A sunset over the Tampa Bay Downs Grandstand by scd34940

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          A sunset over the Tampa Bay Downs Grandstand
1926 - The track opens under the name of Tampa Downs for its inaugural meeting. The season lasts 39 days and is headed by
       Ohio investor Harvey Mayers and Kentucky Colonel Matt J. Winn, famed promoter of the Kentucky Derby. The opening
       forces Hialeah Park in Miami to improve purses in order to compete in the battle for horses with Tampa Downs.

1927 - Tampa Downs reopens, but for only nine days.

1932 - Desha Breckinridge and Major Thomas McDowell of Lexington oversee repairs and restoration of the facility. Conflicts
       cause the cancellation of the meet.

1934 - Tampa Turf and Field Club is formed, headed by Hal Thompson. The track reopens as Tampa Downs. Inadequate handles
       force the meeting to close after only six days.

1943 - U.S. Army builds barracks and turns the track into a jungle warfare training center.

1946 - Sunshine Park Racing Association is formed and provides 650 stalls. A 1947 season is approved by referendum.

1947 - The modern era begins, and Sunshine Park runs its inaugural meet. The first official tote board is in operation, and an
       electric starting gate and photo finish camera are installed.

1948 - A horsemen’s boycott is averted by increasing the daily purse distribution by $500.00.

1950 - Legendary sportswriters including Grantland Rice, Red Smith, and Arthur Daley are regulars at the track as they travel
       south to cover the baseball spring season. Grantland Rice coins the phase “Santa Anita of the South” in his many columns
       referring to the facility. John W. Kane of Wilmington, Delaware wins control of the track following a stockholders’ squabble.

1953 - Florida legislature passes a special bill allowing the track to keep 15% of the takeout and to pay a $4,000 daily fee
       instead. The track begins to show a profit for the first time and new Clubhouse construction begins at a cost of $300,000.

1954 - The new Clubhouse opens.

1955 - Control of the track is passed to a syndicate headed by Frederick Ballon, director of Yonkers Raceways; Richard
       West of Rhode Island; and Frank Hobbs, a Tampa attorney.

1956 - A $1,000 minimum purse is instituted.

1957 - President Hobbs creates the Florida Breeders’ Futurity and is voted Florida’s Man of the Year. Champion filly Indian Maid
       wins the first Futurity.

1958 - Benell captures the second running of the Florida Breeders’ Futurity.

1959 - Sanford Stud, Llangolen Farm, Gene Mori and Fred Hooper send strings to race at Sunshine Park.

1965 - The franchise is acquired by group of Tampa sportsmen headed by Chester Ferguson.

1966 - The track is renamed Florida Downs and Turf Club. Gross purse distribution totals $566,060. The track hosts its first
       sale of Thoroughbreds.

1972 - Tampa industrialist Sam Davis takes of the reins of Florida Downs, and with his presidency the track goes into the black and
       the season handle totals a record $11 million.

1973 - Eastern Airlines supports a series of races. An attendance record of 5,878 is established for a single day.

1979 - Highest season average attendance record of 4,414 is set.

1980 - The total handle reaches $29 million. Sam Davis retires as president at age 73. In a switch of corporations, the track is
       renamed Tampa Bay Downs.

1981 - Paristo wins the $50,000-added Tampa Bay Budweiser Derby in its inaugural running. Apprentice jockey Julie Krone has
       her first career victory aboard Lord Farkle on February 12th for trainer Les St. Leon, and subsequently becomes the most
       successful female jockey of all time.

1983 - Arabian racing is introduced at the track, which becomes the first in the nation to hold a regular racing program for the breed.

1986 - Lorraine King is named General Manager, completing the only non-related all female ownership and management
       team at a major racetrack.

1987 - Sunday racing is approved, creating large gains in the track’s attendance and handle as well as three increases in purse
       money for the horsemen. A new 50-stall barn is constructed and the roof of the Grandstand is renovated, marking a
       decade of changes at the plant.

1988 - The Sports Gallery is added in the Clubhouse, giving patrons a wide variety of viewing options on big screen TVs. Two video
       libraries to view replays of the races are added during the season. The Clubhouse Turn restaurant is also renovated, adding
       to patrons’ dining choices.
1989 - Inter-track wagering debuts in the State of Florida, and Tampa Bay Downs remains open year-round as a simulcast facility.

1991 - A new inner rail is installed, and a new dining area called the Silks Bistro in the Grandstand opens, which is decorated with pre-
       dominant silks from all eras in the track’s history.

1992 - To the north of the Grandstand, the Picnic Area opens to give families a chance to enjoy the Florida sunshine and a day at
       the races. A Z-Alpha display board is added to the infield to keep the patrons better informed. Tampa sends its live racing signal to
       Birmingham, Alabama, the track’s first out-of-state site. Over $2.7 million is bet that season at Birmingham on the Tampa Bay
       Downs races.

1993 - John E. Grady is named Vice President and General Manager.

1995 - The Tampa Bay Derby and the Florida Oaks are run on the same day for the first time in the history of the track.

1996 - The track’s first seventy years are observed in gala style, and the Florida Oaks gains a Grade III status. A record amount of
       360 simulcast outlets take the Tampa Bay Downs signal, and 540 take the Tampa Bay Derby card. Full-card simulcasting is
       passed by the Florida Legislature, giving pari-mutuel facilities the option of hosting signals from out-of-state tracks. Tampa Bay
       Downs takes over the concession areas in the plant, giving more flexibility and lower prices to patrons. A new barn is constructed
       to house 50 horses.

1997 - The plant remains open seven days a week to host simulcast signals for the first time in the track’s history. Six purse in-
       creases of 5% give 30% of purses to the horsemen and set the highest average purse distribution in the track’s history. The
       Challenger Stakes is reinstated to the schedule. Attendance is up 4.3% over the previous season and the on-track handle
       jumps an additional 15.74%, while out-of-state wagering increases 22%. These figures are the highest ever set for the Olds-
       mar oval. Ground is broken for the turf course on May 14th, and the grass is planted on September 9th. Road improvements al-
       low greater access with the Linebaugh Extension to the north; widening and repair also improve Racetrack Road, Hillsborough
      Avenue and Tampa Road.

1998 - A record is set for an all-time single day total handle on January 16th, 1998 when $3,155,905 is wagered on the Tampa Bay
       Downs signal on-track, in- and out-of-state. Tasso's Magic Roo sweeps the Pepsi Challenge Series and becomes only the sec-
       ond filly to do so since the series began in 1988. Wil Farish's Parade Ground wins the 18th running of the Tampa Bay Derby, and
       Helen Alexander's Pantufla captures the Grade III Florida Oaks. The unveiling of the turf course on May 2nd, Kentucky Derby Day,
       draws a crowd of 8,669, the second largest in the track's history at the time. Philip William's Ship Liner wins the inaugural running
       of the Tampa Bay Turf Handicap and Artz Racing Stable's Mercedes Song prevails over fillies and mares in the Tampa Bay Distaff
       Turf Handicap. Records are established during the 1997-1998 season for total handle, purses and simulcast outlets, making it the
       most successful meet in the track's 72-year history.

2000 - The Clubhouse is totally remodeled with fan comfort put as the highest priority. Renovations include new central air condition-
       ing, a newly refurbished elevator, plus paint, carpet and seating. The lower floor of the Clubhouse showcases a “Sports Book”
       atmosphere with 100 individual carrels complete with private TV monitors. A state-of-the-art sound system is installed through-
       out the entire Clubhouse and Grandstand areas. Once again new handle records are set and purses achieve all-time high

2001 - Tampa Bay Downs celebrates its 75th Anniversary season on Feb. 18th, 2001, a day that highlights a meet of record-breaking
       purse levels and an increase in average intra-state wagering on Tampa Bay Downs for the seventh consecutive year.
       Peter Berube is named Vice President and General Manager on June 10th, 2001, and a new single day co-mingled handle is
       achieved on Tampa Bay Derby Day, March 18, 2001 with $3,877,477 wagered on the Tampa signal.

2002 - The Tampa Bay Derby receives Grade III status. Various maintenance projects continue throughout the year, including a new
       Grandstand roof, repaved backstretch roads, and the General Office is totally remodeled. Tampa Bay Downs concludes the
       meet with the handle on live races from all-sources averaging nearly $2.1 million per day; the track also posts record-
       breaking purses for the eighth consecutive year and eclipses an all-time record for a single day's handle on-track.

2003 - Tampa Bay Downs launches a state-of-the-art, first-of-its-kind Golf Practice and Wagering Facility; the twenty-two acres of fully
       lit golf property includes 270 yards of open range for full swing shots plus putting and short game areas. The Downs Golf Club
       house features a fully stocked Pro Shop, Snack Bar and Wagering Terminals complete with numerous TV monitors to catch all
       the action. The racing season concludes with purses at their highest level ($128,620 a day) and a new record for average all-
       sources live handle ($2,550,096). Tampa Bay Downs once again posts a new single day co-mingled record of $3,880,693,
       and Florida Cup Day debuts, offering six $75,000 stakes races on the one-day card.

2004 - Tampa enjoys an incredibly successful meet with track records set in 10 statistical categories, including double-digit increases
       in total live all-source handle (24% increase) and total attendance (11%). Tampa also distributes a record $12,622,650 in
       purses ($135,727 per day) which leads to fields that average 9.4 starters per race, an all-time high for the Oldsmar oval.
       Horsemen also halter a record $2,418,250 worth of horses at the claims box. Track improvements for the year include a per-
       manent tent over the popular picnic area, a new seven-furlong chute, and the opening of The Silks Poker Room, the track’s
       card room, which is an immediate hit with local poker enthusiasts.

2005 - Bucking many of the national trends that have seen tracks across the nation experience declines in either handle, attendance,
       or both, Tampa Bay Downs concludes its 79th season by establishing 10 new records in handle, attendance and purses paid.
       Increases include an all-time high attendance mark of 10,246 on Festival Day, which features Sun King winning the Grade III
       Tampa Bay Derby. Before the season starts, the track continues its expansion of and improvements to the track’s highly
       popular picnic area; adds a new luxury suite called the Trackside Garden Suite; and adds daily Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments in
       the Silks Poker Room. Horsemen benefit from a handsome new winner’s circle, a new outside rail, and a new receiving barn.

2006 - Explosive growth in on-track wagering, total handle and purse payouts, along with record-high attendance mark highlight the
       track’s 80th year of live Thoroughbred racing. As they did in 2004-2005, bettors on-track and nationwide continue to embrace
       Tampa Bay Downs’ full fields and improved racing quality on turf and dirt. Tampa Bay Downs receives the Large Business of
       the Year Award for 2006 from the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Chamber of Commence on May 10th, 2006. The award is based
       on community involvement and support, and pays tribute to the tremendous growth the facility has recently undergone. Local
       racing fans, treated to an average of 9.57 horses per race, send the track’s on-track handle up nearly 7percent to $30,192,981,
       the highest since 1991; and the daily average handle of $321,202 is the highest since 1994.

2007 - Prior to the commencement of the 2006-2007 season, a Daktronics 16:9 ratio jumbo video board is installed in the infield,
       providing patrons with a state-of-the-art flat-screen monitor on which to view the live racing action. In front of a then record-
       high single-day crowd of 10,593, Street Sense wins the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby by a nose in track- and
       stakes-record time of 1:43.11 for 1 1/16 miles. Festival Day also marks the track’s largest co-mingled handle of $10,916,634
       wagered. Tampa Bay Downs welcomes its largest crowd to date on May 5, 2007 when 11,014 fans cheer on Street Sense
       as he crosses the wire in front in the 133rd Kentucky Derby, thereby becoming the first participant of the Tampa Bay Derby
       to win the prestigious race. Allison DeLuca takes the reins as Racing Secretary, and the season closes with Tampa Bay
       Downs boasting record increases in total live-sources handle, purses paid, number of turf races offered, and total amount of
       horses claimed.

2008 - Tampa Bay Downs’ 82nd season was highlighted by records set in both attendance and out-of-state wagering handle. On Fes-
       tival Day, March 15, 2008, a record 12,746 fans arrived at the Oldsmar oval to witness Big Truck capture the Grade III Tampa
       Bay Derby. Tampa Bay Downs had three Eclipse award winners attend the 2007-2008 meeting: Rosemary Homeister, Jr., who
       won the Outstanding Apprentice award in 1992, was a regular fixture in the Jocks’ Room at the Oldsmar oval, finishing the sea-
       son as the second leading rider overall. Dreaming of Anna, who was the Champion Juvenile Filly of 2006, swept both the Grade
       III Endeavour Breeders’ Cup and the Grade III Hillsborough Stakes. War Pass, who was the 2007 Two-Year-Old Champion, com-
       peted in the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby. Before the 2007-2008 race meet began, Tampa Bay Downs underwent several renova-
       tions, including the installation of the Grandstand elevator; the all-new Silks Poker Room, located on the third floor of the Grand-
       stand; the Party Suite, adjacent to the Silks Poker Room, was also updated with new flat-screen TVs installed. The Legends Bar,
       which includes a museum-quality exhibition of famed Thoroughbred Seabiscuit, became the newest feature of the second floor of
       the Grandstand. Horsemen enjoyed improvements to the Paddock area, with all-new stalls in the saddling barn ensuring the safety
       and comfort of horses and their connections. Other facility upgrades at the Oldsmar oval include a refurnished Racing Office on
       the backstretch, as well as a renovated track kitchen.

2009- Tampa Bay Downs saw horses graduated from its stakes program make up 1/4 of the Kentucky Derby field, with Grade III Tampa
      Bay Derby winner Musket Man placing third in the Run for the Roses. Prior to the opening of the 2009-2010 race meeting, Tampa
      Bay Downs renovated all tack rooms in the barn area and formed an alliance with the Thoroughbred Retirement of Tampa
      (TROT), a non-profit organization dedicated to re-homing the Oldsmar oval’s equine athletes once their racing careers are over.
      The 2009-2010 race meeting also saw a decrease in takeout for exacta, Pick 3, Pick 4, Super Hi-5 and Pick six wagering at the
      Oldsmar oval.

 The above logos are the only official marks of Tampa Bay Downs. To gain permission for usage, please call 813.855.4401. ext 1368.


         Jockey Faith Schorr returns to the Jocks’ Room after her first career victory.
      YEAR            JOCKEY         WINS         YEAR            JOCKEY             WINS

    2008-2009       Daniel Centeno   138         1993-1994      William Henry         97

    2007-2008       Daniel Centeno   144*        1992-1993      William Henry        123

    2006-2007       Daniel Centeno   125
                                                 1991-1992     Willie Martinez       123

    2005-2006       Jose Lezcano      92
                                                 1990-1991     Ricardo Lopez         106

    2004-2005       Jesus Castanon   101
                                                 1989-1990     Ricardo Lopez          92
    2003-2004       Jesus Castanon    87
                                                 1988-1989     Ricardo Lopez         114
    2002-2003         Joe Judice     117
                                                 1987-1988    Ronnie Allen, Jr.      102
    2001-2002        Manoel Cruz      91
                                                 1986-1987    Ronnie Allen, Jr.       76
    2000-2001         Derek Bell      93
                                                 1985-1986     Richard DePass         61
    1999-2000       T.D. Houghton     80
                                                 1984-1985     Ronnie Allen,Jr.       54
    1998-1999       T.D. Houghton     81
                                                 1983-1984        Rick Luhr           62
    1997-1998        Jesse Garcia     63
                                                 1982-1983   Heriberto Rivera, Jr.    70
    1996-1997       William Henry     78
                                                 1981-1982   Heriberto Rivera, Jr.    74
    1995-1996        Jorge Guerra     97         1980-1981    Bennie Feliciano        67

    1994-1995       William Henry     93
  *Tampa Bay Downs Record
Mike Allen

Born: August 9, 1967
Birthplace: Michigan
Residence: Oldsmar, FL
First Win: Tampa Bay Downs
Started Riding: 1988
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Great Lakes Downs

Mike Allen has had a very successful career on the racetrack; in fact, he was born to be a professional rider. His father is top trainer Ron Allen,
Sr., and Mike Allen has proved his worth both on horses from his father’s stable and by riding entries from other conditioners at Tampa Bay
Downs and Great Lakes Downs in Michigan. Allen began race riding in 1988, and his favorite mount is Cherokee Prince, the horse he rode to
victory in the 2006 Budweiser Challenger Stakes. On February 25, 2007, Allen celebrated his 1,500th victory at Tampa Bay Downs with his
friends and family in attendance. Ron Allen, Sr. said of his son’s 1,500th victory, “He’s a good rider who deserves it. He works hard. He puts in a
lot of time and deserves every win. Every father should have a son like him. He’s a good family man.”

Mike Allen’s interests extend beyond the dirt and turf to the surf: he is a keen water-skier and enjoys slaloming. Mike Allen finished the 2008-
2009 Tampa Bay Downs racing season in ninth place in the jockey standings.

Ronnie Allen, Jr.

Born: 1974
Birthplace: Michigan
Residence: Oldsmar, FL
Family: Son Christopher, siblings Mike, Kevin, and Kimberly
First Win:
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs,

In the 1980s, Ronnie Allen, Jr. was a major force in the Tampa Bay Downs jockey colony. After falling in with the wrong crowd at the end of the
race day, Allen found himself with fewer mounts and he finally left the race scene and went to work on a farm for Jerry Campbell, who is one of
his father’s (trainer Ron Allen, Sr.) major clients. Ronnie Allen said of his experiences on the farm, “Even though I wasn't riding, I was working
with horses every day, thank God, because that's all I've done all my life is be around horses." He continued, "I actually learned quite a bit work-
ing on the farm. I learned things most riders never pick up." In his first year back at the Oldsmar oval, Allen amassed 46 victories, making him the
seventh leading rider overall. Allen’s family includes his brother Mike, also a jockey at Tampa Bay Downs; his half-brother Kevin Allen; a sister
named Kimberly who is a successful horse owner; his father, trainer Ron Allen, Sr.; as well as a son Christopher Allen, of whom Ronnie says,
“He’s sixteen; he doesn’t have anything to do with the horse racing at all. He wants to be a basketball player, or something along those lines.”
When he’s not in the irons, Ronnie Allen, Jr. says he likes to, “Rest! Usually rest. I like to go golfing, too - something relaxing.” Allen rounded out
the Oldsmar oval’s 83rd season of racing as third leading rider with 85 victories to his credit.

Daniel Centeno

Born: December 18, 1971
Birthplace: Caracas, Venezuela
Residence: Miami, FL
Family: Wife; son, Daniel, Jr.
First Win: Big Jack, 1990, Venezuela
Started Riding: 1990 (Venezuela), 2003 (Ohio)
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Monmouth Park

Daniel Centeno, a 38-year-old native of Caracas, Venezuela, is no novice to the racetrack or to Tampa Bay Downs: in the 2007-2008 season,
Centeno won the Tampa Bay Downs Jockey Title, booting home a record-setting 144 winners. This includes six stakes wins over the course of
Tampa’s 82nd season. He amassed $2,145,528 purses, setting another Oldsmar oval record for purse money won in one meet by a jockey.

Centeno started his career with horses at a very early age: his father was a jockey’s agent in Venezuela, and Centeno grew up in the racing
world, spending time at the barn and building a deep relationship with horses. Centeno began race riding in Venezuela in 1990, assembling a
successful career that eventually took him to the United States in 2003. Once stateside, Centeno began riding at Calder Race Course. Arriving
at Tampa Bay Downs in 2004, Centeno established himself by finishing tenth overall in the final jockey standings for that meet; the next year,
Centeno was second leading rider at Tampa Bay Downs. Centeno cites Cool Spell as the most notable horse he has ridden so far; and indeed,
he rode the filly to a stakes-record-setting time in the Gasparilla Stakes. The Gasparilla was the first American stakes win for Centeno, whose
major influences in the racing world are Eibar Coa and Ramon Dominguez, with whom he grew up in Venezuela. Both have gone on to become
highly successful jockeys, and Centeno is quickly following in their hoof prints. Centeno has captured the riding title at Tampa Bay Downs for
three consecutive years.

Pedro Luis Cotto

Born: June 4, 1984
Birthplace: Puerto Rico
Residence: Tampa, FL
First Win: Philadelphia Park, May 27, 2003
Started Riding: 2003 in Puerto Rico
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Monmouth Park

Pedro Luis Cotto, Jr. has enjoyed explosive success since he began race riding in his native Puerto Rico in 2003. Throughout the
2007-2008 meet, Cotto’s mounts landed on the board in 36% of their starts. Cotto’s favorite part of racing is both breaking from the
gate and the thrill of the stretch drive. His proudest moment in racing came aboard the filly Our Tune. Cotto enjoyed four wins in a row
on the filly, including a stakes win in New York. When he’s not in the irons, Pedro Luis Cotto, Jr. plays many different sports. His fa-
vorites are basketball and fishing. In the 2008-2009 season, Cotto escorted 27 horses to the Tampa Bay Downs winner’s circle, mak-
ing him the thirteenth overall rider for the meet.

Carlos M. Cruz

Born: October 14, 1962
Birthplace: Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
Residence: Philadelphia, PA
Family: Daughter
Started Riding: 2001, Finger Lakes
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Philadelphia Park

Carlos M. Cruz was born on October 14, 1962 in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. He attended jockey school there before coming to the United
States to ride. He won his first race in 2001 at the Finger Lakes Race Track, and has since ridden at venues such as Philadelphia Park and
Monmouth Park in New Jersey. The 2008-2009 season was Cruz’s first year riding at Tampa Bay Downs, and the reinsman has already
made an impact on the riding colony here. In the week of March 3—March 8, Cruz booted home 3 winners, 2 seconds and 2 third-place
finishers from only 12 mounts at average odds of 7.28-1. He completed the 2008-2009 race meet here with 30 wins, 27 second place fin-
ishes and 18 thirds from 178 mounts with purse earnings of $344,349.
Cruz says that he has many reasons to like life at Tampa Bay Downs. “Even though it’s been a little tough for me to get started because I’m
new here, the people are nice. They gave me a shot to ride and have helped me out a bunch. And I love the weather here.” When he’s not
in the irons, Cruz says that he likes to spend time in the outdoors. “I love to fish, but sometimes I just like to go outside and lay in the
sun. Of course, sometimes I just like to stay home and relax!” When he’s not in the irons, Cruz says that he likes to spend time in the out-
doors. “I love to fish, but sometimes I just like to go outside and lay in the sun. Of course, sometimes I just like to stay home and relax!”

Jesse Garcia

Born: September 1, 1959
Birthplace: North Hollywood, CA
Residence: Tampa
Family: Daughter
Started Riding: California State Fairs
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Canterbury Park

Garcia began riding at Northern California fairs, where he was leading rider while he held his apprentice license. He scored his first win at a
major Thoroughbred meet in 1980 at Del Mar Racetrack in Southern California. Since then, Garcia has had many career milestones, includ-
ing winning five races on one card both at Tampa Bay Downs and at Keeneland. Garcia has been named leading rider at both Ellis Park
and Tampa Bay Downs, and names his favorite moment at Tampa Bay Downs as winning the riding title in 1998 with 63 wins for the sea-
son. Garcia says that his favorite mount in his career is Nicandro, a horse who belonged to one of his friends. Jesse Garcia had known Ni-
candro since the horse was a yearling, and Garcia went on to ride him to victory in the 2005 Sophomore Turf in the Stakes record time of
1:41.73. When he’s not in the irons, Jesse Jimenez Garcia enjoys going to the beach and is a swimming enthusiast. Garcia finished the
2008-2009 Tampa Bay Downs season ranked seventeenth among the jockey colony. He earned $207,071 in purses in the 94 days of rac-

Luis A. Gonzalez
Born: January 9, 1967
Birthplace: Panama City, Panama
Residence: Tampa
Family: Wife, daughters
First Win: Sinbad, 1984, Panama
Started Riding: 1984, Panama
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Thistledown Race Course
Gonzalez came to the United States in 1984 from Panama. In 2004, Gonzalez received the inaugural Michael F. Rowland award at Turfway
Park, which honors the jockey who best exemplifies Rowland’s work ethic, professionalism, and perseverance. In 1999, Gonzalez was the
second leading stakes rider at Tampa Bay Downs for that racing season. Gonzalez spends the summer months at Thistledown Race Course
in Cleveland, Ohio, where he earned six jockey titles and ended the 2007 Thistledown season as the leading rider. Gonzalez began riding at
the age of seventeen in his native Panama, attracting the notice of Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., who got him a job galloping horses.
Gonzalez has other interests outside of race riding: he studied art at the Thomas Edison School in Panama for five and a half years, and still
draws and paints recreationally. In the 2008-2009 meet, Gonzalez finished fifth in the jockey standings with 47 wins to his credit and
$615,505 in purse money earned.

Rosemary Homeister, Jr.

Born: July 5, 1972
Birthplace: Hollywood, FL
Residence: Miami, FL
Family: Parents
First Win: Mezanotty, 1992, Calder Race Course
Started Riding: 1992, Calder Race Course
Circuit:Tampa Bay Downs, Delaware Park, Presque Isle Downs

Homeister started her life with horses at a very early age: her mother, Rosemary, is a trainer and her father was an exercise rider. “I just fell in love with it be-
cause my mother and father were at the races every day and working in the morning. I was always around the riders and the horses. I lived on a farm with my
own horses so it was just in my blood growing up. Actually from when I was two, I knew that I wanted to be a jockey,” Homeister has said of her calling. Homeis-
ter began her life on the racetrack as an exercise rider and breaking yearlings before beginning her riding apprenticeship in 1992. Homeister found her first ca-
reer victory in that year at Calder Race Course aboard Mezanotty, and continued riding with great success that year, becoming the first female to win the Eclipse
Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in the United States.

Homeister is one of only five female riders to compete in the Kentucky Derby, and says that it is a feat that she would like to repeat – “But this time I want to win!”
Homeister was the second leading jockey overall in the 2008-2009 Tampa Bay Downs meet, haltering 86 wins in 94 days. Homeister’s signature move of blowing
a kiss to the camera after every win is in homage to her grandfather. “My grandpa is number one; he is my number one fan in the entire world. He goes to the
Meadowlands every single day to watch me ride. I don't know (how it came about), just one day, I think I talked to him in the morning and I said, ‘I ride so many
races that if I win I am going to blow you a kiss to let you know that I know you are watching me.’ I won, I blew him a kiss and I do it every time I win and it be-
came a trademark.”
James Lopez

First Win:
Started Riding:1996, Retama Park
Circuit:Tampa Bay Downs,

James Lopez comes from a family of horsemen; his father J.R. “Joe” Lopez was the leading rider at Hawthorne in 1966 and at Sportsman’s Park in 1967 and
1968 before he retired in 1979. His brother Jeffery gallops horses, and his half-brother, Joe Lopez Jr. is a trainer in Texas. James’ wife Kelli also gallops horses
and is attending nursing school in Louisville. James began riding in 1996 at Retama Park in Texas and later that year moved his tack to Kentucky. Two years
later he began riding first call for Cole Norman and then Joe Petalino at Oaklawn Park and finished as the meet’s third-leading rider. That summer he was the
leading rider at Louisiana Downs where he won six stakes races. In 1999, he won four added-money events at Oaklawn, but perhaps the biggest victory of his
career came at Ellis Park in 2000 when he won the Grade III, $200,000-guaranteed Gardenia Handicap aboard Silent Eskimo. Lopez is in his first year of riding
at Tampa Bay Downs and has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with within the jockey colony here. He is, as of March 24, the sixth leading
rider at the Oldsmar oval and has won 28 races and over $500,000 in purses in 71 days of racing.

On February 14, 2009, James Lopez started on the Triple Crown trail when he guided General Quarters to a victory in the Grade III $225,000 Sam F. Davis
Stakes here at Tampa Bay Downs. Despite a troubled trip and a fifth-place finish in this month’s Tampa Bay Derby, Lopez is still excited about the Sky Mesa colt
and hopes to ride him in his next start in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland.

Juan D. Lopez

Born: July 5, 1972
Birthplace: Maracaibo, Venezuela
Residence: Venezuela
Family: Parents
First Win: Calder Race Course
Started Riding: 2004, Santa Rita Hipodromo; 2005 (U. S. career), Calder Race Course
Circuit:Tampa Bay Downs, Calder Race Course

Juan Lopez burst onto the Tampa Bay Downs scene in his first year as a permanent resident of the jockey colony here with three wins on Opening Day. The re-
insman, who came to the Oldsmar oval from Calder Race Course, says of his Opening Day success, “I felt very happy, very excited. I hope that it’s the start to a
very successful Tampa Bay Downs season. My goal for the Tampa Bay Downs meet is to stay healthy and perhaps kick off another great year of American rac-

Lopez was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, where he attended jockey school at Juan Vicente Tovar and graduated in 2004 at the top of his class. Juan is the first
person in his family to become a jockey; he says that he gained an interest in the sport of horseracing because, “All of my family was interested in horse racing,
and so was I. We used to go to the track and watch races, and I realized I wanted to be a rider. That’s how I got interested in jockey school. There were fifty ap-
prentice riders there, and I graduated at the top of my class. I started riding as a bug rider in May of 2004 after two years of Jockey’s School at Santa Rita Hipo-
dromo.” Lopez intends to stay in the United States after the Tampa Bay Downs meet and hopes to someday join the New York jockey colony. He says that he’d
like to follow in the footsteps of Javier Castellano, who also is a native of Maracaibo, Venezuela. He finished his inaugural meet at Tampa Bay Downs tied as the
thirteenth leading rider overall.

Willie Martinez, Jr.

Born: March 3, 1971
Birthplace: Santurce, Puerto Rico
Residence: Tampa, FL
Family: Single
First Win: 1989, Tampa Bay Downs
Started Riding: 1989
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Arlington Park

Willie Martinez has been a mainstay at Tampa Bay Downs since 1989, when he won the first race of his career here and was the leading appren-
tice rider in that year. From 1992 through 2007, Willie Martinez, along with William Henry, held the jockey’s record at Tampa Bay Downs for the
most wins in a single season with 123 victories to his credit. Martinez emigrated to the U.S. in 1988 to work as a hotwalker and groom for his
sister's godfather at Finger Lakes Race Track in Farmington, New York. In 1997, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, he rode Cryptocloser to
victory in the Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown series. During his career, Willie Martinez has won riding titles
at Tampa Bay Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Park, Keeneland and Hialeah Park. His nine titles at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky are more than
any other jockey in the track's history; also at Turfway Park, Martinez rode seven winners on July 6, 1993. He finished the 2007-2008 racing sea-
son at the Oldsmar oval with 40 wins, making him the eighth leading rider overall. Martinez is the regular rider of multiple Graded stakes winner
Brass Hat. He rode the gelding to victory in several important Graded stakes, including the Grade I Donn Handicap on February 4, 2006; on Feb-
ruary 2, 2008, the duo went after the Donn again at Gulfstream Park, this time finishing fourth only three lengths behind the winner.

Carlos Montalvo

Born: November 10, 1978
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico
Residence: Oldsmar, FL
Family: Parents, sister Fatima
Started Riding: 1996
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Prairie Meadows, Hawthorne Race Course

Carlos Montalvo was born on November 10, 1978 in Mexico City, Mexico, and began riding there at age 18. The very first horse he rode in a
race was his first winner. The horse was aptly named Irun, and since then Carlos Montalvo has not slowed down: in the 2008-2009 Tampa Bay
Downs meet, Montalvo finished fourth in the overall standings with 53 victories to his credit.

Montalvo lives in Oldsmar, and his family includes his parents and his sister Fatima. During the Tampa Bay Downs off-season, he is a reinsman
at both Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago, IL and Prairie Meadows in Iowa. Carlos Montalvo, when he’s not in the irons, is a dedicated dancer
and says that he can’t pick a favorite dance. He says that he loves riding at Tampa Bay Downs because, among many reasons, “it’s just great to
be here, especially in the winter when my friends up north are freezing!”

Andrew Ramgeet

Born: September 21, 1963
Birthplace: Kingston,
Residence: East Liverpool, OH
First Win: Motivator, 1979
Started Riding: 1979
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Presque Isle Downs, Mountaineer Park

Andrew Ramgeet was new to the Tampa Bay Downs jockey colony for the 2007-2008 racing season. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica on Sep-
tember 21, 1963 and began his love affair with horses through his elder brother, who was also a jockey. Ramgeet began riding horses at Cay-
mans Park, and had his firts win there on a horse called Motivator in 1979. In 1995, Ramgeet guided eight horses to victory at on a single card at
Caymans Park and was named Jamaica’s Champion jockey three times. He counts such Jamaican horses as War Zone and The Viceroy as his
favorite mounts, and says that his greatest career achievement was booting Blissful Kiss to victory in Calder Race Course’s $100,000 J J’s
Dream Stakes. “So far, I’ve done well since I came to the States to ride. I’d say that my favorite moment was winning that race at Calder. That
was my biggest goal, and my first time ringing at Calder,” says Ramgeet of the victory. Ramgeet says that his biggest influence in the sport of
racing has been Angel Cordero, Jr. “I try to follow in his footsteps,” says Ramgeet. Andrew Ramgeet is a father of four and currently lives in East
Liverpool, Ohio and includes Presque Isle Downs, Mountaineer Park and Tampa Bay Downs on his riding circuit. He finished the 2008-2009
Tampa Bay Downs season as the eighth leading rider overall with 32 trips to the Winner’s Circle.

Jose Velez, Jr.

Born: March 23, 1963
Birthplace: San Turce, Puerto Rico
Residence: Florida
Family: Wife Karla, daughter Amber and sons Jason, Kevin and Anden
Started Riding: 1980
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Arlington Park

In his first year in the Tampa Bay Downs jockey colony, Jose Velez enjoyed a banner season at the Oldsmar oval with 62 victories to his credit;
he was third leading rider for the meet. Jose Velez was born on March 23, 1963 in San Turce, Puerto Rico. He gained an interest in horses
through his father, who was also a jockey. Velez began riding in 1980 at Atlantic City Race Course, and in that year rode his first winner at New
Jersey’s Meadowlands. In 1982, Velez was named as the leading apprentice at Hialeah Park and was also the leading rider at Gulfstream Park
in that year.

Since then, Velez has found success at many tracks along the East Coast; most notably, the journeyman captured ten stakes in the 2002 season
at Monmouth Park. In 1997, Velez was inducted into the Calder Hall of Fame, and in 2005 the reinsman won the 3,000th race of his career at
Monmouth Park. Jose Velez says that his favorite moment thus far at Tampa Bay Downs was when he was named the Holiday Inn Express
Jockey of the Month. “Right now, so far everything’s all good!” Velez exclaimed of his award. Velez says that he looks to several jockeys as the
biggest influences in his career. “I guess it would be Angel (Cordero), Laffit (Pincay, Jr.); people that I’ve seen ride over the years. I’ve seen the
way they ride and I admire them. “ Velez finished the 2008 Tampa meet as third leading rider.
Huber Villa-Gomez

Born: January 28,1978
Residence: Florida
Family: Girlfriend Tracy; son Maximo; daughter Abigail
Started Riding: 1983
Circuit: Tampa Bay Downs, Mountaineer Park

Huber Villa-Gomez was born on January 28, 1978, and began riding at in his native Peru after he gained an interest in horses
through a cousin who worked at a racetrack. “The first day I went to the track, that’s when I knew I wanted to ride,” says Villa-
Gomez. At age eighteen he attended jockey school in Peru, and won his first race there on a horse named Victorio.

The jockey says that Floater, a horse he rode to several stakes victories in Ohio, is his favorite mount. In the 2006-2007 Tampa
Bay Downs meet, Huber Villa-Gomez guided 42 mounts to the winner’s circle for seventh place in the final rider standings. When
he’s not in the irons, Huber Villa-Gomez likes to spend time with his girlfriend Tracy. He also enjoys playing with his two children,
Maximo, 3 ½; and Abigail, 2.


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