes victory, and second in Gindi’s Monster Racing Stables colors, in the Turf Dash. “He really believed in the horse, and when he entered him in a stakes (the Marshall Jenney Handicap for Pennsylvania-breds) at Parx (on Sept. 7), he said ‘I don’t care what the Beyer Figures say. This horse is ready.’

“He wired the field that day from the outside (No. 11) post. I’m very excited about this horse because of his speed and ability to get tactical position,” Gindi said.

Samy Camacho rode The Critical Way, a Pennsylvania-bred son of Tizway out of the Star de Naskra mare Critical Factor. The victory was his seventh from 22 career starts. The winner’s time was 55.30 seconds.

Imprimis, a multiple graded-stakes winner with career earnings of more than $820,000, held off third-place finisher The Connector by 1 ¾ lengths, with Turned Aside another neck back in fourth.

The Critical Way earned $45,000 for the victory, raising his career earnings to $334,168.

In Wednesday’s other Turf Sprint Showcase Day stakes, the 17th running of the $100,000, five-furlong Lightning City Stakes for older fillies and mares, 5-year-old Florida-bred mare Miss Auramet moved decisively to the lead on the turn and was still moving well at the wire to defeat a charging Ode to Joy by a half-length.

Roberto Alvarado, Jr., rode Miss Auramet, who completed the distance in 55.30 seconds, .21 seconds off the stakes record set last year by Jean Elizabeth. Sethamee Street charged late to be third, with betting favorite Payntdembluesaway, in search of her seventh consecutive victory, finishing fourth.

In the Turf Dash, Camacho was concerned early when he couldn’t shake 4-year-old colt Turned Aside in the early going. The two ran head-and-head early through an arduous opening quarter-mile in 20.99 seconds, with the half-mile in 43.54.

“The race was going too fast, and (Jose Ferrer, on Turned Aside) was trying to get in front of me and take my position,” Camacho said. “But (Delgado) told me no matter what, go to the front and don’t lose the lead. (On the turn), I asked my horse a little and thought, nobody can catch me.”

Delgado’s assistant, Natia Zarzeczny, said positive vibes emanated from the Delgado barn in the days leading to the race, which had been postponed twice due to wet grounds.

But they knew it was no sure thing, as Imprimis had defeated The Critical Way by a neck on Jan. 1 in the Janus Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream, when The Critical Way settled for third.

“I was a little nervous. Actually, a lot nervous,” Zarzeczny said. “But this is our home turf, and we were pumped and ready. Everything just came together. I think the winning attitude helped,” she said.

Miss Auramet, who has won four of her last six starts, captured her first stakes victory in the Lightning City to raise her record to 8-for-19, with five seconds. The daughter of Uncaptured, out of Hello Rosie, by Yes It’s True, paid $18 to win.

Edward Plesa, Jr., who trains Miss Auramet for the partnership of David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa, his wife, said Allison De Luca, the Tampa Bay Downs Racing Secretary, was instrumental in his decision to keep Miss Auramet in the race after the two postponements.

“It was disappointing because I was thinking about running her next week (in the Captiva Island Stakes at Gulfstream, which is also 5 furlongs on the turf),” Plesa said from south Florida. “Allison was on top of her business like all good racing secretaries are supposed to be and kept me informed what was happening there with the weather and the turf course.

“If it wasn’t for Allison, (Miss Auramet) would not have been in the race,” Plesa said. “That said, I thought she had an excellent chance of winning. The jockey knew her and gave her a perfect ride.”

Plesa won the Lightning City in 2018 with Miz Mayhem, owned by his wife.

Alvarado, who rode Miss Auramet to victory last August at Delaware, let her go after pace-setters Payntdembluesaway and The Goddess Lyssa on the turn for home, and she sped past both swiftly.

“I knew she is a good breaker. There was a lot of speed in the race, but I knew I was going to be close and when she was ready, I just let her roll,” Alvarado said. “Other horses were coming late, but she kept digging in so I wasn’t too worried. She’s an honest horse who always tries hard, on dirt and turf.”

Plesa said the victory was a welcome tonic for co-owner David Melin, who is currently hospitalized after a fall. “We were able to talk afterward and he is really pleased,” Plesa said.

As a Florida-bred eligible for additional Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association funds, Miss Auramet earned $60,000 to increase her career earnings to $349,790.

Soup And Sandwich Impressive In Second Start
Mark Casse has been telling folks if a Kentucky Derby horse resides in his barn, it is likely the gray Live Oak Plantation homebred Soup and Sandwich.

The son of Into Mischief, out of the Tapit mare Souper Scoop, did nothing to alter his trainer’s opinion in Wednesday’s second race.

Taking the lead with a burst of acceleration inside the three-eighths-mile pole, the Florida-bred colt dispatched his competition with relative ease under jockey Antonio Gallardo, scooting away to a 2 ¾-length victory from Foreman. Only three 3-year-olds competed after three late scratches from the allowance/$75,000 optional claiming event.

Casse said Soup and Sandwich, who broke his maiden Jan. 28 at Gulfstream by 7 ¼ lengths, will probably try stakes competition next time, but added that the Grade 2, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is likely too quick a turnaround.

“He still has a lot to prove. This was one step, and I have to figure out the next one,” Casse said. “He ran a good number when he broke his maiden and you saw this today, and the thing is he has no clue yet what he’s doing. It’s just like he made the lead and started swapping leads, and then he jumped the (tire) tracks (in the stretch).

“But Antonio was just saying (in the winner’s circle), what a horse. He said they tried to box him in – sometimes a three-horse field is tougher, because everyone can concentrate on one horse – but when the leader went off the rail, Antonio said he went to smooching and it was like hitting the gas on a race car,” Casse added.

Casse said Soup and Sandwich’s debut was pushed back because of a minor injury he incurred when popping out of the starting gate last spring. “He’s gotten better, but he was a little timid at first about breaking,” Casse said.

Based on Wednesday’s race, the conditioner is going to have fun playing catch-up with Soup and Sandwich.

Around the oval. In addition to his Turf Dash victory with The Critical Way, trainer Jose H. Delgado sent out War Giant to win the next race, the eighth, under jockey Jacinto Herrera. War Giant, a 6-year-old gelding, is owned by Carole Star Stables.

Camacho and Antonio Gallardo each rode two winners. Besides winning aboard The Critical Way, Camacho won the sixth race on Strum and Pluck, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Josie Gump and trained by Kathleen O’Connell.

In addition to his victory on Soup and Sandwich, Gallardo won the fourth race on Purple Peopleeater, a 4-year-old filly owned and trained by Donald F. Hunt.

Thoroughbred racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:15 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs currently races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.

The post The Critical Way Upsets Imprimis In Tampa’s Turf Dash Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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