February 12, 2024
Courtesy of the DRF & David Grening
Feb 12, 202
Magistrate gets back on what looks to be his preferred surface – turf – when he heads a field of nine older males looking to clear the maiden ranks in the only non-claiming event on Wednesday’s nine-race Tampa Bay Downs program.
Magistrate, a son of Tapwrit, finished a solid second in his debut last October at Laurel Park, stalking the pace from second and making the lead in midstretch, only to finish 1 3/4 lengths behind Headline News. That horse came back to win a first-level allowance at Gulfstream Park and subsequently finished third, beaten less than one length, in the next allowance condition.
Following his debut, there were limited turf options for Magistrate, so trainer Arnaud Delacour shipped him to Turfway Park to try the Tapeta surface. He finished sixth and fifth in two starts at Turfway.
Unable to find a suitable turf race for Magistrate earlier this meet, Delacour tried him on dirt on Jan. 17 at Tampa, and Magistrate didn’t care for that surface either, finishing fifth. On Wednesday, Magistrate finally gets back on turf in this 1 1/16-mile race.
“If he can come back to the same kind of number that he ran at Laurel, he should be competitive,” said Delacour, referring to the 75 Beyer Speed Figure that Magistrate earned that day.
Delacour also hopes the experience Magistrate got in these last three races helps him as well.
Referring to Magistrate’s debut, Delacour said, “When he made the front he got distracted, laying out a little bit. The horse who beat us came back and won at Gulfstream, which is very encouraging. Hopefully, we can duplicate the same race and be a little more professional.”
Charlie Marquez, who has ridden Magistrate twice, has the call from post 8.
Trainer Jose D’Angelo, who won last Saturday’s Sam F. Davis with No More Time and is 7 for 14 in February at Tampa, returns Big Commerce to the grass after a sixth-place finish on Gulfstream’s Tapeta surface last out. On Dec. 10, the last time Big Commerce raced on turf, he finished fourth, but received his best Beyer, a 71, in a race where the runner-up, Heart N Soul, came back to win a maiden $40,000 claiming race.
“He’s a turf horse, he loves the grass,” D’Angelo said. “I really like him for this race. I think he can win. He’s doing really good.”
Leonel Reyes rides Big Commerce from post 5.
On Saturday, trainers Shug McGaughey and Chad Brown dead-heated for win with first-time starters in maiden turf race for 3-year-olds. Wednesday, each trainer sends out a first-time starter in this race.
Brown has Going Concern, a 4-year-old gelding by Kingman. Over the last three years, Brown is 13 for 32 at Tampa with first-time starters on turf with $2.06 return on investment, according to DRF Formulator.
McGaughey sends out Au Paradis, a son of Quality Road and a half-sibling to two turf winners. Over the last three years, McGaughey is 3 for 3 at Tampa with a $6.40 ROI with first-time starters over turf, according to Formulator.
Aquarius Moon, Secret Treasure, Silent Mode, Legitimize, and Admiral Curl complete the field.